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Fix Your Messaging: The #1 B2B “Growth Hack” of 2020 and Beyond

By Ben Putano

“Right now, more isn’t better. Better is better.” - Mike Poledna

Times are tough. We could all use a break.

So when you see that Facebook ad from a “Marketing Ninja-Guru” promising a growth hack to 100x your revenue in 17 days, you might be more tempted than normal to click the link.

If only it were that easy.

Here’s an actual “growth hack” for you:

Make sure your ideal customers know WHAT you do, HOW you’ll help them, and WHY they should buy from you.

🤯 🤯 🤯

In other words, fix your messaging.

Our world has changed, and it’s still evolving rapidly. What worked for you 9 months ago is WAY off the mark.

Heck, what worked 3 months ago is probably outdated.

The most important thing you can do for your company in 2020 and beyond is to fix your messaging. Here’s why:

The case for better messaging - Exhibit A

Let’s start with Exhibit A: What’s NOT working.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, tech sales teams have been busy trying to drum up new business.

According to HubSpot, sales teams are sending 89% more messages now than they did prior to March 2020.

 

HubSpot data: Email sends by industry

 

The result for all that extra effort? A whopping 29% DECREASE in response rate.

 

HubSpot data: Email response rate by industry

No wonder prospects are ignoring you. There is more JUNK in their inbox than ever before. The noise level in our lives is off the charts.

This data led to Mike’s genius, Tweetable insight:

“More isn’t better. Better is better.”

For the layman, Mike is telling you to STOP SENDING EMAILS just to say you’ve done something.

You need to figure out how to cut through the noise.

The case for better messaging - Exhibit B

Now let’s look at what IS working.

(Spoiler: It’s better messaging)

This insight comes from the venerable Patrick Campbell of ProfitWell.

In 2018, ProfitWell tested different value propositions on 9,800 users who had shown a propensity to buy. These were hot leads.

The results surprised even me, a self-proclaimed messaging ninja-guru:

ProfitWell data: the impact of Value Propositions on conversion rates

 

For B2B SaaS products, the value proposition had a +/- 20% impact on conversion rates.

20% !!! Talk about low-hanging fruit.

Imagine telling your boss or investors that you COULD improve conversion rates by 20% by changing 10 words on your website, but you’d rather spend $10,000 on Google Ads. Makes no sense.

And that’s not all. Not only are value propositions important, but what customers perceive as "value" is changing in real time.

ProfitWell has been conducting longitudinal studies on value propositions during the Covid pandemic. Here's what they found:

ProfitWell data: the impact of Value Propositions on conversion rates, continued

 

This chart shows how the affinity for money vs. costs has flipped on its head. In pre-Covid times, the “Makes you money” value proposition was the clear winner. Since then, “Saves you costs” has resonated more deeply with consumers, but affinity is ever-changing.

P.S. I highly recommend Patrick’s 2-minute video on these studies

How to fix your outdated messaging

Now that you’re thoroughly convinced about the value of better messaging (If you’re not, learn how messaging fits into the bigger sales growth picture), let’s talk about what you can do about it:

1. Do your research

When was the last time you talked to customers about their lives, challenges, aspirations, and how your product/service fits into their world?

If it’s been longer than 3 months, get on the phone and start calling people. Ask them these 5 questions:

  1. What keeps you up at night?
  2. What does success look like?
  3. What does FAILURE look like?
  4. In your own words, what does our product/service do for you?
  5. How’s your family? (Keep things personal!)

NOTHING can replace good old-fashioned customer research interviews. Not Twitter, not data, not your “intuition.” Start making calls.

2. Use a Messaging Framework

Humans are simple creatures. Everyone loves a good story, despite all the technology and data and metrics we can muster.

By using a messaging framework, you can turn your messaging into a story — complete with a hero, villain, adventure, and a satisfyingly happy ending.

We’re big fans of the Storybrand SB7 Framework, but choose the one that works best for you.

The Storybrand SB7 Messaging framework

Bottom line: Take your customer research and turn it into a story using a messaging framework.

3. Test, test, test

Learn from ProfitWell — they are an excellent company. And they test their messaging like crazy. The experiments I shared above are just a small sample.

There are numerous ways to test your messaging:

  • A/B test email subject lines
  • A/B test landing page headers
  • Share messaging statements on LinkedIn
  • Write your value proposition on a sign and stand in the middle of downtown
  • Use tools like HubSpot to measure conversion rates across the customer lifecycle (Shameless plug)

Whatever you do, don’t settle on ‘meh’ conversion rates. Test, and test often.

Shameless Plug - Book a 360 Messaging Workshop

Need help with messaging?

Mike Poledna and I are an odd-but-effective super duo — An old sales dog with nearly 20 years experience running Fortune 1000 sales teams; and me, a writer-turned-marketer who loves growing audiences.

Together, we’ll take your team on a journey like you’ve never experienced— One where boring sales emails are vanquished and powerful, irresistible value propositions emerge.

The 360 Messaging Workshop is designed for SaaS teams struggling to connect with prospects and customers. If interested, learn more.

Back to the Show… Update your messaging!

The truth is in the data — prospects are ignoring you. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Messaging is the ultimate “growth hack” of 2020 and beyond. Cut through the noise by doing your research, using a messaging framework, and testing until you get it right.

Customers are still buying. Get your messaging straight so that they choose to buy from YOU.

 

Tags: Messaging