messaging strategy

5 Steps to a Stronger Messaging Strategy

Our clients are literally saving the world. They are delivering clean water where there isn’t any, combating online exploitation, saving the rainforests, and advocating for human rights. When it comes to digital marketing strategies, our job is to make sure the right people hear their messages the right way. An ideal digital strategy will span everything from lead generation to lead nurturing to lead conversions. Today, I’m focussing on the first part – lead generation – where a strong messaging strategy will make or break your success.

1. Know Your Audience

I’m not talking about “30-40 year old men with HHI of 100K+”. Go deeper. Where are they? Probably urban areas. What do they spend their disposable income on? Technology, clothes, entertainment – but what kind? Gadgets that sync devices, professional clothes, live entertainment. What industries do they work in? What is their family situation?

If you are talking to a single male in an urban area working in finance who is likely spending about $2,500 on housing a month, you can frame your message much more specifically.

Wouldn’t your message be different for this type of audience compared to married with kids male in suburban area working in technology spending about $3,500 on housing a month? It should be. At Media Cause, we are huge practitioners of persona marketing, which helps hone the emotional and tonal direction of our clients’ messaging strategies.

2. Define a Messaging Umbrella

You need a 5-word messaging umbrella that conveys your takeaway message. This should be geared specifically to your audience. It is not your corporate tagline; rather, it is a topical message that speaks directly to the actions you’re trying to drive. So, let’s pretend we’re working for a bank and want our customers to inquire about a savings plan.

We Help People Save Money.

Help = Assistance, Planning, Resources.

People = Define who these people are that you are helping.

Save = What are the emotional and tangible benefits of saving?

Money = How much are we talking about.

From each word, then, you have a way to nuance the message depending on which segment you’re speaking to. Notice each word’s nuance depends heavily on knowing your audience emotionally more than demographically.

3. Be Platform Specific

Make sure that your messaging is tailored to the platform you are speaking on.

Don’t let these be a surprise to you. Have the 5-word, 1-sentence, and 3-sentence versions of your message established before you start cranking out per platform.

Know what your hashtags are, have your visuals cut to spec beforehand, and create a story flow for each platform. Introduce your message high level (the 4 words), then zoom in on specific messages, then zoom back out to reinforce your overall value. This can be done in an email series, a week-long social campaign, and/or a month-long contest.

4. Test Things Out

Things should never be set in stone to the point where you can’t pivot and run with what’s tracking best. At Media Cause, we always test at least 3-5 messages with different corresponding visuals. Then, we’ll pair the highest-performing executions to match different visuals to copy points to find our winners. As a result, we’re able to drive ost per cliekc (CPC) down to pennies to get 6-figure traffic numbers for hundreds – not thousands, not tens of thousands – of dollars. Learn what your messaging winners are with one platform and use your learnings as applicable to others to make the most of your budget.

5. Write Down What You Learned

One of our favorite ways to keep tabs on how our ads are performing is to simply put every execution in a document and have a running tally of what adjustments we’ve made and the results we’ve seen. The clear losers get pushed to the bottom while the winners are heavily annotated with stats and theories on why we think they’re performing well (“engagement rate of younger men 2x that of older men”, “challenging tone appeals to ambitious ethos,” etc.). Hold on to this as part of your post-campaign wrap-up and keep applying those learnings.


Check out more examples of our messaging work for nonprofits, and contact us if you need help getting started.



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