We spend a lot of time talking about honing your message and all the ways you can convey that message to your audience. While traditional marketing channels are still an important part of a healthy marketing ecosystem, digital has become a go-to channel for many companies.
Your message needs to be conveyed across your digital platforms in a cohesive and clear way. But sometimes people miss the mark by not understanding how a marketing message should be conveyed on different digital platforms.
What you do on Facebook is not what you should do on Linkedin because those platforms are different, were built different, and users expect different things on them. The same goes for a website landing page or your blog – the audience doesn’t go to those places expecting to see the same type of content.
So, let’s get in to what you really want to know: how do I say what I want to say on all these different platforms?
The very first thing you need to do is dissect your Brand Story as a whole. Look at your Brand Story and messaging from your ideal customer’s perspective. Is it compelling? Is it easy to understand? Does it make you want to ask more?
If your messaging is confusing, or perhaps run of the mill, take a bit of time and rework it to spice it up. Understanding that there are other people doing what you do right now and other businesses competing for the same audience you are competing for helps you see what differences you bring to you audience. Make sure that messaging is clear before you begin any new marketing promotions since you only have 5-10 seconds to connect with them.
Ok, so let’s get in to how messaging should be conveyed on your digital channels.
This is where you really need to be able to pitch your business and your “why” to the audience as short and as clearly as you can. Visitors spend on average 3 seconds on a homepage before they bounce so if you can’t get them in those three seconds your site just won’t convert.
We call that the “lightbulb test.”
Imagine this: You’re brought into a brand new room in a house you’ve never been to. It’s pitch black and you can’t see a thing. Then, the light goes on… you scan the room and get your bearings … 3, 2, 1… the lights go back out.
Can you find your way around? Do you know where the couch is? Are you going to stub your toe on the coffee table looking for the light switch? Do you know where the light switch is?
The same thing happens on a website. When someone lands on your site for the first time ever, is it easy for them to understand what you do and how to find their way around?
Your website should be used to paint a picture and tell the story of your business, your why, and why it matters to the visitor. If you can paint a picture that puts the visitor as the hero of your story you’ll find a better connection to the message and a higher likelihood of conversion.
Your audience likely comes to your website for a few different reasons: education, validation, or action. Sometimes your audience ends up on your website because you write epic content that answers a pain point they are having (education). Other times a visitor lands on your site because they want to learn more about you after being recommended or taking a sales call, etc (validation). Or your audience can end up on your site because they want to contact you, sign up, learn more, or buy (action). A clear marketing message is a big driving factor on if they will stay on your site, no matter their reason for being there in the first place.
Your website should be constructed to make it easy for the reader to follow the message all over all the different pages of your site. Whether you opt for a consistent element on all pages is up to you, but your clear and compelling story to the audience should be present. If you don’t put the care into putting your messaging on the pages of your site you risk losing your audience or downright confusing them (which could be even worse!)
Blogging and long format content is not only a driver of SEO but it’s also a great way to create value that also keeps readers on your website. When determining how to communicate your message on this medium, this kind of content needs to have a different approach.
Readers come to blog posts to learn more about a topic that is of interest to them. They could have been directed there by an email, a social post, a share, or from Google but they all have one thing in common: a desire to learn more on a topic (that is likely a pain point of theirs).
Blog content should be created by reverse engineering both what your high-level marketing message is and some common questions you get asked. For example, if you are a logistics company that prides yourself on not only your logistics capabilities but your innovative technology and get asked often about the tech you use, you can start blogging about topics like: what tech is the logistics industry using? Or, what technology should the logistics industry be using to make workflows more efficient? Or, why technology makes logistics workflows more efficient and lower cost. These topics are things your audience cares about and finds value in but still gently points back to your business or service and how you can help them alleviate their pains.
Blogging is also usually one of the longest forms of digital content and that’s ok—that’s what readers expect. Target word count for really rich blogs, full of both information and links, generally clocks in anywhere from 1,200-1,500 words. Less is ok, but more is generally not advisable. If you have such a robust topic that you find you run over that, consider finding a way to split these into multiple different posts or even an eBook or Pillar Page.
Social Media Messaging
Social media a big concept for a lot of businesses to wrap their head around. Marketing on social media needs to keep in mind what platform you are using, what the audience expects, and how long their attention is on that platform.
When you think about the different social media outlets out there many of us think of the big three: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Each of these are used for business and each of these platforms are drastically different. What the audience expects on one platform is not what they expect on the other and so on.
LinkedIn is a professional network, and users want their feed full of business-type content. Messaging on this platform can explain what the business or brand is doing, who they are doing it with, and why they are doing it (so all things that align with their mission, vision, and values) but nothing super personal should be shared on that platform. LinkedIn is currently really prioritizing engaging content in their algorithm, and the viral reach can be huge.
Facebook is a little bit of both. Facebook users know they will have businesses and brands that are telling their story and trying to sell to them, so they are ok with some sales-focused marketing messaging infiltrating their feeds. However, the Facebook algorithm does not like when you create content that isn’t engaging. Facebook is hell-bent on engaging user experience in order for it’s users to come to the platform and stay on the platform.
Then there is Instagram. People there want visuals and they want captivating stories in the captions or they are going to scroll right on by. If the image isn’t engaging enough in that one second they are going to blow right past your content without a second thought. This platform is more for those trying to reach millennials or younger and is very visual — if you have the right business (think tattoo artists, hair salons, clothing companies, furniture stores, etc) Instagram and Instagram stories can be huge for this. At its core, Instagram is a storytelling platform. If you can tell that story and educate someone, you’ll do well. If you have something you offer that is more technical, data-heavy, or just not visually appealing you may find your time is best spent on LinkedIn and Facebook.
How Do You Create Content For Different Channels?
The second biggest miss we see when we look at businesses that seem to have all the right components but are unable to see ROI is that these platforms may be up and operational but the strategy as a whole is disjointed. Their website says one message, their blog says another, their email newsletters are confusing, and their social media doesn’t hit the mark either. The key is that all the ways you spread your message should line up and work together as a team.
Your Marketing Channels Should Act As Spokes On A Wheel
Think about a wheel. Essentially, you have three elements:
- The hub
- The rim/tire
This is just like a marketing ecosystem. We think of the website as the hub and the other marketing channels (social media, email, paid ads, etc) as spokes. Without each other the wheel is not complete and it won’t roll.
We think of the website as the hub because it is a piece of owned property—you control and manage it in its entirety—whereas social media channels are rented property—you’re at the mercy of how the platforms operate.
When we create marketing strategies for our clients, we take a comprehensive approach to how we do it. We look at the high-level view of what we are trying to accomplish, what the audience cares about, and how our clients solve it. After that we get way more granular.
We consider website messaging, blog content, and social media messaging and how it all should and does tie together. We come up with timelines that release the content to our audience on all of the appropriate platforms and clearly communicates what action we want them to take. From there, we let the messaging speak for itself and let the platforms do the work.
The biggest takeaway we can leave you with is an urge to look at this as a strategy. Your digital marketing channels should be working together in a way that leaves the reader with a clear understanding of your message and what they need to do with it. Your message and call to action should be so clear to your audience that they will know exactly what they should be doing with it. In the end, you want someone to see what you’ve created and understand the action they should take with it.