To communicate well about your product and talk to your audience, you have to be clear about your business.
Before you can step up to bat, you’ve gotta have a plan. And to have a plan, you need to be honest about what kind of hitter you are.
That may or may not be a bad analogy for stepping into the world of online sales and growth, but we will leave it at that. A lot of businesses get started with an idea, they create a quick logo, spend time developing all things product related, and insert effort into sales. These are all really good things to do, but I am always amazed by the clients I talk to who have never considered some of the questions I am going to ask you below.
To communicate well about your product and talk to your audience, you have to be clear about your business. So, why business? The answer is that if you don’t have any sort of foundation it terms of defining clearly who you are as a business, then it will be difficult to create a successful strategy.
The real reason we start with business is because of communication. Making sales and growing online depends on effective communication. We are talking, from your website to the copy on your products, and the crazy video your social media “guru” just posted that is supposed to go viral. If the core communication elements of your business are not in place, then everything moving forward will feel scattered, disjointed, and will likely confuse your audience.
• Your Pitch
• Your Why
• Your Mission
• Your Vision & Values
• Your Power 5
Your pitch, or elevator pitch, is a quick statement you can use to tell someone who knows nothing about your business what you do. It’s likely you have something like this in your brain.
This is a very important thing to solidify. Communication that happens online occurs in long form (blog posts) to short form (tweets), and you really need one statement that can be a guiding line for every message you put out there. It’s the home base of online communication.
The pitch should include a main benefit and how you provide that benefit. Although you are using this statement, it should not be about you. It is about the benefit your audience receives when using or interacting with your product.
Here is Aux One’s pitch: Consulting and training services for businesses in the natural food industry to grow in sales, build customer loyalty, and win their market online.
In our case, we led with how we provide the benefit (consulting and training) instead of our benefits (growing in sales, building loyalty, winning market online). You can really do it either way. If we reversed it, it would read more like this:
Grow in sales, build customer loyalty, and win your market online through smart and innovative consulting and training.
I couldn’t resist, but needed to add some description to how we provide the benefit (consulting and training) because it needed a little more pizazz.
This is going to be something that you will need to play with, wrestle with, and perfect. It is essential for communication strategy development, and essential to move on to the next steps.
Knowing your why is a key part of communication and messaging online because consumers love stories. Being able to communicate your why is a huge part of that story.
Your why is more than the actual solution you provide or the problem you solve. It’s as if I ask you, “So what?” to everything you tell me about your business. It’s really annoying, but it works. Here’s an example using Aux One.
Here is something we might say when asked “Why does Aux One exist?”:
Consulting and training services for businesses in the natural and organic industry to grow in sales, build customer loyalty, and win their market online.
That’s our pitch from step one, but it’s not exactly working here is it?
Now ask, “So what?” to our statement above. It’s like an annoying teenager, right? Our response to that is:
We do what we do because we believe in the ability of the natural and organic industry to spread the power of healthy products, and that’s something we want to be a part of.
Often businesses whys are triggered from a past experience of the founder something similar. It requires authentic digging and feeling.
Once you know your why, you can combine it with your pitch, and rearrange a few things to get a mission statement. Well let’s say a modern mission statement. I have read some statements that were an entire page of text! No-thank-you.
So, put it together like this:Your pitch + Your why = your mission.
For example:Aux One Pitch Consulting and training services for businesses in the natural and organic industry to grow in sales, build customer loyalty, and win their market online.
Aux One WhyWe do what we do because we believe in the ability of the natural and organic industry to spread the power of healthy products, and that’s something we want to be a part of.
Aux One Mission
Building trusting relationships with good people and build brand experiences that educate, engage, and inspire.
It may take some shifting and reworking, but you can do it. Make sure the core of your pitch and why remain. I would suggest making your mission no longer than 5 sentences and no fewer than 2.
Your vision statement is a unique aspect of your business communication because it ends up resonating with your employees the most. Employees should be able to understand and be inspired by your vision.
It should be concise and express your company goals and values. To get started, ask yourself these questions:
What do you value as a company? (check for clues in your why and mission) What do you do right now that aligns with those values? Where are you not aligned with those values? What can you do to make sure you stay aligned with those values? Where do you want your business to be in 10 years? Based on your responses, what does success look like for your company?
Remember, it’s ok to dream big here. Worry less about practicality and more about opening yourself up to asking, “What if…?”
Here is an example from Aux One: Our Values:
Our Vision:We will never stop learning or teaching because education is at the very core of who we are. We are invested in the success of the natural & organic food industry and it’s future. We work to support the industry and drive it forward by doing what we do best as consultants and educators with as much energy, simplicity, and enthusiasm as possible.
This one is a little bit unique, and some might think it’s excessive, but we believe it is very valuable when it comes to carrying everything above into every aspect of your business.
Your Power Five is made up of 5 words that embody the heart and soul of your business. Those five words act as guard rails for every decision you make moving forward. Here is an example.
Aux One’s Power Five with explanations are:
Cutting Edge We never stop questioning, and exercising the search for better.Wholeness We embrace the inner qualities of youth, and the big picture when it comes to success in life and business.In-tuneWe are millennials and by nature are in tune with trends and culture.InfluenceWe believe in the power of education to influence the world for good.SimpleSimple is best. That’s all.
Let’s say Aux One is about to schedule and post an image on social media. We use these 5 words as a filter. Is this photo cutting edge? Or, does the photo embody a “search for better.” Is this photo whole and youthful? Is it in-tune with culture or is it relevant? Is it influential? Is it simple?
Chances are if the photo works for 4 out of 5, we will definitely post it. If it makes it with 3 out of 5 or even 2, we might think about a different approach like adding text or a filter. If it’s 1 out of 5, we don’t use it at all.
Are you tracking with me still? A great real world example is Starbucks. Go in any Starbucks store and see if you can guess their Power Five. I would wager that one is “human,” as in hand-crafted, and another is “experience.”
Admittedly, this section is a little more abstract, but it simply does not accomplish the same things as the other sections. Really using and testing the Power Five system will keep every employ in the same frame of mind and using the same filter for every company project that comes their way.
So those are the core communication elements for your business. These 5 things must come first before any strategy implementation and execution can begin. Good luck, and let us know if you need any help!