Effective product messaging is like an organized closet: it is easy to find what you need, lacks clutter, and fits your style. It’s functional and makes it easy to move on with your other priorities. But for most of us, neither our closets nor our product messaging are so clear, intentional, and organized. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly crack it open and clean up.
Evaluating how you are messaging your product can make attracting, converting, and retaining customers a faster, more affordable process.
Interactions with your product should reinforce why it exists and how it benefits your buyers.
At the end of the day, buyers need to understand what you do and why it matters. A product can only go so far in the market if it’s not understood. That’s why interactions with your product should reinforce why it exists and how it benefits your buyers.
In this guide I’ll share what I have found to be the best questions for evaluating your product’s messaging.
1. Is the product messaging consistent?
It’s a noisy world out there. Never have we been more inundated with messaging. Perhaps you have heard of the validity effect. It is the idea that repeated phrases tend to be associated with truth and credibility. Consistent repetition of a statement is effective in getting audiences to believe it. If prospects are reading/hearing similar descriptions of a product again and again, they will not only have a better understanding of that product, they will also be more likely to purchase it (…and then share it with others).
Consistent repetition of a statement is effective in getting audiences to believe it.
Tips to make your product messaging more consistent
Stick to what you know.
Defining the differentiators of your product will enable you to find the shining star—your product’s value prop. Regardless of the other features your product offers or the other stresses your product will alleviate for buyers, one value should stand confidently before the rest. You can’t be everything to everyone.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
If the words used to describe a product on your website are different than the ones used on your social accounts, in sales conversations, or even in customer support, it’s confusing and dilutes your impact. In order for prospects to create mental connections across different platforms, the same words, phrases, and differentiators must be reiterated. Your messaging should be well-understood and repeated at every touchpoint (channel or person) in the company.
You can adjust tone and delivery style, but don’t change your core benefits. If a product is marketed as “most comprehensive,” don’t then market it as “easy or simple to use” in another context. Also, phrases like “world’s best” should be avoided, so consider dropping those “-est” words. Too many superlatives generate skepticism and confusion, so picking one and sticking with it is a more believable and trustworthy approach.
Your messaging should be well-understood and repeated at every touchpoint (channel or person) in the company.
2. Is the product messaging simple?
Let’s say you’re looking to find a pair of jeans, but you’re unable to find them in the clutter of other clothing billowing from your closet. Now imagine trying to explain to someone else where those jeans are; the one thing that person needs to find in the midst of chaos. That’s what it is like when product messaging is unclear. Prospects get lost in the clutter, noise, and trouble of searching, and they never get to realize the amazing benefit that your product really delivers.
So, what can you do when the messaging gets too unwieldy?
Don’t give it all away at once.
Revealing too much information in a prospect’s first introduction to a product will be overwhelming and come across as noise. More information often equates to more confusion. Talk about the overall problem that your product solves before diving into specific, granular features. Don’t forget to pull in benefits, as well as share the “how” and not just the “why.” You need to prove you can solve a problem before the details carry weight.
- Keep your language simple and relatable. No fluffy marketing terms to add weight. No long or complicated terms that people don’t immediately understand to make yourself sound smarter. Share what’s essential and cut the clutter.
- Keep the tactical elements and features in your back pocket for later selling points and proof; it needs to be clear what recipe you’re making before you explain the ingredients.
Make it short and sweet.
From leadership to sales to product development, the whole team needs to be aligned on how to talk about the product. Describing it in a clear and concise way will make every process easier. Word-of-mouth business will increase exponentially when the product can be easily explained and shared.
- Be able to explain why the product matters in 15 words or less.
- Be sure to go back and adapt product messaging over time. Be cautious about continuing to add talking points without refining or cutting a few; that leads to overcomplicated explanation of the product.
3. Is the product messaging relevant?
Just like clothes in a closet, product messaging needs to serve a purpose, and it needs to fit the prospects well. Slack has been a reigning champion of product messaging. A look at their website shows that their messaging doesn’t boast their features, but rather it addresses the problems that Slack will solve in users’ lives. For example, “find answers quickly” is more effective than explaining the details of the search feature. That is the sweet spot for messaging.
To make your product messaging more relevant, try this:
Get really clear about your audience.
The saying goes that if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? With messaging, if it isn’t falling on the ears of the target audience, and isn’t pointed to their needs, then it really isn’t making an impact.
It is not enough to simply identify your audience, you have to understand them, their needs, and what makes them tick for them to truly hear you. What is the grueling work that they hate to do? What is the most difficult task for them to complete? What are the problems that are costing them? Then answer those questions in your messaging. Highlight what will make them a hero, and spell out how the product will make their life better.
Make your messaging about what value you create, not feature-based.
Let the core value of your product speak for itself, and create intrigue with potential customers.
As product people, it’s hard not to boast about the features that we love in our own products. But for a prospect, diving too far into the weeds is confusing. Like I said earlier, leave something to the imagination, and don’t confuse potential buyers with the little details. Let the core value of your product speak for itself, and create intrigue with potential customers. In the end, that is most important because it sets you up to scale with your customers. All those other details will just enhance the user experience once they buy in.
Founders know that their messaging matters, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
Taking a look at your product messaging will save time and money in the long run, because you’ll be acquiring prospects who are more informed and better suited for your product. In turn, you’ll reduce churn because your customers will have a better idea of what they are getting themselves into. Ultimately, the product you work on tirelessly will continue to flourish in a market that comprehends and appreciates it, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving.