This article is for you if you are working in a startup and want to enhance its marketing. How did you discover that the article was helpful? It’s all in the headline.
The messaging of your startup, including taglines, landing pages, and Facebook posts can influence your customers’ decision to purchase your product. Make a mistake when crafting your message, and you may lose future customers.
Brand messaging refers to the language and value proposition you use within your content. It is this that helps connect buyers with your brand by inspiring, motivating, and persuading them.
What makes it important? The brand messaging you use is what convinces customers to choose you over your competition. Without a clear message for your new startup, you will not be able to attract customers.
I’ve been working with startups since 2013 and have made many of these mistakes. These are the five most common brand messaging mistakes that startups make.
1. You’re using buzzwords.
Do you consider yourself innovative? Would that be disruptive? Everyone else does. You may not think so.
A search for in AngelList shows that many startups “disrupt” the market.
Be Specific. How do you plan to proceed? Do you intend to create an app to allow business owners to manage their projects and communicate remotely with other team members?
Do you plan to allow freelancers to track their time on the web? Would you like them to be able to do so in their browser?
Your customers will not be able to understand your product if you do not fully understand it.
The landing page of Grammarly is a great example of how to communicate a brand’s message. “
The homepage of Dropbox is also a good example. This page does not extol the product or use any technical terms. All it says is “Take your files anywhere”.
Use the Business Buzzwords Generator for some examples of what not to do.
You’ll see it on many startup sites. This is ridiculous, and it has no meaning.
Common Startup Buzzwords That You Should Avoid
- ” The Uber for _____. “
- Game changer
- Next generation
Then ask yourself, “What does the adjective mean?” Remove it and substitute it with a better word. If you want to describe something as “innovative,” explain why it is so. For example, your dating app is innovative because it is the first one that uses AI for matching. “
You assume your product is popular because you already know that it has a lot of interest.
It’s up to you as a businessperson to convince your customers of the value of your product.
Many people ask “What’s in it for me?” “
Uber does a great job of recruiting new drivers. This is done by concentrating their recruitment efforts on the advantages that Uber drivers enjoy.
The organization is not mentioned (e.g. They don’t mention themselves as an organization (e.g. “). The focus is on the benefits you will receive by driving with them. (Drive when you like.
Another excellent example of sailing.
The benefit is written boldly in the middle. Below they state clearly that their product was intended for independent contractors.
Make people want to buy your product
- Your customers aren’t interested in the actual product. When writing copy, keep in mind that your customers are more interested in what you can offer them.
- In your sentences, you can substitute “you” for “we”. The reader will feel more included if you use “you” instead of “we”.
- Don’t just list features, instead turn them into benefits. It isn’t helpful for customers. Instead, you should answer “What does it mean to me?” Tell your clients how your products or services will benefit them. For example, you could say, “256-bit SSL” rather than “256-bit SSL”. You could also say, “Your data is safe from hackers when you use our application.” “
3. You’re hiding your humanity.
Most startups show off their tech but don’t include the creators. Customers have a hard time trusting software and inanimate objects. The product should be accompanied by a face.
Study shows that reading stories with characters causes your brain to release oxytocin. The chemical is associated with happiness and trust.
How does this research affect you? Human-centered stories can help build trust between your company and your clients.
This can be achieved by sharing more information about your staff. The “Our Story” page of Station Cold Brew Coffee features the faces of its founding team and tells what inspired them to start their company.
Photos of your staff can help humanize your company and connect you with your clients.
Don’t just talk about yourself. Tell the story of how your company has helped others. This can be effective because it focuses the audience on a single human experience.
Wharton School of Business researchers conducted a survey that showed participants were more inclined to give money to good causes if they knew the stories of “identifiable” victims. Only knowing statistics about the victims made participants less likely to give money.
See how tells the stories of business owners they’ve helped fund.
Kiva’s message has become more emotive than transactional.
You ignore the voice of your users.
Your customers have created a wealth of user-generated content (UGC). UGC has many benefits.
- By having someone else create your content, you can save time.
- Make your users feel like they are part of the team.
- It can be used to improve the message of your startup.
For this article, let’s focus on the third aspect.
A study found that 28,000 users around the world said they “trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family”, more than other forms of advertising. UGC is a great option.
Startups are taking notice of this phenomenon. They use UGC to market their services and products on social media.
Love With Food, is a startup that curates UGC content and merges with its own brand’s content.
The most incredible story of this strategy was how a marriage proposal came out of a Love With Food Box.
What if you missed out on a great story? The best content to use is organic. Your customer database can be a treasure trove.
Find or create user-generated content
- It is best to ask permission from the person who used the hashtag before reposting it.
- You can use influencers as a resource. If you’re having difficulty getting UGC started, ask them to post using your hashtag in exchange for products or cash. It is this spark that ignites a UGC firestorm in your community.
- You can ask your email list to send you photos of your customers using your product in the next newsletter. Then, you can feature the photos on your social media accounts.
- If you’re shipping an actual item, include a message inside the packaging. Use your hashtag to encourage customers to follow your social media pages and use it.
- Launch a competition. Launch a contest around your hashtag to promote UGC. Prizes for winners are important. Make the prizes specific to the ideal customer and avoid generic ones (such as an iPhone or money).
5. You are forgetting your roots
Startups are known for their origin stories. Consider HP Garage or Facebook Harvard Campus as examples of origin stories that take customers from their initial problem-solving moment to the final solution.
You might think that your origin story is not important. But it is. When your business expands, you should go back and remind yourself of why you founded your company. This will help you connect more personally with clients. The stories you tell about your beginnings can also be used to determine the problem you are solving.
Spanx’s “ About Us” webpage shows how the company began, with a photo of Sara Blakely.
You can scroll down to read the full story. Learn about Sara’s frustration, her solution, and how Spanx helps women.
Spanx provides its brand with a unique name, a distinctive voice, and a history of its creation. It is an effective way to reach out to its target clients regardless of the size of the business.
Tell Your Origin Story
Do not worry too much about your origin story. Your origin story does NOT have to be dramatic. Incorporate these elements into it:
- Each product begins with a challenge. What was the frustration, inconvenience, or pain you experienced that led to you creating your idea? Describe how you felt to bring attention to this issue. Ideal clients can relate to your frustration and sadness.
- What is your solution? You can use this space to introduce your product, and not only as a new-fangled item.
- Results: What changes or improvements have you seen since using the product? Be specific in your description. Use numbers to show growth.
- Use this tool to zoom out and see the whole picture. Why did you launch your business by solving a problem you faced? How would you describe the mission of your company? Tell your customers about the purpose of your venture, as well as how they can benefit from it.
The article concludes with:
Use the correct words. You might wonder why you’re so concerned about your elevator pitch. If you get it right, you can receive lots of capital.
Your brand message is similar. Think of it like an elevator speech for potential clients. It’s your job to get them to part with their money for something more valuable.
You will fail in your business if you do not know how much you’re worth. If you don’t have a clear message, you will fail in your startup.
Avoid these branding mistakes for startups if you’re looking to succeed:
- Using buzzwords
- It is easy to assume that your customers are interested in what you have to offer
- Hide your humanity
- Ignoring your users’ voice
- Forgetting Your Roots
Humans are story-driven creatures. They want more information than that. Our desire for meaning is greater than our concern for inanimate objects. It will make them more likely to buy.
Do not call your start-up “disruptive”, just to be original.