The number one key to your business growth is crafting a message that speaks to your audience. Having the right message builds up your strengths and helps you overcome any deficiencies you might have.

McDonald's doesn't make the best hamburgers in the world, but they do have a great bit of messaging that speaks to their target audience. It's that message, not the hamburgers, that makes Micky D's the number one fast food restaurant in America.

While substance is important in order to have a great message, the message itself helps establish the perception of your substance. Much to my chagrin, my kids would rather go to McDonald's over Burger King or Wendy's. They don't love the food as much as the box the food comes in, and not even close to as much as that toy inside the box.

McDonald's has the right message for my kids. But I'm the wrong audience for that message, though I'm a sucker at giving my kids a fast-food treat of their choice! So, McDonald's has a different message for me. Primarily, it's a message to give my kids a fast-food treat of their choice!

The audience matters as much as the message

If you are putting the "right" message in front of the wrong audience, you're still going to fail. Each audience needs a "right" message of its very own.

Several years ago, I wrote a letter to my U.S. Senator expressing my disapproval with his position on a particular issue. About a week later, I received a letter thanking me for expressing my support for him on this issue. Huh?!

The letter went on to list out all the reasons why "we" were right about the issue. The problem is, I didn't think "we" were right. I was, he wasn't!

If you own or market a business, you may feel you have the right message. And maybe you do. But that may be the wrong message for someone else who is, say, skeptical about doing business with you.

My Senator may have been able to convince me I was wrong, but because he gave me the wrong message, it fell on deaf ears. If his message was right, he went about it all wrong for the audience of me.

The right message for me would have been to acknowledge my viewpoint, sympathize with it, find areas of common ground and only then make the case for the merits of the issue. That message would have had a higher chance of persuading me.

How to craft the right message for any audience

Not everyone is convinced you are the right company to do business with. The message you use for your current customers is not the same message for customers who have yet to do business with you. You must craft a distance message for each audience.

How, when and where you communicate your message plays a significant role in your company's success. Web businesses have a number of unique communication opportunities to get their message out: website, telephone, emails, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. Each can play a significant role in your company's success.

When you communicate to your customers, potential customers or even skeptics, you can easily craft the right message, only to find that it's the wrong message for that particular segment of your audience. Current customers need to be addressed differently from prospective customers. Interested parties should be addressed differently from those who are not interested, but can still be convinced.

Each marketing forum provides a unique opportunity to get your message out to a different audience. Whichever forum(s) you use, target different segments of your audience with language that reaches them specifically. In business communications, the one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work. I'm sure you've got THE right message, but in reality, you need the right message for each target audience.

Follow at @StoneyD, and @PolePositionMkg.

May 4, 2012

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Hi Stoney,

Would you recommend segmenting messages within each forum as well?


Richard, can you give me an example of what you mean?

"The message you use for your current customers is not the same message for customers who have yet to do business with you."

Great point! You can't expect your reputation to mean anything to a visitor that has never heard of you. You have to earn their trust and business each time someone new finds your site.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > The Right Message May Not Be So Right for Your Audience