Crafting Your Core Message

Posted by on Mar 09 2020

For some business owners, it’s a struggle to clearly explain what it is you do, especially if your business is unique or you are trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Often, we explain what we do, but not how it’ll benefit the person we’re talking to. We need a clear way of saying, “This is what I offer and this is how it will help you.”

Whether you are marketing service or products, classes or mastermind groups, you need to have a quick, precise way of explaining your offer.

Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo suggests three steps to map your message in 30 seconds or less:

1. Write a short headline with the one well-defined message you want to send to potential customers. What is the single-most important thing you want your audience to know about your product, service, brand or idea? What do you do and who do you help? If this is all the customer knows about you, does it give him or her a clear picture?

Hi, I’m Karyn. I’m a business-building consultant for micro entrepreneurs.

2. Expand on that message with three important benefits.

I help people expand their reach, increase their revenue and decrease overwhelm.

Put steps 1 and 2 together, and you have your 15-second commercial. If potential clients walk away from the conversation hearing only that, they have a good idea of what you do and how you might help them.

3. Support those points with additional benefits (or examples). Come up with three examples, stories or statistics that reinforce your statements.

I’m a business-building consultant for micro entrepreneurs. I help people expand their reach, increase their revenue and decrease overwhelm. I teach people how to get known in their market, package and price their offerings for maximum profit, and create cohesive action plans to get it all done efficiently.

Here’s another example:

Hi, I’m Joe. I facilitate a mastermind group for baby boomers who are getting ready to retire. Through brainstorming, support and accountability, we help you to find clarity on your goals, make the best decisions, and move forward. You will walk away knowing that the retirement you envision is not only possible, but that you’re designing and taking active steps every single day to making it a reality.

Use This for Networking and Marketing Launches

It’s easy to see how this would be useful in a networking situation where you have to quickly explain your business to someone when they asked the dreaded question, “So, what do you do?”

But you can also use this same exercise for all your marketing. You need to come up with your Core Message in these types of marketing situations:

  • When you’re describing your services on your website
  • When you’re writing an article or blog post
  • When you’re putting together a speech or a class
  • When you’re launching a new product
  • When you’re writing a proposal or white paper

Not comfortable with your writing skills? Use the same outline to create a vision board. Cut out pictures and words that explain your business, and arrange them in a map that helps bring clarity to your message.

Mapping your message, whether with words or pictures, will help you move beyond telling people what you do to clearly explaining what results your customer can expect.

Remember, when crafting your message, make sure it is short and clear, and that you can say it in 30 seconds or less. (If you can say it in 15 seconds or less, you win the prize!) Too much information could confuse the person you’re speaking with. This message will become your elevator speech at networking events, and your marketing message to potential customers. It’ll be the core message you use when launching a new product, service, class or mastermind group.


36 comments for now

36 Responses to “Crafting Your Core Message”

  1. Thanks for the simple method to put together your 30 second commercial. You are so right, it’s hard to describe what you do (especially as an entrepreneur when you do so many things!)

    Much appreciated Karen.

    28 May 2013 at 5:31 pm

  2. Karyn Greenstreet

    I like this method, Debby, because you can make three key points. So if you help in many ways, you can express the top 3.

    28 May 2013 at 5:39 pm

  3. Greg Morantz

    Very simple and easy. I rewrote mine in about 5 mins. Here it is:

    Hi, I’m Greg Morantz and I’m the President of Morantz Mortgage Finders. We help people find the right mortgage, at the right rate, and clear up the craziness of which paperwork you need. We’ve helped thousands of people through the maze of mortgages so they could sleep nights.

    What do you think, Karyn?

    28 May 2013 at 5:33 pm

  4. Karyn Greenstreet

    Hey, that’s great, Greg! Five minutes well spent. 🙂

    28 May 2013 at 5:42 pm

  5. Karyn – this was very useful and I too have just rewritten mine.
    Hi, I’m Caroline. With my sister Davina we show small business owners how to use graphics software to make their own images, even if they’re not artistic.

    We help business owners save time and reduce frustration in the learning process by using clear and simple instruction and help them increase their reach by having professional looking visual content.

    What I really found helpful was that you gave practical suggestions and people don’t always do that. Thanks.

    29 May 2013 at 6:55 am

  6. Karyn Greenstreet

    Boy, Caroline, you hit the nail right on the head. What business owner doesn’t want to save time, reduce frustration, look professional, and have it all explained simply? Bravo!

    29 May 2013 at 8:49 am

  7. Truthfully, after years of being in business, this is the best explanation and exercise I have seen for answering the often dreaded question of “what do you do?”.

    This has been particularly challenging for me because I am a systems and processes expert – it’s something everyone needs, but it’s not sexy like branding, marketing and social media.

    In 2 minutes, here is what I came up with so far – brackets allow for expanding my answer:

    “I am a business results expert and I help speakers make more money with less stress [by focusing on what they do best and automating or delegating the rest][so they have more time to enjoy their success]”

    Thanks for another great post.

    I will send my clients to this one for sure, so they can say something besides, “I am a speaker”. 🙂

    29 May 2013 at 7:18 am

  8. Karyn Greenstreet

    I like that, Linette. Instead of telling them what YOU do, you’re telling them what THEY will get. I love the title “business results expert”…it makes me want to ask you questions about how I can get results, too! 🙂

    29 May 2013 at 8:47 am

  9. I like the three step plan idea but am concerned about the language.

    Please tell me people don’t really use words like overwhelm as a noun or say envision when talking to people. What wrong with see or in this case want……

    29 May 2013 at 7:19 am

  10. Karyn Greenstreet

    Charlotte, I think the word “envision” is a great word. It’s more than just see or want, it’s imagining, visualizing.

    I tried to change the word “overwhelm” to “strain” but it doesn’t really convey the same meaning. My clients from America tell me they are “in overwhelm” all the time. (They use that exact phrase.) Perhaps it should be added to the Urban Dictionary? And when I put “in overwhelm” in a search engine, thousands of results come up. People are using it in everyday language now, at least here in the USA.

    I realize overwhelm is technically a verb, but in everyday conversation people are using it as a noun, a state of being. Burden, fatigue, stress, busy, exhaustion…these words don’t portray the business owner who simply has too much to do and too much to think about. I’d love a better word! 🙂

    29 May 2013 at 8:45 am

  11. This is one of the most simple and direct methods I’ve seen for describing this. Here’s my newly rewritten version using this model:

    “Hi, I’m Lori. I’m a career transformation coach for professionals who are suffering from career burnout. I help people embrace their unique strengths and skills and leverage them into a thriving and satisfying career that pays.”

    I am always so tempted to describe more, and use more words. But I see here the key in your model is to focus on the bottom line benefit – the real outcome that they get – not the details of how we get there.

    29 May 2013 at 10:59 am

  12. Karyn Greenstreet

    Exactly, Lori. People can’t focus on a 2- or 3-minute elevator speech. They can’t read a lot of text without first having the clarity (and motivation) that comes with seeing/hearing a core message and knowing how it will benefit them. Short and sweet wins!

    29 May 2013 at 11:53 am

  13. I LOVE the 15 second idea… Love it!

    Hi, I’m Debra Carr image coach, consultant and founder of Image for MEN. I assist men in polishing their business and personal Communication, Appearance, and Actions. After working together, they find they work, communicate, date and dress with confidence.

    I welcome your thoughts Karyn! What a great exercise with everyone to learn from!

    29 May 2013 at 4:15 pm

  14. Karyn Greenstreet

    This sounds great, Debra, but what does “Actions” mean? You might want to be more specific.

    I like the “after working together…” statement. If you’re actually saying this to an individual person, you might want to substitute “they” for “you” to make it more personal.

    29 May 2013 at 4:56 pm

  15. How is this, Karyn?

    Hi, I’m Dave Berman. I’m a hypnotherapist and life coach. I help people eliminate self-sabotage, become unstuck and live their dreams by lining up thoughts, feelings and actions. My clients [stop smoking, lose weight], and learn to use the mind/body connection intentionally to their benefit.

    Like Dr. Montae above, I used brackets to indicate where I might swap out examples depending who I’m speaking to.

    29 May 2013 at 4:30 pm

  16. Karyn Greenstreet

    You’re on target, Dave. This one phrase feels vague to me: “learn to use the mind/body connection intentionally to their benefit”

    What does that mean?

    Could you rephrase this and swap around that statement to read something like: My clients learn to use the mind/body connection intentionally to [stop smoking, lose weight, move forward on creating the life of their dreams, make important changes]?

    29 May 2013 at 4:59 pm

  17. Karyn:
    Great… and simple… process to help small business owners tell their stories in 500 words or less. Simplicity is key. As you mentioned, get the most important things out first, then if time permits, add more information. We’ve all been at tons of networking events where we are looking for an escape when someone who doesn’t realize what they do begins their life story… and never gets to the point.

    Reading your article made me realize that I should probably be creating these short ‘commercials’ for other areas in my business like speaking, training and maybe even top KPIs.


    Terri Maurer

    29 May 2013 at 5:40 pm

  18. Karyn Greenstreet

    Terri, I can see this exercise being used for all kinds of communication. Imagine any time you need to share an idea, or motivate someone, or teach a quick topic. Start with the core one-liner. Follow it up with 3 reasons or benefits, and finish out the “storyline” with supporting details. If you can keep the whole thing under 15 seconds, think of the impact you’ll have! (At least folks won’t have time to tune-out before you’re done speaking.)

    29 May 2013 at 8:19 pm

  19. Debra Austin

    Thank you for sharing a simple formula for crafting a great 30 second commercial and sharing some great examples.

    29 May 2013 at 10:31 pm

  20. Karyn…
    Thank you for your suggestions, and I’ll polish it further. I’m sure others will agree, we certainly have learned quite a bit from this!

    29 May 2013 at 10:56 pm

  21. Thanks for the feedback, Karyn. How is this now?

    Hi, I’m Dave Berman. I’m a hypnotherapist and life coach. I teach people to use the mind/body connection to get unstuck, eliminate self-sabotage and live the life of their dreams. With their thoughts, feelings and actions all lined up, my clients [stop smoking, lose weight, and get relief from chronic pain].

    30 May 2013 at 2:16 am

  22. Karyn Greenstreet

    Excellent, Dave. Do you feel that this is something you could say “off the cuff” when speaking with someone?

    30 May 2013 at 8:06 am

  23. Hi Karyn,

    I hope it’s not too late to squeeze in my core message. I needed help crafting my new marketing message as I wanted to incorporate the coaching part. I really appreciate your article and made sure I bookmarked it 🙂 Thanks Karyn! Here’s mine:

    “Hi, I’m Cherry Reyes and I’m a tech professional organizer specializing on information management for home-based small business owners. I help people become more efficient, gain financial clarity and stay success-driven. I provide specialized assistance with information technology, enable them to make smarter decisions with their finances through bookkeeping, and as their life coach, I help them stay focused and achieve their goals.”

    07 Jun 2013 at 1:03 am

  24. Karyn Greenstreet

    Hi, Cherry,

    Quick question: as a tech professional organizer, do you primarily help them to be more efficient by using technology wisely? I didn’t understand the tie-in between the “tech” and the other part of your message. 🙂


    07 Jun 2013 at 8:22 am

  25. Karyn, sorry I missed your second reply. Reflecting on your question, I think “live the life of their dreams” is a phrase that seems OK in writing but probably not verbally. I’d probably say something like “achieve big goals.”

    07 Jun 2013 at 6:16 pm

  26. Karyn Greenstreet

    How about “set and achieve big goals” Dave? Do they always have clarity on exactly what they want? 🙂

    07 Jun 2013 at 10:40 pm

  27. Hi Karyn, thank you so much for replying. I really need help on this one!

    I added the “tech” since most of the service I can provide has to do with technology when it comes to managing their client information, documents and finances (which may include scanning, paperless solutions, cloud storage, database and bookkeeping). I can help them to be more efficient by using better tools (other than Excel for instance). I can also help them manage their documents the traditional or “hybrid” way, but I didn’t know how to incorporate it with my message (since I added the “tech”). I wanted to add the coaching part to let people know that there is that beyond just the organizing.

    07 Jun 2013 at 9:35 pm

  28. Karyn Greenstreet

    Remember, Cherry, “coaching” and “organizing” is HOW you do it. Prospective clients don’t care about that when you first introduce yourself. They only care about what results THEY will get. Ask yourself: What outcomes will they get from working with me?

    07 Jun 2013 at 10:39 pm

  29. Thank you so much Karyn! I’ll reflect on it more 🙂

    08 Jun 2013 at 12:33 am

  30. This is challenging me (and fun at the same time), let me try one more time 😀

    Hi, I’m Cherry Reyes. I’m a professional organizer and a bookkeeper. I work with home-based small business owners. I can make your working environment a more peaceful place, help you find stuff faster and relieve you from the tedious task of tracking your finances. By creating a system that works for you, clutter can be eliminated much quicker, you’ll have a more efficient way to manage your documents and you wouldn’t have to stress over the shoebox of receipts for tax time.

    Thanks again Karyn! 😀

    10 Jun 2013 at 12:03 am

  31. Karyn Greenstreet

    That is SUPER, Cherry!

    10 Jun 2013 at 7:24 am

  32. Good tips. I’m going to try this.

    10 Jun 2013 at 10:27 am

  33. Karyn Greenstreet

    Go for it, Jeremy, it’ll be an eye-opener (and make all the networking and marketing super easy!)

    10 Jun 2013 at 11:25 am

  34. This is so awesome! You are instrumental to our success. Thanks a million 😀

    10 Jun 2013 at 1:04 pm

  35. Pierrette

    Hi Karyn,

    First, I want to say thank you for your post. I always appreciate your nuggets of information.

    Second, am kind of late on this assignment but, it’s better late than never.

    Here goes my 30 seconds intro:

    “Hi, I’m Pierrette, your Dream Builder Coach for those who “Dream New Beginnings”. I bring clarity into your dream, empower you to develop a plan while earning doing what you are passionate and design for. Pierrette your Dream Builder Coach”.

    I will welcome your input. Thanks

    12 Jun 2013 at 12:19 pm

  36. Karyn Greenstreet

    Hi, Pierrette,

    This looks good but I got confused in the part where you have “earning doing”…did you mean to put both those words next to each other?

    14 Jun 2013 at 7:15 am

Category: Marketing