Recently, authors and bloggers have been writing and reporting on the importance of establishing a “platform” for individuals and organizations. Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, discusses this idea in his new book, “Platform.” Some people would say that how you frame your message is as important as what you say.
Regardless of the extend to which you agree with this premise, what isn’t up for debate is that everyone needs a platform. No one is going to create it for you, and the importance of having one cannot be stressed enough when it comes to remaining competitive in today’s marketplace.Make sure your message resonates with your market’s interests.
The biggest problem with much of today’s writing is that it needs to fight for attention simply because it is not well differentiated. If your goal is to build brand awareness or your company’s reputation, for example, you’ll need a strong context to build from. Simply stating your organization’s mission statement is not going to persuade anyone to change his or her mind or feel empathy toward your organization. Your message must resonate with their needs.
In other words, communicating your brand message without a specific purpose, such as lead building, will spin yours and your audience’s wheels with little return on your investment. Focus is essential. Otherwise you risk talking at your audience with no real impact.
Here are a few things you can do to build an effective platform and customize your messaging to your key audience:
• Place your messaging in the order that your specific customer prefers to view information. A great example is NOT feeling the need to alphabetize your pull-down menus! If your top-selling product or service starts with the letter “S,” put it on top to make it easy for your prospects to select. Make it obvious. Things that go first carry more importance than ones that go last.
• Figure out what your key audience wants to learn the most about and make that the center of everything you do. Highlight it. Don’t feel the need to build up to a magical crescendo, as if you’re writing a symphony. E-communications is about making critical information easy to find.
• Track the traffic on your website. Figure out what people spend the most amount of time looking at and push to the back topics they are less interested in, or consider eliminating them altogether if they’re ignored. Don't keep sacred cows!
In software development, it is just as important to figure out what functions not to include as which to include. No one likes to have to weed through confusing amounts of information.
The critical mass of all of this is to develop meaningful relationships with your customers and future customers. Making it easy for them to “talk” with you is at the foundation of a strong relationship. To accomplish this, it’s essential that you build a platform they will enjoy, vs. pushing your product sales messages too hard.
Remember, be creative and persuasive, but not overly aggressive.
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