How to Find a Likable Brand Voice that Resonates with Your Customers — a Quick Guide
As business owners, we want our customers to pay attention to us — to our businesses, our offers, our vision.
We want them to remember who we are.
To feel connected and invested in what we’re doing for them.
To understand and find meaning in our messages, and to take action on them.
We want them to care.
Because if customers don’t care… why would they convert?
But it’s getting harder and harder to earn the attention, trust, and business of our ideal customers. They get thousands and thousands of marketing signals thrown at them every day. Just getting noticed, let alone forming a lasting connection, feels like winning a lottery!
Unless, that is, we can find a way to stand out.
And luckily, it’s still very much doable — even with all that overwhelming noise.
Most companies competing for your customers’ attention sound exactly the same. They never bothered with developing a distinctive, memorable brand voice that compels people to stop and take notice.
But you will! Because in today’s article, I will show you how.
The 3 ingredients of a powerful brand voice
For starters, you may be wondering: what does it even mean to have an effective brand voice? Great question! In my experience, your brand voice needs to meet three criteria:
- Be memorable and distinctive, so you don’t just sound like your competitors
- Align with your target customers’ language and understanding of themselves
- Stay consistent with your company’s unique “personality” and values
That’s it! And really, it’s just two criteria, because if you put in the work to nail #2 and #3, you will inevitably craft a brand voice that’s uniquely yours — and no one else’s.
So that’s what I’ll focus on this week!
Read on, and I’ll share with you two strategies for developing a brand voice that makes you stand out from everyone else in your industry, builds authentic relationships with your ideal customers… and captures the essence of what makes your business awesome.
(And at the end, I will point you to a resource that just might help you create your most valuable business asset — a cohesive, conversion-boosting messaging strategy.)
Sound good? Then let’s get started…
Step 1. Research how your customers talk
Each group of people has their own distinctive language — specific words and phrases they use to describe themselves, their problems, goals, desires, and the world at large. For example, Fortune 500 CEOs talk differently than pro skateboarders, or vegan moms, or IT professionals.
Tapping into that language and using it to communicate with your target customers is the single most important thing you can do to make your marketing and sales more effective.
If you do it right, your target audience will:
- Instantly feel like you “get” them
- Easily understand what you’re trying to communicate
- Like you and trust you a whole lot more
And why wouldn’t they? You are speaking their language… literally!
Now, let me show you 3 strategies that you can use to find highly effective words and phrases that will resonate with your customers — deeply:
Comb through your customer communications. Every online interaction you have with your audience (social media posts, support emails, etc.) is a messaging goldmine. Use it!
I recommend that you go through all of your customer-facing communications and write down any specific word or turn of phrase your target customers use to describe themselves, their problems, their fears and objections, and their goals.
Interview your customers one on one. You can do it in person, over the phone, or on Zoom/Skype, whatever works for you. Keep it short — a 30-minute interview is more than enough!
Ask your customers about their current situation, their goals, how your product or service has impacted their life (in expected and unexpected ways), and carefully document what they tell you.
Pro tip: even if you use surveys and feedback forms, don’t neglect interviews. When you talk things out with customers in real time, they will give you tons of spontaneous insights and quotes that simply don’t show up in written answers!
Observe how your audience talks online. Reddit, Twitter, Facebook groups, Amazon reviews — there are plenty of places your customers go to ask for help, share experiences, or simply vent.
Once again, you want to listen to how they talk about their identity, problems, goals, and concerns. Now, these communications aren’t directed at your brand (just at other people) so don’t expect everything you find to be useful…
…but this kind of research is still worth doing. Why? Because this is where your customers are going to be more honest, direct, and unfiltered — online, with like-minded people. So you’ll be able to see snippets of language you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise!
There’s a marketing saying that goes, “The best marketing copy is sitting in your customer’s mind,” and it’s 100% true. Now you know exactly how to get those high-converting messages out of your audience’s heads and into your marketing!
Step 2. Build your brand vocabulary
Reflecting your customers’ language back at them is a highly effective strategy… but it won’t meet 100% of your messaging goals and objectives. You still need your own, independent vocabulary for communicating with customers — one that conveys exactly what you want to say and how.
To do this, start by defining these key components…
Your tone, or in other words — the mood or vibe you want to express when communicating your messages.
Usually the right tone of voice lies somewhere in that “sweet spot” between how you want your brand to be perceived, and how your customers expect to be talked to. There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe here: some audiences dig a formal tone of voice, others like a more laid-back and chill style, and still others are comfortable with off-the-wall goofy shenanigans.
A good way to zero in on your brand’s tone of voice is to forget the “formal vs. goofy” separation completely, and instead ask yourself: what kind of emotion do you want to convey to customers?
Try to come up with 3-5 adjectives that capture the mood you’re going for. For example:
- Uplifting. Fierce. Irreverent.
- Kind. Laid-back. Supportive.
- Inspiring. Energetic. Bold. Witty.
- Knowledgeable. Passionate. Geeky. Opinionated.
Words/phrases you want to use often. The words you use to describe your company, your team, your customers, your products and services, your mission etc. reveal a lot about your brand. Choose them carefully!
This is your chance to craft memorable, evocative messages that don’t go over your customers’ heads, but stick with them for the long haul. Don’t just default to whatever sounds respectable or universally accepted — come up with your own vocabulary that best aligns with your brand’s values and goals.
- How do you want to refer to your existing customers — individually and as a group? Customers/clients/buyers/students/patrons/members… or something else entirely? Do you want to give them a unique collective name to emphasize the community aspect of your brand?
- What do you call your employees? Are there any other stakeholders involved in your business (vendors, partners, affiliates etc.) that you can acknowledge and recognize with a distinctive name?
- How do you want to express your overall mission statement, or the results and outcomes created by your products and services? Try to avoid vague general words like “success” and really make them your own.
Words/phrases you will never use. On the flip side, there will be some words you want to avoid as much as possible. Why? Because they communicate the wrong idea to your customers, or because you don’t like them — or both!
For example, many brands avoid the words “cheap” or “free” to maintain a high perceived value of everything they offer… even if it is technically cheap or free! And here at The Draw Shop, we have a blanket ban on high-pressure, overly salesy language because:
- We don’t believe it’s effective, and
- It doesn’t align with our values
The things you choose not to say are just as important for developing your brand voice as the ones you shout from the rooftops. To craft memorable, persuasive messages, you need both!
Create a high-converting messaging strategy with our new guide
You’ve just learned about two essential “building blocks” of your brand voice: your customers’ problem language and your distinctive brand vocabulary. These alone will help you enhance your marketing and get great results.
But a memorable, engaging brand voice is just one component of your messaging and marketing — not the ultimate key to success.
If you really want to crack the code for creating content that sells, then your brand needs a complete messaging strategy.
A strategy that is:
- Fully integrated with your mission and business objectives
- 100% aligned with your ideal customer persona
- Laser-focused on driving engagement and conversions
…and codified into a playbook that anyone at your company can understand and implement.
For years, The Draw Shop’s internal messaging playbook has been our #1 secret weapon. We’ve been using it to establish an unforgettable brand presence and create revenue-producing content that attracts high-profile clients like Google, Twitter, Uber, the United Nations, Lockheed Martin, and dozens of others (yes, I’m name-dropping).
And now for the first time ever, we’re going to show you how to create one for your brand — in our new step-by-step guide, “The Messaging Playbook for Brand Success.”
Would you like to attract your ideal customers with ease, establish your brand as the preeminent authority in your industry, and explosively grow your revenue and profits? Then visit the link below and check out the guide my team has put together for you: