Crafting & Delivering Prospect Messaging More Effectively
Takeaway notes from a Capterra webinar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter, Melissa Data

What is meant by good messaging? The answer to this falls into two categories.

1. “Bump-into” messaging are the messages you use when you first meet a prospect, whether it’s due to a brilliant marketing campaign or by random chance. You have their attention very briefly and a chance to communicate something that, hopefully, will make them interested and continue the conversation.

2. “Rope-em in” messaging are the things you would say to a prospect that isn’t paying any attention to you when you want to get their attention.

Good “bump-into” messaging is answering the key questions that are at the top of your prospect’s mind. They’re looking for you to succinctly, and in a clear language answer key questions. The biggest mistake marketers make is being too broad. We think that the more prospects we engage with, the bigger our sales will be. So, we tend to use broad terms to describe who we want as our prospects. But, that’s the exact opposite of what prospects are looking for. They’re looking for us to be as specific and relevant to them as possible. These are the four questions they’re using to appraise you:

Who: Are you doing something for companies like us?
What: Could what you do solve our problem?
Why: How is this better than other options?
Proof: How credible are you?

Have clear and relevant answers to these questions and you might just make the sale!

Sorting out terminology soup
There are a lot of marketing gurus who sling around the same terms in different ways. This can make differentiating terminology very confusing. Here’s how to sort out the terminology soup:

Term: Value Proposition and Compelling Reason to Buy
This is what a customer is trying to do, the reason they are going shopping. They want to buy something to solve a problem; what is that reason?

Term: Differentiation
Explaining why we are better than the competition, but in a way that is meaningful to our prospects.

Term: Positioning
This term covers the “who,” “what,” and “why” questions.

Term: Sales-ready messaging
This is a set of messages with each one targeted for a specific sales target in a specific sales situation. It’s already assumed that we covered the “who,” so we just need to cover the “what” and “why.”

Share this terminology with fellow marketers and others you work with so everyone is on the same page.

In “rope-em in” messaging, it’s really important that the message you’re conveying be relevant to the buying stage that the prospect is in. So, let’s say the prospect is in the latent stage—they have no pain, they’re not even thinking about shopping. The message that we should be conveying to them should be about how painful the status quo is, and what it’s costing them. Bring that to the surface of their minds.

Another scenario is they do have pain (pain stage), but they haven’t started shopping. That’s our opportunity to advertise and say our Web site is the place to get information and help figure out the correct solution for them.

Now, if they’re in the vision stage, and they already have a good idea of what they want to buy, our messaging should be around why we should be included in their evaluation set.

Lastly, there is the active search stage. Sometimes you’ll find that prospects are making their purchase decisions and you’re not being invited to the table. You need to let them know what they’re losing by not talking to you.

In summary, “rope-em in” messaging is being focused on the messages you are directing to your prospects, and being tied to the stage of purchase that they’re in.

How to get messaging right:

  • Learn to share messaging terminology with those working with you.
  • Write your positioning statement and test it.
  • Write a creative brief for each project and clarify purpose and context.
  • Write a new “About Us” page using just headlines and bullet points and text it.
  • Expand, then edit, and test.
Brief is better, but hard. Most of the time we don’t allocate time to really hone our messages. Be brief and as specific as possible, but not so much that you lose clarity in your messaging.

---Source: Capterra webinar on Apr. 19, 2010 ( Keynote speaker Kathryn Roy is the managing partner at Precision Thinking. Reach her at

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