Startups are notorious for spending a ton of money on branding, and under-investing in their messaging.
As a result, they look great, but customers have no idea what they actually do.
Before you can begin to “market” your startup, you have to make it clear what category you exist within.
Categories are how customers make sense of what it is they’re looking at.
Since most startups don’t actually know what category they are in (or what category they need to create for themselves), they resort to other methods of attracting attention.
This is where they end up hiring a copywriter to come up with a sing-songy-slogan of sorts.
If customers don’t know what you do, they’re not just confused. They feel offended.
In fact, confusion is what leads to customers angrily leaving and possibly even talking poorly about their interaction with your company—however small.
These high-level messaging mistakes make their way into every single asset the startup publishes.
A poorly defined messaging strategy leads to poorly executed, noisy, and utterly ineffective marketing tactics.
But effective messaging isn’t just about the words themselves.
It’s also about the ways in which those messages are communicated.
The format is just as important.
Clarity is King.
Clarity forces a decision.
The customer is either In or Out.
The only way of achieving this level of clarity is by taking stances that attract one group of customers and repel other groups of customers.