I believe your message — what you say — is the single most important aspect of a marketing effort. More important than what something looks like, its form, or method of delivery. More important than everything.

Yes, your marketing effort must look appropriate. Costco’s marketing doesn’t look like Tesla’s, and it shouldn’t.

Yes, your marketing should be delivered in a way that it gets noticed and consumed. Be on Facebook IF your customers hang out on Facebook. Be on page one of related Google searches if people search for what you sell.

But everything else can be right and the wrong message will kill your response. What do I mean by the wrong message? Two things, actually:

  1. First, the wrong message can be, well, the wrong message: you’re talking to your prospects about something that isn’t important to them.
  2. The wrong message can also be the right message that isn’t communicated well. Maybe it’s one sentence in paragraph three or the fourth of six bullets. Maybe it buried in so many buzz words it disappears. Maybe it’s in bits and pieces throughout your site or brochure. Regardless, it simply isn’t easy enough to see and understand, so people don’t see or understand it.

How to make sure you have the right message:

-Remember, the right message isn’t what you think is important, it’s what your customers think is important. Ask them. Ask the last six people who bought from you for the first time. Six people. New customers. Call them.

-That reason for buying should lead your marketing pieces. It should be in the headline, the subject line, the first sentence. It should be in the middle of your marketing pieces, where you expand and explain. Give examples, customer testimonials, the works. And it should be repeated in the close of your message. It should be understood in the first seven seconds.

Wait a tic marketing boy, you say, we don’t just have one type of customer, we have several. Different messages for different types of customers you wonder? Best case, yes. Different marketing pieces for different customers is the best case. If this isn’t feasible, write for your core customer, NOT for everybody.

If you’re wondering why that new website or email or brochure everybody loves isn’t making a difference, maybe it doesn’t have the right message. Fix it!