Crafting Your Integrated Messaging Strategy

Crafting Your Integrated Messaging Strategy

What is an integrated messaging strategy?

It’s pretty simple, really.

It means that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together so that they work in harmony across all media platforms. In other words, your brand’s main message is consistently communicated every time a prospect or customer sees or hears from you, and your unique differentiator is at the core of every message. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing ideas that help you get clarity around your messaging, as well as simple and cost effective ideas for integrating consistent messaging across all marketing platforms – website, social media, email, print, blogs, etc. 

Today, we’ll talk about features vs. benefits. 

This is the best explanation of features vs benefits I’ve ever seen. Nobody really cares if Coke is low in calories. What we care about is knowing that if we drink Diet Coke as opposed to a sugary drink, we won’t gain weight, and we’ll look better in our clothes. 

Look for the Coke message for your brand. What do you do for your customer? How does your service make them feel, look, act? Does it help them become more successful in business, save money, or make money? That is your story – and you need to stick to it, across every media platform. This will ensure that your readers can always rely upon a consistent, authentic message about your brand.  

Do You Know What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night?

Do You Know What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night?

When it comes to connecting with prospects, we all face the same problem. Even the greatest, most innovative products can sit on the shelf if prospects don’t trust the seller.

Acknowledging What Keeps Your Prospects Up at Night Is Your Best Sales Opportunity

In order to build trust, always, always, always address your prospects greatest pain points or problem areas first. Then – later – offer your unique solution.

This assures prospects of two things:

– You understand them and their business problems
– You may very well have the right solution, and they probably will be willing to listen to you. 

Too often I see home pages totally devoted to product features and claims. Sure you’re letting readers know what business you’re in, but there is nothing really to resonate with readers, to grab and maintain reader interest. 

It’s important that your website first convey your understanding of the needs of your target market. It should not be all about you, your company, or what you are selling.

There are opportunities to “sell” your products or services on your website. Just do it respectfully, within the context of benefiting the reader. 

The One Thing that Drives Success

The One Thing that Drives Success

What’s the one thing every business needs to do in order to be successful?

(Hint) It also seems to be one of the hardest things to do.

Determine what makes your business different from the competition so that every communication promotes those unique capabilities, and you attract ideal customers.

Do you know what your unique differentiators are that make prospects want to buy from you – and only you? 

Let me ask you this. When someone asks you what is different about your business, do you:

  • Have an immediate answer of about 20-30 words long?
  • Does your answer address the top pain point for your ideal customer?

If not, read on.

Differentiating your business makes it memorable and credible. It helps your prospects quickly understand what you do and what sets you apart from your competitors. This unique difference is also known as your value proposition and should be the basis of all your marketing.

A Great Tip for Differentiation

Promote your core value. To do this, of course, you have to know what your core value is. For us, it’s Writing the Words that Sell our Customers’ Products and Services.

Google’s core value is organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.

In contrast to most other companies that focus on profit, Disney focuses on the intangibles that make the Disney brand unique and distinct. The core value for their theme parks is to create happiness by providing the best in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere.

What is your core value and how can you share your values with your ideal customers, thereby setting yourself apart from the competition? I would love to hear from you.

How to Create Thought Leadership Content

How to Create Thought Leadership Content

Thought leadership builds trust in your audience. It elevates your company and your industry to a higher level of thinking about the problems your customers face.

Thought leadership content is insightful, quality-focused, and takes more time and effort than even the best regular blog post.

Thought leadership is more than just good. It seeks to drive change.

When Are You Ready to Delve into the Magnificent World of Thought Leadership Content?

When you want to grow your brand and have a unique perspective on the marketplace.

There isn’t a formula for writing great thought leadership content, just like there isn’t one formula for creating a great soufflé.

Thought leadership is one of the most powerful ways for brands to establish authority and grow … to boost brand awareness and increase market share.

Typically, they are longer than the normal blog post – but not always. Sometimes they cite other key authorities and include quotes. They are always well researched and meaty.

Add to the Conversation

Thought leadership is a superb way to build a brand and set it apart in the marketplace.

It takes time and effort, but is generally well worth it.

Your company website is the perfect place to house thought leadership content and establish your business as an innovator and leading source of information. By providing insight, guidance, and encouragement, you build trust while adding  value to your community and customers.

6 Questions That Will Tell You if Your Website is Attracting Customers

6 Questions That Will Tell You if Your Website is Attracting Customers

Websites are unique. They’re not the same as print or other offline media.

When it comes to the corporate website, the challenge is attracting and maintaining attention in a world in which humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish.

Maybe your job description doesn’t include writing website copy. But if you’re in management, you still need to be able to look at your corporate site and see if it meets your goals or not.


Here is a 6-point checklist for evaluating your site.

1. Do you know the primary reason prospective customers visit your website – and do you blaze an unmistakable digital trail to that information?

2. Do you earn readers’ trust by providing fresh streams of content relevant to their interests?

3. Is it super easy to find whatever it is you’re selling, and is your sales copy compelling enough that it inspires a purchase – right now!

4. Is your website about your customers and their problems (Note: avoid the inclination to make your website about you and your solutions.)

5. Do you take every possible precaution to keep visitors from getting lost?

6. Does your site fulfill a specific business objective?

If you answered every question with a resounding YES! – Congratulations!

Any NO’s, your site probably needs work.

Do these issues apply to every website? Pretty much. Multi-page websites present interesting challenges. They coexist with robots, big data, the constant threat of being hacked, visitors who are like wild animals looking for quick easy meals (information), and algorithms that reign supreme.

Unlike other media, they are the epitome of reader choose-your own-adventure, with visitors going backward/forward – in/out with very few controls in place.

With the advent of search engine optimization, tracking software, and metrics that test site viability, we know results almost instantly, and can quickly tell when a website is converting visitors to leads and sales – or falling flat.

Good Thing I Sent This Out

Good Thing I Sent This Out

(Don’t miss provocative question at the end!)

A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a Jigsaw about my experience firing a toxic client. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I should send it – I really try to be positive and supportive and thought it might seem kind of grumpy. Anyway, I hit the send button. And I’m glad I did.

I think it was actually cathartic for some readers. I had more response than any other email – like:

“I loved this post! I am wrangling with a client that is exactly as you describe. I have done so much free work, endured complaints and insults, I can’t believe it! I have to get rid of her!”

“Thank you for the very informative message, much appreciated. I am better prepared and I too would let the client go.”

“When I feel disrespected…that is when I say our time is up.”

“My sentiments exactly….. An excellent article! I try not to fire them but every once in a while “it feels so good.”

Provocative Question

Here is a question I received from one reader. I’d be really interested in your feedback – which I will share.

“Now what do you do about giving $$$ back when you are in the middle of the project? Or do you always go to the end then fire?”

Tell me your thoughts

20 Irresistible Lead Magnets That Convert Like Crazy

20 Irresistible Lead Magnets That Convert Like Crazy

Fact: 98% of traffic to your website isn’t ready to buy right now.

Fact: 70% of all website visitors on average will never return to the site.

There is a gap between buyer/seller contact and the perfect time to buy.

This is why you need lead magnets to fill that gap and offer incentives to entice people to provide their contact information, so that you can keep in touch until the buy time is finally here!

Last week I gave you the 7 key ingredients for a successful magnet. This week, I want to give you 20 proven examples of high-converting lead magnets. They are:

1. Check Lists
2. Cheat Sheets
3. Templates
4. Swipe Files
5. Examples
6. Scripts
7. Toolkits
8. Web Apps
9. Resources Lists
10. Worksheets / Workbooks
11. Inspiration File
12. Calculators
13. Spreadsheets
14. Educational Tutorials or training calls
15. Ebooks
16. Reports
17. Webinar
18. Free Books + shipping
19. SlideShare
20. Giveaways

P.S. Are you determined to build your business and take it to the next level? Are you unsure about the next steps to take? Is your brand, message, benefits or transformation not clearly understood by your target market? Have you looked at your website lately and thought “Something is just not right?” If any of these questions have occurred to you, you’re in the right place.

My name is Claire Stoddard and I’ve spent my entire career helping business leaders grow their businesses.

I have developed a fully-branded, end-to-end Marketing Profitability Program that will grow your business in just 60 days.

If you would like to know more …

Schedule a call this week!

Do You Have a High Converting Lead Magnet?

Do You Have a High Converting Lead Magnet?

If you want to build your prospect list, you need a good lead magnet.

If you want to generate leads online, you need a high-converting, rapid educating lead magnet.


What is a lead magnet? ?

It is an offer for something of value for something equally valuable – i.e., an email address. It rapidly educates readers about what you do, and then pushes them to a call to action. It is usually downloadable content, such as a free PDF checklist, report, ebook, whitepaper, video, etc.

For instance, say you posted a blog on the 5 must-see places in South Africa. At the end you ask readers to sign up for your periodic updates.

Or – you could ask people to sign up for your email list and in return they will receive a PDF on The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Enjoying Your South African Vacation.

Which do you think will get more signups?

The second one.

A high-converting, rapid-educating lead magnet must:
1. Solve a real problem
2. Promise a quick win
3. Is super specific
4. Quick to digest
5. High value
6. Instantly accessible
7. Demonstrate your expertise, helping turn leads into customers down the road

Keep an eye out for next week’s blog article, which has 20 proven examples of high-converting lead magnets.

P.S. Are you determined to build your business and take it to the next level? Are you unsure about the next steps to take? Is your brand, message, benefits or transformation not clearly understood by your target market? Have you looked at your website lately and thought “Something is just not right?” If any of these questions have occurred to you, you’re in the right place.

My name is Claire Stoddard and I’ve spent my entire career helping business leaders grow their businesses.

I have developed a fully-branded, end-to-end Marketing Profitability Program that will grow your business in just 60 days.

If you would like to know more …

Schedule a call this week!

When Should You Fire A Client?

When Should You Fire A Client?

It had been a tough process.

A new client in a business that I loved.
A lot of enthusiasm at the start.
Extra upfront time invested by both of us (to be expected).
Then things seemed to go south.

There was a litany of client problems including:

  • Constantly changing his mind, resulting in my having to redo copy time after time
  • Requesting changes without being able to articulate why – just wanting to see more options
  • Second-guessing my advice, but expecting me to pick up the pieces when things went wrong
  • Continually missing meetings, and not willing to extend deadlines
  • Nitpicking my work and the work of the designer, thereby lowering morale

Contract renewal time arrived and – to my surprise –
he wanted to renew.

Let Me Step Back and Say –

I value my clients, dearly. They pay me money, give me interesting projects, and sometimes become friends. But ONCE, I fired a client, and this was it.

So during another difficult phone conversation, I let him know that I had decided not to continue with his work.

This is What I’ve Learned

There is a big difference between challenging projects and challenging clients.
Challenging projects help you grow, are immensely satisfying when brought to a happy conclusion, and can lead to more business.

Challenging clients are the ones who are never satisfied, never want to pay for their 22 revisions, never pleased with an idea unless its theirs, never stick to a deadline, and are unreasonably demanding. Challenging clients, in my experience, are also few and far between (thank heavens!)

When I worked for a big corporation, I had to suck it up. But as the head of my own copywriting service, I could see this client was going to continue to drive me crazy and drain my energy.

I decided to fire him.

What would you have done? I’d be interested in your thoughts. 

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

I take delight in meeting deadlines and delivering projects on time. I know it’s weird. But I truly like being organized and I’m a dedicated planner. As you can imagine this is an invaluable skill when writing copy for small businesses – often several projects at a time.

How do I project manage? It’s my Measure Twice; Cut Once Plan

1. I lay out a detailed editorial calendar that tells my client’s story and brings readers to a conclusion and a decision. I work backwards from the publishing date and measure the time it will take for each step leading up to that date (first measurement). And then I confirm all deadlines with the marketing team (measure twice).

2. The delightful part is that once that calendar is finalized, I only have to cut through the details once, without having to re-negotiate deadlines along the way. I’m happy. The client is happy.

As a business owner, you may not be creating all of your own content. Or maybe you are and, if so, this is even more important for you. In either event, you need to ensure that the people who are writing for you are on target and on time. The creation of an editorial calendar is an outstanding way to begin.

And if you would like a copy of one of my editorial templates, click here now.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.