Without a brick and mortar store, your online presence is the single force driving people’s first, and lasting impressions of your business. What you display to the world is your branding - and everything you say and do creates an image in the customer’s mind about who you are. How you choose to communicate with your audience is one of the most crucial aspects of your branding and lays the foundation for a solid brand-customer relationship. Below, we're covering the best ways to use consistent messaging and the most vital places your messaging will create the biggest impact. Let’s get started!
Why consistent messaging is so important
It helps prospective customers understand you People need to understand who you are, what you’re offering, and what distinguishes you from the crowd. Remember when your parents told you to just “be yourself”? Turns out, they were right (sorry). If you're quirky, stylish company, let that come through in your messaging. If you’re quirky one day, and serious the next, your audience won’t be able to figure you out. You’re not going to please everybody, but you’re going to really stand out to a subset of people who relate to your brand.
It makes you look credible Strong brands have clear messaging and know what they want to say to their customers. By consistently delivering the same quality and voice, you’re showing your audience that you’re a dependable, trustworthy company. Have you ever seen or heard a really funny advertisement for a store - only to visit and be slapped with a boring, formal storefront? Avoiding mixed signals is the best way to build trust with your customers. Gain their trust and they’re sticking around for the long haul.
Consistency Consistency leads to familiarity, familiarity leads to trust, and you guessed it; trust leads to long-term customers. People don’t have a favorite restaurant because they don’t know what to expect when they walk in the door. People consistently go back to their favorite restaurant because it provides quality food and a great atmosphere time and time again.
How to create consistent messaging
Find your voice Start off by defining your target audience and the information you need those people to know. If you had your ideal customer standing right in front of you, and you could grab them by the shoulders and tell them exactly what you need to, what would you say? Write that down, then go through and edit this to include your brand style.
Think from high level, right down to the spelling. Compile this information in a professional looking document. Every business should start off with a brand guidelines document or playbook and every employee should be aware of it. Try starting with these questions:
- How do you want to speak to your audience
- Will your tone of voice be light and playful? Or more serious?
- Do you have a slogan?
- What are some keywords you want to be central to your brand?
- What colours will you associate your brand with?
- Do you use emojis?
Develop a plan to share your voice
Whether you’re just starting out or have been a large player in your game for quite some time, take a step back from everyday business and think about the brand you’ve crafted. Start internally- now that you know your voice, it’s time to build it up from the ground up. Specifically, the ground you and your employees are standing on. To truly embody your brand, your employees have to live by your brand guidelines everyday. Next, create a list of places you need to be present for your customers. By creating a list of places you’ll need to prepare content for, you’ll never be caught off guard or most importantly, off-brand:
- What social media platforms will you engage with?
- How will you share information, news and sales with your audience?
- Will you have a blog?
- How do you want your staff to speak to your customers?
- What kind of advertisements will you use?
Think of anywhere your customers are going to see and engage with your brand- and make sure the messaging you want to portray is on those mediums.
Where are the key places your messaging will impact customers the most?
This one seems obvious, but we’re not just talking about your homepage here. Yes, your home page is important - it’s the first page guests will land on and the first impression can make or break your sales. But, your messaging will have to remain consistent throughout your website, from the product pages right to the checkout. The checkout is the last page customers will see before they decide to complete the purchase, yet it’s the page business owners pay the least attention to. By customizing the checkout experience, you’re letting customers know you’re invested in every step of the process. This checkout will even allow you to customize the URL so it matches your store!
Marketing and Advertisements
Often times, you have a second to grab the users attention, let them know what you’re selling and what kind of company you are. That’s no easy feat! Ads are similar to upsells in that respect; you have to list the most important features of a product, while showcasing your branding.
Bones Coffee nails it with this Facebook ad - you can tell they’re a fun company from their packaging and product name, but also from their ad copy. It’s short and to the point but definitely conveys their message.
Upsells are one of the most popular places where companies forget to stick to their consistent messaging, but it’s one of the most important! Upsells drive over 4% of total sales. But more importantly, they offer value. It’s your job as a store owner to show the value in these products.
The challenge is showing the value of your products, using your on-brand messaging. Your upsells should include a short, clever header at the top to draw your customer’s interest. The bulk of the upsell should include necessary information about the product you’re displaying. Stick to the top features to keep it short and simple to avoid overwhelming your audience. I know what you’re thinking - upsells can be annoying, right? Not when they’re done right.
The trick is to offer relevant products at the optimal time
Upsells after checkout report higher conversion rates up to 30%. Why? Offers presented after the checkout process are not halting the buying journey since they’re at the end of the sales funnel. Plus, The customer has already decided they trust you and have committed to buying from you! They’ve entered their payment and shipping details; in one click they’re set.
Your social media accounts should be viewed as an extension of your website. Everything you do and say on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat should mimic your brand messaging on your website.
Take Tone It Up as an example; they’re an online fitness and lifestyle community, and their target audience is young women. Their brand message is empowerment through healthy lifestyles. Check out their website vs. their Instagram account:
Can you tell which is their Instagram account and which is their website? Me either… they stay on-brand throughout. Their main message is clear: they want to help lift up women and they do so with fun language that young women interested in health will completely understand. Different audiences will spend time on different social media channels.
It’s definitely in your best interest to research is where your prospective clients spend their time. Being active on a channel where your customers aren’t, isn’t going to help with engagement. Facebook has the largest number of users in a wide variety of ages, and is usually a go-to for online brands. But, if you target audience is younger, they’re likely on Instagram. More than 50% of young consumers say that Instagram is the best place to find out about new products.
To wrap it up….
Above all else, be genuine. The internet is full of millions of brands competing for user attention. Some people will say or do anything for people to notice them- including over-exaggerating or inflating their products. But, not you; you can gain the attention of potential customers through genuine marketing and consistent, on-brand messaging. And, that will gain more attention that absurd claims ever will.