Crista Tharp leaning against a wall
Episode 090: How to Identify & Reach Your Ideal Clients: Marketing Consultation with Author Crista Tharp
May 2, 2023
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Episode 091: Marketing Guiding Statements (Part 4): How to Write Your One Liner
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May 8, 2023

How to Clarify Your Message Before Implementing Marketing Strategy

When seeking marketing advice for your small business, you’re probably told things like, “Reels are where it’s at. Just post a reel a day and your business will grow” or “If you just had an email list, you’d be all set.”

These tools are useful, but the fact of the matter is that all marketing tools and tactics are useless if you don’t know what to say to your prospective customers.

So, before you decide on which social media platforms you’re going to use, how much money you’re going to invest in Google ads, or other important marketing decisions—you need to define who your audience is and what they want, and then clarify your message.

Simply put, if you don’t put the work in to clarify your message—you won’t be able to effectively connect with your ideal customers and will waste a lot of time and money on marketing strategies that just don’t work.

Let’s break down how to communicate with your ideal clients in a way that actually drives business.


You must clarify your message before implementing any marketing strategy.

You can build a stunning website, post a reel a day, implement sales funnels, and do all of the marketing things you’re “supposed to do.” However, all of these efforts and tactics are a waste of time, money, and resources if your messaging isn’t clear.

Clear messaging—which is communication that your ideal customers can understand quickly and easily—is the key to successful marketing.

This is important because research shows that consumers don’t always buy the best products and services. They buy the ones they can understand the easiest.

In other words, you can have the most amazing widget in the world, but if you confuse potential customers by using industry language or talking over their heads, don’t tell them how your widget will make their life better, and jump in with a sales pitch—they are much less likely to buy your widget. They will simply look for something similar that they can understand more easily.

On the other hand, when you effectively clarify your marketing messaging, you will:

  • Serve potential customers well
  • Convert them into paying clients
  • Use your resources and valuable time wisely
  • Have a marketing strategy that actually works


people in office giving high fives


Story has always been the best way to keep people’s attention & to help them remember—so use it to your advantage.

The fact of the matter is we as humans love and remember stories. While very few of us can retain lists of facts and statistics, we are 22 times more likely to remember information when it is presented to us in a story-like framework.

As a small business owner, you can use this to your advantage to grow your business by simply creating clear marketing messaging that follows a story-based framework.

In the book, Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller (which we highly recommend reading), he outlines a seven-part story-based framework that guides you through the process of creating clear and compelling marketing and sales messaging.

Additionally, there are two VERY important things you need to remember when using story to clarify your message:

  • Your customer must be the hero of your story.
  • You’re the guide in your story.


Your ideal client must be the “hero” of your story.

As a small business leader, you work hard and you should be proud of your achievements. However, if you want to grow your business, you can’t go around telling potential customers how great our products, services, and accomplishments are.

Putting yourself and what you have to offer at the forefront of your marketing messaging makes you the “hero” of the story. And, when you only talk about your business, what you offer, and how you know what you’re doing, you come across as too authoritative and salesy. And, nobody likes that.

Instead, your customer needs to be the “hero” and you need to be the “guide” in your marketing and brand story in order for your strategy to actually work. As a “guide,” you will hold a more powerful position because the “hero” is the one who always needs help from a “guide” in order to solve his or her problems.

We’ll talk more about why it’s better to be the “guide” in your marketing story below, but for now, it’s important to understand that people make buying decisions first based on emotion and then on facts. As a result, your messaging needs to focus on meeting the needs of your customers (making them the “hero”)—not simply telling them what you want them to know. This helps to build trust.

And, once your ideal customers feel like they can trust you to help them solve their problem, they’ll want to learn more about your products and services and will be much more likely to take your advice and work with you.

man handing a woman a white shopping bag


You’re the “guide” in your own story.

Now, the fact that your customer needs to be the “hero” may be hard to hear, because we naturally want ourselves and our business to be one that saves the day. However, in reality, the “hero” is the one who always needs help completing their mission—and the “guide” is the one who is more wise, more powerful, and has all the answers.

The “guide” may not be the one to go on an epic adventure, but the guide does help the “hero” save the day by giving them a plan that the “hero” can use to reach success. As a result, if you want to grow your business, you want to humbly insert yourself as the “guide” who solely exists to help your customers solve their problem and find success.

When you position yourself as the guide, you’ll:

  • Show your ideal client that you understand them and are there to help them succeed.
  • Empower your ideal customer to solve his/her problem by giving them a plan of action (AKA using your service or product).
  • Convert more prospects into customers.


The key to successful marketing is using effective messaging, and when you know what to say and how to say it, your marketing will have the power to attract your best customers.

One of the most impactful things you’ll ever do for your small business is to clarify your message before implementing any marketing strategy.

If you find that this is exactly what you need to do, but feels a little overwhelming, that’s ok! Our StoryBrand Certified Guide can help you use story to your advantage and generate more leads by creating effective messaging that establishes your brand as a trusted partner and guides people to want to do business with you.

Be confident in your marketing strategy and learn how to clarify your messaging for small businesses.

See the growth you’ve been working so hard to achieve with our proven, four-step marketing system.

Treefrog Marketing is a marketing agency in Lafayette, Indiana focused on helping small businesses grow. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, digital marketing, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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