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Throw someone three tennis balls at the same time, and you’ll be lucky if they catch one. Throw someone a single tennis ball, and it’s more than likely they’ll catch it.

The same principle applies to any marketing and advertising collateral, whether it’s direct mail, a web page or newsletter article. Without one single, compelling message, your objective will get lost. 

The professionals agree

The NSW government asked some of its agencies to provide best practice guidelines, and the issue of multiple messaging came through loud and clear. It’s widely accepted that one core message is the key to successful advertising. Yes, secondary messages are important but you need one clear thought that brings it all together. And this is what comes through first – in your heading, introduction and call to action.

You get back what you put in

As with so many things in life. Including your single-minded value proposition in a creative brief is the most important thing to do. If you find opinions are divided on what will work, test it. Google AdWords is a cost-effective way to quickly see what key message your target audience might respond to.

Take a minute before you go live

Before you hit send on the email, give yourself a minute to do a sanity check. Ask yourself:

  1. Does the headline tell the story? Or arouse curiosity?
  2. Have I shown I understand their problem/point of view?
  3. Have I clearly described my solution?
  4. Have I anticipated their doubts and overcome them?
  5. Have I told them exactly what I want them to do – and why it will benefit them?

Going through this checklist will quickly help you see if there are too many messages. If you’re trying to sell multiple things at once, consider breaking out some of the messages into a series of communications so that you can sell each solution effectively.

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