Your Brand's Communication System: 8 Messaging Must-Haves for Service-Based EntrepreneursSep 24, 2021
When you hear the word “branding”, what comes to mind? Let me guess … you probably think of logos, color palettes, images and fonts. Am I right?
If so, you’re not alone and you’re right! Brand visuals are an important part of any brand, but you know what’s equally important (if not more important!) than brand visuals?
It’s brand messaging!
Brand messaging plays a huge role in how you’re remembered, if potential clients choose to work with you and whether you’re seen as credible and trustworthy by your audience.
If you confuse your audience with your messaging, they will look elsewhere. Plain and simple, because a confused mind always says “NO”.
When it comes to brand messaging, there are 8 key parts that every entrepreneur needs as part of, what I call her “Communication System”, if she wants to clearly communicate her value to the clients she wants to attract.
With your Communication System written and ready to go, you’ll be able to do things like:
- Confidently answer the question “what do you do?” at your next networking event.
- Clearly communicate your value on your website.
- Quickly provide podcast hosts with the info they need to introduce you on their show.
- Know what to say during your next Facebook Live intro.
- Inspire trust and connection with your audience through the power of story.
As we get into the 8 Messaging Must-Haves, I recommend getting out a notebook and pen, because you’re going to want to IMPLEMENT what you learn today!
8 Messaging Must-Haves for Service-Based Entrepreneurs
1. Business Name
I’ve seen countless fempreneurs get stuck on the step of naming their business – before they even start their business! Contrary to what you might be feeling or thinking, you don’t have to have a perfect, show-stopping business name to get started building your business.
Actually, as a service-based business owner who’s the face of your brand, I have just one recommendation if you’re struggling with naming your business: use your own name!
You already have an excellent name (for yourself and your brand), and when it’s paired with a clear tagline, it’s more than enough to take your business to six figures and beyond (and to achieve the impact that comes from growing your business to that level).
Not only that, but using your own name as your business name can be a great idea because:
- As your business evolves, you won’t have to change your business name if you change directions.
- Potential clients only have to remember ONE name when they try to find you online: YOURS (not your name and your business name)!
- It will get you started down the path of making money and making a difference rather than spinning your wheels on a name. PLUS you can change your name later if desired, it’s not like it’s written in stone.
The only times when using your own name isn’t a good idea is when you’re planning on building your business beyond YOU as the face of your brand or if you think you’ll want to sell your business in the future.
A title is what you call yourself – it’s the role you take on within your business. When choosing your title, it can be tempting to get creative – which is ok, as long as you’re not getting so creative that potential clients end up confused about what you do.
A great title is one that clearly communicates what you do, is concise, and is specific. For example, “Brand Strategist,” “Digital Marketing Specialist,” and “Wedding Planner” all fit the criteria for a clear title.
A confusing title is one that doesn’t clearly state what you do and is too vague – “Joy Magnetizer,” “Empowerment Coach,” and “Confidence Ignitor” are all titles that will leave potential clients confused as to what you can actually do for them.
Similar to your business name, please don’t spend a lot of time trying to come up with a clever title. You have lots of opportunities elsewhere in your brand messaging to sprinkle in personality … I recommend choosing a title that’s clear and concise and then moving on to more important things, like changing the world!
I like to think of a tagline like a “verbal logo.” It will be used across your brand, from your business card, to your website, to marketing collateral. Your tagline’s job is to help you become instantly recognizable to potential clients.
If you’re using your own name as your business name, it’s extra important that your tagline clearly communicates what you do.
For example, let’s say Angela Fernandez a Marketing Strategist for women entrepreneurs. Her website is www.AngelaFernandez.com and her logo is her name. If you were to land on her website and see “Angela Fernandez: Be Authentically YOU!”, you wouldn’t know what she does, would you?
Sure, maybe “Be authentically YOU!” is one of her brand values, but it still doesn’t tell her audience what she does, and this confusion will cause her to lose clients over time.
Instead, a better tagline could be:
“Angela Fernandez: Market Your Business the Feminine Way”
Or …“Angela Fernandez: Sleaze-Free Marketing Strategies for Bold Boss Babes”
Do you see how when she uses her own name in conjunction with a clear tagline, we immediately know what she does and for whom?
Now, there are countless ways to format your tagline effectively, and there are several key elements that go into creating the perfect tagline for your brand.
However, since your tagline is such a short, yet powerful piece of content, there’s also a lot of room for error.
Some of the biggest tagline mistakes I see are:
- Making the tagline too much about you (instead of your audience and the result you help them achieve)
- Using jargon which leads to confusion
- Being overly creative (at the cost of being clear)
- Focusing on client needs instead of wants
- Making claims that are simply not believable, for example, “world’s best …”
There’s an entire course inside the Impact Tribe that walks you through how to write a powerful, memorable tagline for your brand with formulas and examples to save you time!
The words and phrases you use throughout your brand are one way that potential clients will come to know, understand, and resonate with you and your message.
As a service-based business owner who’s the face of your brand, I recommend keeping your vocabulary aligned with what you naturally use and are comfortable with – this adds a level of authenticity and reliability to your brand that helps your audience feel more connected to you quicker than they otherwise might.
A great tool to use to figure out which words and phrases fit within your brand, and align with your personal preferences, (and so much more) is the Power Profile.
Assigned based on a comprehensive assessment, there are 12 Power Profiles, each relating to a color used in the visual elements of your brand, that is reflective of your brand personality, your values, and the work that you do. Each color profile includes a unique vocabulary bank to incorporate into your Communication System that helps bring the impression and impact of your brand full circle.
5. Marketing Message
Your Marketing Message, also known as the "Elevator Pitch" is that thing you say when you introduce yourself at a networking event … or when someone asks “what do you do?” at a dinner party.
Because you’ll share your Marketing Message in various settings, you’ll want to have a few different lengths prepared so you have choices depending on how long you have to speak.
- Long Marketing Message: 250 words
- Medium Marketing Message: 150 Words
- Short Marketing Message: 75 words
The easiest way to go about writing your Marketing Message is to start by writing your Long Marketing Message first, then you can remove parts to come up with your Medium and Short Marketing Messages.
When writing your Marketing Message, keep in mind that it needs to clearly and concisely explain what you do in a way that holds your listener’s attention and piques their interest.
A great way to do this is to make sure your Marketing Message communicates four key aspects of your business:
- Who you serve
- The top result your ideal client desires
- The challenge or pain that is keeping your ideal clients from what they want
- How you help your clients overcome this challenge/pain
Notice that the Marketing Message doesn’t focus so much on you, but rather on your ideal client - this is KEY to keeping your listener interested in what you have to say, because really, your potential clients only care about what you do, so much as it relates to how it can help them get what they want.
Your bio is often the first introduction to who you are and why your audience should care to listen to you.
Whether used on social media, your website, your media kit, podcast introductions or somewhere else, your bio is an important step in creating connection and trust with potential clients, as well as letting them know where they can find you if they want more.
Similar to your Marketing Message, I recommend having your bio prepared in a few different lengths so you can quickly send the requested version to any partner or collaborator who requests it.
Also similar to your marketing message, it’s important that your Bio communicates the same four parts of your business: who you serve, the result they want, the challenge they’re experiencing and how you help them overcome that challenge.
The main difference between your Marketing Message and Bio is that your Marketing Message will be in first person (because you will be verbally sharing it with your listener) and your Bio will be written in third person because it will show up in written format, often through someone else’s business who is featuring you as an interviewee or guest expert.
7. Brand Story
Your Brand Story tells your audience how you got to where you are today and why you started your business in the first place.
Ideally, your story mirrors your ideal clients: it begins where they are now and ends where they want to be. This is key to creating the connection, inspiration and trust your audience needs to choose you as their guide (instead of their countless other options).
It’s important to share your Brand Story generously and frequently - for example, in your newsletter, in social media captions, on your blog, during podcast interviews and DEFINITELY when you give a talk or host a webinar.
But with such vast life experience, one of the questions my clients bump up against most often is: “how do I know which story to tell?”
Here are a few pointers:
- Choose a story that relates your brand and what you help your clients achieve.
- It doesn’t have to be the craziest thing you’ve ever gone through (because they might not relate to your business and that’s ok).
- Ideally, you want your story to mirror your ideal client’s story. I.E. Where your story begins is similar to where your ideal client might be now, and where your story ends (or at least where you are now, because your story is always evolving) is similar to where your ideal client wants to be.
- Select a story that can incorporate your values, beliefs, credibility, struggle and triumph.
And please, don’t fall into the “not enoughness” trap when writing your Brand Story. Some of my clients who are just starting out, or who aren’t where they want to be yet, worry that they haven’t achieved enough “success” yet to write an inspiring story.
Here’s the deal: there will always be people who are further advanced than you, as well as people who are less advanced than you.
You don’t have to be making six figures, have found the love of your life, have perfect health, travel the world, or anything else that you think you need to be credible and inspiring.
Maybe your success is that you have achieved balance in your life, or that you feel more confident now than ever before.
Whatever you share in your story, be specific. If you achieved balance, what does that look like? If you’re more confident, what are you able to do with that confidence that you couldn’t before?
8. Story Themes
Storytelling is a powerful tool that you’ll use time and time again in your business to create connection with your audience and help land the learning for your clients.
You’ll tell stories in blog posts, newsletters, live streams, interviews, social media, and countless other places throughout your marketing channels.
Story Themes are different from your Brand Story in that they refer to the many different stories you’ll tell across your business (not just the one story about how you got to where you are today).
Life is constantly happening, so we accumulate stories that can be used later to bring a piece of our message to life. But it’s important to be mindful that the stories we tell, align with our brand personality, and that’s where the idea of Story Themes come in.
Brand Archetypes play a very important role in identifying your Story Themes by helping you keep your stories aligned with your brand personality.
For example, if you’re a “Girl Next Door” Archetype, but you tell stories that reference standing out, being unique, claiming the spotlight, etc. this will be out of alignment, because the “Girl Next Door” archetype is all about being ONE with each other. NOT about standing out.
Or … if you’re an Innocent Archetype, but you tell stories about “conquering your fears” or hustling to achieve your goals, this will be out of alignment because the Innocent Archetype is all about slowing down, creating spaciousness and taking time to smell the roses.
Do you see how the stories you tell can either reinforce your brand or create misalignment? If you’re curious about your Brand Archetype, you can take my Brand Personality quiz here.
If you’re ready to discover more resources, courses, and trainings that will help you master your brand’s entire communication system, then join us in the Impact Tribe! When you join the Impact Tribe, not only do you get access to my complete course library, you’ll also receive monthly coaching from me, and become a part of an incredible community of service-based fempreneurs just like you!