When you craft brand messaging, whether it’s your homepage copy or a CTA, remember that you aren’t talking at someone; you’re talking to them. Strong brand messaging is about communicating who you are and what you offer in a way that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach.
If you do this well, people are compelled to learn more, click around, sign up, download, etc. If you do it poorly, you can kiss those conversions goodbye. But how do you know if your messaging is as strong as it could be?
The Keys to Strong Brand Messaging
One of the biggest misconceptions about good copy is that it’s just about writing. That’s a huge part, but it’s not everything. It also requires research, revision, and, most importantly, testing to find the right message. That said, there are specific steps you can take to tell your brand story more effectively and entice people to interact with you. If your brand messaging needs some rehab, here’s how to get it on track.
1) Know Who You’re Talking To
This is a crucial part of any brand strategy. To communicate effectively, you need to understand who you’re talking to and what they care about. What are their needs? Wants? Fears? Brand personas give you this insight. They’re basically a demographic and psychographic profile of the different types of people you’re trying to reach. When you have a deep understanding of these marketing personas, you can better tailor your messaging.
How do you create those personas? You call, email, survey, and chat with your customers. You ask them about their pain points, challenges, goals, frustrations, aspirations, etc. Then you identify the recurring themes and create sample personas to represent your various segments. (For more detail, follow our step-by-step guide to create them.)
Pro tip: As you dive into those customer responses, you will see common themes and even phrases that can be useful in crafting your brand messaging. Remember: You want to speak to them in their own language.
Example: Slack does a fantastic job of tailoring brand messaging to different types of people.
2) Know Your Brand Stories
Every brand should have messaging architecture, which includes their positioning, value prop, tagline, and brand stories. Every piece of content or copy you write should support or reflect your messaging architecture.
Your brand stories are especially handy when creating content and copy, as they are basically talking points that reinforce your value proposition.
(For example, a cookie company might use “healthy ingredients,” “unique recipes,” and “distinct flavors” as their three main brand stories.) Crafting copy around your brand stories helps ensure that you aren’t pitching a vague idea or generic solution. The more specific you are, the more impact your copy will have.
Example: For Thinx, makers of period panties, their social CTA is much more than a “follow us!” It’s a call to action to follow them—and fight the taboo around menstruation, one of their main brand stories.
3) Connect the Two
The fun yet challenging part of brand messaging is communicating who you are, what you do, and why you do it better—in a way that speaks directly to the people you’re trying to reach. It’s a balance between what you want to say and what they want to hear, delivered in strong, vibrant language that entices people to interact with you. To marry the two, you need clear, impactful messaging and an emotional hook.
Pro tip: Ask yourself what you would want to hear if you were your customer. What’s the first thing you’d want to see on your site? (Note: Your messaging should also reflect your brand voice; if you’re not sure what yours is, here are 5 ways to find it.)
Example: Comforter maker Buffy has great brand messaging that draws site visitors into their story in an emotionally enticing way. Save the world and get a comfy comforter? Let’s do this.
If you’re struggling to come up with something good, try these copywriting exercises to get unstuck.
4) A/B Test
When you put work into your brand messaging, you want to know that it’s working for you. A/B testing helps you find that out. There’s no relying on hunch, intuition, or personal preference.
That said, while A/B testing is a tremendously helpful tool, it can be frustrating. You can go to a lot of work to set up an A/B test (and spend a hefty chunk of change), then end up in a black hole if your sample size is too small or your variations are too minor. In that case, an A/B test can produce rather uncompelling results—making you feel like you’re back to square one.
That’s why we don’t like to get too in the weeds with testing. We prefer testing methods that are simple yet insightful. In our experience, one of the best tools for A/B testing is Facebook ads.
They’re especially great because they’re easy to implement, far less costly, and tailored to the people you’re actually trying to reach. No matter what type of messaging you’re testing, whether it’s a new tagline, value prop, or CTAs, Facebook ads can help you easily see what’s working and what’s not.
If you’re experimenting with various brand messaging, try this simple test:
- Build separate landing pages to test different copy for each. Use identical design, changing only the copy.
- Run a targeted FB ad to your customers for a week. Note: Remember that a highly targeted ad usually means less traffic. Keep in mind that you want to narrow your criteria, yet still generate enough numbers to get statistical significance on test results.
- See which copy got more conversions.
Yep, it’s that easy. Of course, you can run more in-depth A/B tests, depending on your needs. There are plenty of useful tools and resources to do so. Some of our favorites:
- Validate your sample size with Optimizely’s calculator.
- Try Neil Patel’s A/B testing calculator to help you calculate conversions.
- Learn everything you need to know about A/B testing with Optimizely’s optimization glossary.
- Check out The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization by CXL.
Revise and Retry
Based on your A/B tests, you should have a better insight into what resonates and what needs to be tweaked. As mentioned, research and revision are a huge part of finding the right messaging, so don’t consider it a one and done. There are always opportunities to improve. If your budget permits, we recommend testing your copy every six months (or anytime you change your marketing direction or brand strategy).
Of course, if you’re struggling with communicating your brand story, hit us up and we can chat through it.