6 Secrets to Better Marketing Messages for Startups

08/27/2010

Good startup marketing starts with good messaging.  You can have the greatest product in the world but if you can’t clearly communicate the value you deliver to your customers, nobody will ever be able to figure that out.  Here are 6 ways to build better messages for your startup that will lead to better marketing:

  1. Reduce the number of words you use – People have short attention spans and they won’t read a page of text just to figure out what you do.  Take your one page description that describes your key differentiated points of value for your market.  Then pare it down to a paragraph.  Then whittle it down to 2 sentences. Now tell me in 8 words or less.  You need to be able to communicate what you do, why people care, and who the people are that should care in as simple a way as possible.  Simple value statements work better.
  2. Lose your pointless tagline – Why do so many startups I come across have pointless taglines? Some even have great one line descriptions of what they do and then add a completely non-differentiating tagline that not only fails to add to anyone’s understanding of the offering but distracts from the decent description they do have. Follow, forget, fail.  If it can’t stand alone than just don’t do it.  Write a solid one-line description of what you do and leave it at that.
  3. Get rid of not just buzzwords but also jargon or overly technical terms – Startups in particular often fall into the trap of using terms that are very familiar inside the company but less so to potential customers.  Simple terms always work better in high-level messaging.  Remember that in your deeper content (whitepapers, e-books, etc) you will have plenty of room to get into as much detail as you need to.
  4. Get to the good stuff sooner – Many startups try to cram too much into their high level messages, trying to articulate an overly long list of reasons why customers should buy.  Remember the goal in your high level messaging is to help customers determine if they should spend the next 5 minutes with your site.  Get the most compelling stuff front and center and there will be plenty of time to go deeper after you’ve convinced the prospect to stay a while.
  5. Highlight value, not features – inside your startup, you product and development team is very focused on delivering features but your marketing should reflect the value those features deliver for customers.  It’s simple to say but I still see many technology startups spending too much time on feature descriptions while spending too little time describing why customers would find those features valuable.

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