Key messages a key in marketing communications

You’ve just started up a new business or are looking to revamp an existing one and no doubt there are a million things you need to do. But when it comes to marketing communications there’s one task you shouldn’t delay as part of your planning, and that’s the development of key messages.

While key messages are referred to as many things, including unique selling propositions and key points of difference, the reason for them is relatively simple: To explain to potential customers the benefits of using your business.

As a consumer you will have been inundated with key messages from businesses every day, probably without even noticing them. Now it’s your turn to develop the key messages you want your customers to hear from your business, so where do you start?

One of the first things you should do when developing key messages is to think about the image you want to portray to your target customers. How do you want customers to view your business? Do you want to be known for cheap prices, for first-class service, for speedy delivery, for top quality products, etc. etc.? There are too many possibilities to include here but it’s a good idea to list everything that is relevant to your business.

After you’ve made your list of the ways you want customers to perceive your business, develop your key messages accordingly. If you want your accommodation business to be portrayed as one that provides first-class service, a key message might be: “Our staff will bend over backwards to make your stay a comfortable and memorable one”. If you’re a retail store that sells discounted products, a key message might be: “We have discounts on your discounts!”

When you’re developing your key messages remember these short snippets of information will form a significant part of your communications with customers. So, be anything but boring. Consider your target audience and write messages that are interesting, informative and engaging.

Once you have developed your list of key messages, use them: On your website, in brochures, on your business stationery and any other marketing communications you produce. In fact, you can also use them when greeting customers and in networking opportunities.

Note: It’s important you be honest with yourself when developing your image list and key messages. If the image and key messages you develop is not matched by reality your customers will notice. And they’ll most likely share their insights with family, friends and their social media connections.

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