There’s a saying that you’ll see often when it comes to marketing and sales best practices:  People buy from people, not from companies. You can have the best product in the industry, but if your customer service is lousy, or your salesperson rubs people the wrong way, you’re going to lose in the long run. Companies who show a consistent personality are the ones that resonate with prospects and clients. That personality is reflected in how you present your company overall in all your marketing efforts: print, social media, your website, etc. Your voice should be consistent across all marketing outlets. To do that, you need to decide what you want the voice of your company to be. Ask yourself:  what’s your marketing voice?

Brand voice matters

Content Marketing Institute says it best:  A brand voice isn’t about the creation of a non-human voice. It’s about being consistent with the voice you are creating – positioning yourself as an easily identified and authoritative source for your area of expertise. Similarly, a consistent brand voice and vocabulary is essential to implementing localized content and intelligent content strategies effectively. Could prospects recognize your content simply by the overall tone?  Take a look at your marketing efforts:  is your voice all over the place? Sometimes serious, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes controversial?  Take some time to decide what your consistent brand voice and vocabulary should be.

How to find your brand’s voice

microphone voiceThere are several articles out there regarding how to find your company’s voice. Overall, there are a few steps you can take to figure out what is the best representation of your brand and what will attract the kind of clients you want. First, take a look at your company culture. Even if you’re a company of one, believe it or not, you DO have a culture. What is it? Do you like to educate others? Are you active in volunteering or mentoring? What is your mission statement? Who ARE you? Jot down a few statements that describe who you are as a company and how you’d like others to perceive your company. Next, look at what your competitors or others in your industry are doing. You don’t want to copy them, but just peruse their content. What resonates with you?  What gets you interested in learning more?  Any content pieces or marketing campaigns that totally turned you off? Which ones and why? Now, look at the ones you liked. What traits and tones did they have in general?  Write down a few words that come to mind as you look at these campaign pieces. Do you think that tone would work well in your company?

You have to be you

Let’s say that the pieces you really liked were funny, maybe even a little sarcastic in nature. How does that foot to your company, your prospective clients, and you as an individual?  Do you like snark, or do you feel you need to “keep it professional”?  What feels right for you? The only way to be consistent with your brand and true to it’s personality is to be genuine. If you’re not a funny person by nature, don’t go out of your way to make your marketing messages hilarious; it’s not genuine and people will see right through it. On the other hand, if you tend to be more casual and direct, but try to make your marketing messages academic and formal, you’re in for a difficult road ahead. What are you comfortable with and how do you want people to perceive your company?

Don’t write off humor

Small business owners make the mistake of thinking that to succeed, they need to be all business all the time; keeping it professional and to the point. That’s not a bad thing but guess what? People like humor!  You can connect with them on an emotional level (if you’re genuine). Humor creates positive feelings and can drive a higher level of attention. If your marketing message is boring, it’s going to fail.Humor makes your brand likable, approachable and noticeable. If humor is second nature to you, but you’ve been keeping it out of your marketing messages, you may want to rethink your approach. Of course, keep the humor appropriate (your are a business after all) but being a bit funny is not a bad thing for businesses. Humor should fit your product’s or service’s personality.

Think about who you’re marketing to

Go back and look at your marketing strategy (if you have one, and you should!). Who is your ideal client? Picture that person and see how your voice would resonate with them. What would that person want from your brand? What do they care about?  How do they communicate?  Understanding your target audience and ideal client will help you decide on your marketing voice.

You’ll know when you have your true voice

If you’ve read all of this and tried all the tips and STILL can’t figure out your voice, don’t panic!  You’ll know when you have your genuine voice. If you’re a formal, academic person and you try to write humorous copy, you’ll really struggle and results will come up flat. If you’re funny and witty by nature, and you try to write formally, you’ll struggle. After awhile, you’ll KNOW what feels right and when you do, stick with it. Be consistent.

Understand your marketing voice and you’ll see success over time.

Patty Hughes
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