Last week we introduced the idea behind our marketing framework: Good Foundations. It’s our belief that there are 6 characteristics that every service-based business needs to demonstrate to pass through the ‘vetting’ process that all buyers consciously or unconsciously run through as they evaluate whether or not to get into a pricing discussion with you.

The first of these characteristics, Clarity, is the subject of this weeks’ blog post.

If you’ve ever given up in exasperation as you worked your way through an unintelligible user manual, in badly translated Japanese, you know why Clarity is so important.

If you’ve ever visited a website with the intention of discovering how a supplier could help you, only to click away, baffled by jargon and unclear signposting, you’ll see why Clarity is vital.

If you’ve ever shaken hands with a very nice person at a networking event, asking: “What do you do for a living?”, only to be greeted with a waffley, incomprehensible response, you know exactly why Clarity is fundamental to finding and building relationships with potential clients.

All of these are examples of why ANY level of confusion will lead your prospect (or existing customer) to decide: no, it’s not for me. Why? We all have limits on the amounts of time and energy available to us. Expecting your prospects to waste these resources trying to figure out what you are saying to them is a mistake. They will give up and find someone easier to understand – even if they are providing a second-rate service. And, who can blame them, do you have time for that when you are working?

So, how can you get this Clarity? We know it’s not easy doing this for yourself. We find it hard achieving perfect Clarity in our own business, but, we love fixing it for others.

It boils down to two things:

1) Creating a messaging hierarchy that contains all the basic messages that you need to communicate to prospects. This is the basis of all of your marketing materials and you use it as a reference to draft new copy.

2) Using or being a good copywriter (here are some tips), and communicating in simple, straight-to-the-point terms.

Nail these and you will be golden.

Want to check your own Clarity level? Here’s The Marketing Architect Clarity Checklist. You should be able to answer yes to each of these. And, if you can’t, get to work on putting it right!

1) Do you have a set of marketing messages defined and written down as a reference document for your business, that everyone inside your business can stick to?

2) Are you using these messages as the basis for every piece of copy you are writing?

3) Do you have a simple and easy to understand ‘Elevator Pitch’ for your business?

4) Do you know who your target customer is, and can they self identify on the homepage of your website? (If not, use this to help)

5) Is there a clear pathway through your website that prospects can follow to find out more about you?

6) Do you have an easy to follow ‘sign-up’ process spelled out on your website? Your prospect wants to know: what happens next? Is it easy for them to find out?

7) Do you have a set of FAQs available for customers, so that they can quickly find the answers to any questions they might have? (See point 3 in this post)

8) Do you have terms & conditions available for your prospects to see, or some other kind of guide about working with your business so that prospects can find out what to expect?

Get all these right and you’ll get a gold star for ‘Clarity’. Next week we’ll be outlining the next characteristic in the series: Identity. Make sure you don’t miss it.