Haul out that holly, people. It’s December. That means that whether you observe Christmas or not, you are inundated with incessant messages about giving. It’s everywhere you go. Even self-published authors will exploit December and its gift-giving emotional blackmail to move books. (Not that I would know anything about that.)
Yet the giving of gifts is not unique to December alone, thankfully. Whether literal or figurative, we should give all year round. And so should your message.
When composing your message, whether it’s to sell actual merch, ask for a donation, or explain your point-of-view, it must give too. All too often, we forget that our audiences are subconsciously asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” as they consume the messages we so diligently and strategically compose. If we, in turn, do not ask the question, “What’s in it for them?” we’re missing important opportunities to establish, strengthen, or protect our most important relationships.
Yes, our messages serve explicit purposes and calls to action or are essential. All too often, however, I’ve seen organizations focus on their own needs and their needs alone. The outline of those messages tends to be:
- The ask
- The features
- The benefits\
- The urgency
- The ask again
That, however, is not enough. There has to be a gift in your message. In other words, what’s in it for them?
Finding the answer to that question requires:
- Knowing your audience—a goal most efficiently and accurately achieved through market research;
- Understanding the difference between their wants and needs (I need a car to get to work. I want a Mercedes to make my mother proud. and which one has the biggest impact;
- Considering how you meet both those wants and needs; and
- Finding the best way to articulate both in a balanced and compelling way.
Said another way, we have to give our readers an emotional reason to do our bidding, not just an analytical one. Help them feel something when they give, buy, or agree. For example, check out this before and after:
We only do this ONCE a year!
TODAY ONLY, get a FREE <NAME REDACTED> with any order. You’ll get to pick your favorite from some of our most popular gift choices – including some brand-new options!
Your Annual Opportunity for Free!
TODAY ONLY, get a FREE <NAME REDACTED> with any order. Not only will you get to pick your favorite from some of our most popular gift choices—including some brand-new options—you’ll get the satisfaction that only comes from giving great gifts with ease and economy!
Granted, it’s a little longer, but more importantly, it’s not all about the vendor. It’s about the customer.
Whenever we have a message for others, It’s always better to give if we want to receive.