Simplify to Sell: The Essential Messaging Framework [+ FREE GUIDED TEMPLATE]

The Struggle with Messaging

Effective messaging can feel elusive to business owners in any industry. You're not alone if you've found yourself winging your marketing based on the latest trends, a recent inspiring talk you attended, or a hot take you heard on an industry leader’s podcast.

Here's the thing: while inspiration is valuable, your messaging needs more than just a spark. It needs structure, especially as your customer base grows and your website traffic increases. Take these as good signs you have something people want.

The degree to which interested prospects become customers hinges on how well you speak to their desires

Rather than starting from scratch every time, a messaging framework gives time-strapped business owners the playbook for what to say and how. Potential customers need to hear the same message multiple times. This is where a messaging framework shines by keeping your communication on the rails.

My messaging clients include B2B tech founders all the way to Pinterest marketing experts, and their struggle is the same.

“How do I articulate our value in the best way for our customers?”

A messaging framework gives business owners the answers to the test by:

  • Reinforcing a consistent message so customers can know, like, and trust you.
  • Providing a playbook for navigating high-stakes customer conversations.
  • Saving tons of time by not recreating the wheel every time you sit down to create content or prep for a sales call.
  • Giving you the confidence to show up and sell more. (THIS IS HUGE!)

In this article:

  • What is a messaging framework?
  • Why is a messaging framework with the effort?
  • What should you include in your messaging framework template?
  • The problem with most messaging framework templates (plus a free template download to get over this hurdle)
  • How to use your messaging framework template
  • How to test your messaging framework

What is a messaging framework?

A messaging framework is an A-to-B roadmap for your business communications. It’s a set of strategic messages designed to turn site visitors, prospects, and leads into paying customers. 

An effective messaging framework begins and ends with customer research. Talking to customers helps business owners understand their struggles, desires, and hesitations. Once you have your messaging in hand, it’s equally important to test it in the real world. Original conversion copywriter Joanna Wiebe sums it up best—”The first iteration is always the losing variation.” There’s no such thing as the perfect message, but testing your message gets you much closer.

Why is a messaging framework worth it?

A messaging framework is very much a “measure twice, cut once” gain. By dedicating a bit of time upfront to messaging, you and your team can make the most of every customer interaction while eliminating the mental burden of worrying about key points to make every time you talk to someone about your business.

Benefits of a messaging framework:

  • Inspires you & your team: Internal alignment helps build excitement within a team. This energy is palpable! (Especially in the era of social selling). There’s minimal hesitation on what to say or how to say it. Everyone knows what they’re about.
  • Highlights Differentiators: Knowing how to answer “What makes you different?” in a clear, succinct way is hard for most companies. Knowing your differentiators based on the competition is a huge advantage.
  • Boosts Customer Engagement: By speaking directly to the heart of your audience's needs and desires, they begin to trust you.
  • Streamlines Content Creation: A messaging framework acts as a north star for all your content, making it easier and faster to produce compelling, on-brand messages.
  • Enhances Conversion Rates: By speaking directly to your audience's pain points and aspirations, your messaging drives action, turning prospects into loyal customers.

What should you include in a messaging framework template?

There’s no such thing as a universally correct messaging framework because every business has a different go-to-market strategy, audience, and offer. 

That said, there are core elements every messaging framework should cover regardless of your product, service, and industry. Focus on only these, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

1. Target Audience

Why It's Important: Knowing your target audience inside and out ensures your messaging hits home. It's about speaking directly to their pains, desires, and language, making your communication relevant and compelling.

How to do it:

  • Message Mining: Dive into places where your audience expresses themselves—social media, forums, and review sites. Look for recurring language and themes. (Reddit, Capterra, G2, Google Reviews)
  • Surveys and Interviews: Ask your audience about their challenges, preferences, and experiences. Use open-ended questions to gather nuanced insights. (Typeform is a great paid option. Or you can use Google Forms for free.)
  • Segmentation: You may need to break down your audience into smaller groups based on specific characteristics or needs. 

Image of target audience template available in free messaging template download

2. Competition

Why It's Important: Understanding your competition helps you find your unique space in the market. It's about identifying gaps in their messaging that you can fill and seizing opportunities to differentiate your brand.

How to do it:

  • Market Analysis: Research your competitors' messaging, branding, and customer reviews. Identify common themes and areas where they fall short. What promises do they make? Track their value props in a spreadsheet. Trust me—it’s much easier to see patterns when the messages are in one place.
  • Unique Angles: Based on your analysis, define how your brand can stand out. What can you offer that others don't?

3. Positioning

Why It's Important: Positioning expert April Dunford defines positioning as “how your product is a leader at delivering something that a well-defined set of customers cares a lot about.”

The prerequisites for good positioning are:

  • Knowing the value you offer that no else does
  • Knowing who cares a lot about that value

How to do it:

  • Value Identification: List out the unique benefits and features of your service or product. What makes you different?
  • Audience Alignment: Ensure your positioning resonates with your target audience's needs and values.

4. Value Proposition

Why It's Important: Your value proposition is the core reason someone should choose you over competitors. It's a clear statement that explains how your product solves customers' problems or improves their situation.

How to do it:

  • Benefit Focus: Highlight the benefits and results of your offering, not just features.
  • Clarity and Conciseness: Craft a statement that is easy to understand and communicates your value quickly.
  • Feedback Loop: Test your value proposition with part of your target audience for clarity and impact.

For extra support creating your value prop, this blog from CXL is gold.

Real-world value props for project management tools

  • ClickUp: “One app to replace them all”
  • “Project portfolio management that connects strategy to execution"
  • Slice: “Simplify your writing projects”

5. Messaging by Pain Point

Why It's Important: This ensures your messaging addresses the specific concerns and desires of your audience by providing reasons to believe in your solution.

How to do it:

  • Problem Identification: Define the top three to five problems your audience faces.
  • Benefits: Describes the benefit of what you offer as it relates to their problem
  • Value: Articulate why this particular benefit matters
  • Feature/Service: List the feature or service that makes this possible
  • Proof: Provide case studies or testimonials to support your claim

5x5 matrix template for customer pain, benefit, value, feature, and social proof

6. Differentiators

Why It's Important: Customers will inevitably ask, “How are you different from [your competitor]?” It's a tenuous moment—you want to be prepared. Identifying what makes your brand unique helps you stand out in a saturated market. It's about giving your audience a clear reason to choose you.

How to do it:

  • Unique Attributes: List what's unique about your approach, product, or service.
  • Market Relevance: Ensure these differentiators are actually important to your target audience.
  • Evidence and Examples: Support your differentiators with concrete evidence or examples.

7. Customer Hesitations

Why It's Important: Addressing potential hesitations or objections head-on reduces barriers to purchase, making it easier for customers to say yes. It’s not about convincing someone who’s not a good fit to make a purchase. You want to help prospects make an informed decision. This is better in the long-run for them and for you.

How to do it:

  • Observe Common Hesitations: Gather common objections or concerns from sales calls, customer feedback, and FAQs.
  • Craft Reassuring Messages: Develop responses that address these concerns directly and empathetically.
  • Integrate into Communications: Ensure these messages are visible in key decision-making touch points.

8. Strategic Narrative

Why It's Important: Human beings respond to storytelling. A strategic narrative brings your product or service to life. You can use a strategic narrative on the About page of your website, as the core narrative for your sales pitch, as an internal rallying cry for yourself or your team, and as a guidepost for important business decisions.

How to do it:

  • Define Your 'Why': Articulate the bigger purpose behind your brand.
  • Old way vs. new way: Does your product or service challenge the status quo, the way things are currently done? How?
  • Why now: Why is this important now? What’s at stake?
  • Villain: What keeps your customers from achieving what they want?
  • Dream state: What is your customer’s goal? What does this look/feel like for them?
  • Promise: What do you offer?
  • Superpower: What can only you do?
  • Proof: Provide evidence that you can deliver on your promise
An example of a fully written strategic narrative

9. Brand Voice

Why It's Important: Your brand voice reflects your brand's personality and values. It also builds a consistent and recognizable brand identity.

How to do it:

  • Consider your point of view: In your industry, what do you agree with? What do you feel needs to change? Why do you feel this way? Solidifying your point of view can reveal an authentic attitude and style.
  • Customer mindset: Think about the tone your customers would find most appealing when looking up a solution like yours.
  • Product: Is your product expensive or highly regulated? Establishing credibility and trust is key here.

Brand voice is sometimes treated as an afterthought to messaging. This creates an exciting opportunity for founders and solopreneurs who pay attention. Voice becomes a highly strategic asset when it's driven by your customers, product, and unique point of view.

The problem with most messaging framework templates [ except this one 👇]

Messaging framework templates provide a clean way to organize a finalized strategy. What they don’t do is tell you how to think through each component as you work through the document.

This messaging framework template includes helpful prompts from your personal ‘over-the-shoulder-strategist.’ (Hi!) 👋

These are the same questions I ask my 1:1 clients as we unpack their customer journey and bring it to life in messaging.


How to use your messaging framework template

Bring your messaging to life by crafting your:

Elevator Pitch

Why It's Important: Your elevator pitch describes what you do, who it's for, and how it helps in the time it takes to ride an elevator with someone. It's your first opportunity to make an impression on potential clients or partners. The elevator pitch should be clear, compelling, and memorable.

How to do it:

  • Start with Your Value Proposition: Begin by clearly stating the unique value your business provides. This should address the main problem you solve for your customers.
  • Incorporate Differentiators: Briefly mention what sets you apart from competitors. This could be your approach, your technology, or your customer service.
  • Use Your Brand Voice: Ensure the tone of your pitch matches your brand's personality. If your brand is friendly and approachable, your pitch should be too.
  • Practice & Refine: An effective elevator pitch should be short (around 30 seconds). Practice it until it feels natural and continue refining based on feedback and results.


Why It's Important: Your website is the heart of your digital presence and a primary tool for converting prospects into customers.

How to do it:

  • Homepage Clarity: Your homepage should immediately communicate your value proposition and what you offer. Use clear, jargon-free language that your audience understands. Include the problem/benefit/value messaging from your template.
  • Consistent Brand Voice: Ensure all website copy, from product descriptions to blog posts, aligns with your brand voice for a cohesive experience.
  • User Journey: Structure your website so it guides visitors naturally from introduction (homepage) to conversion (contact form, product page, or service sign-up). Each page should serve a purpose and lead the visitor closer to making a decision.
  • Visuals and Social Proof: Use images, infographics, and testimonials that support your messaging and demonstrate the value of your offerings.

Sales Pitch Deck

Why It's Important: A sales pitch deck is a key tool in converting prospects into customers, providing a visual and narrative structure to your sales conversations.

How to do it:

  • Align with Your Messaging Framework: Each slide should reflect an element of your messaging framework, from addressing customer problems to showcasing your solutions and differentiators.
  • Make it Clear and Concise: Avoid cluttering slides with too much text or complex graphics. Use bullet points, icons, and images to convey your points clearly.
  • Use Storytelling: Incorporate your strategic narrative by leading the prospect through a journey from the problem they face to the solution you offer.

Social Media

Why It's Important: Social media allows you to engage directly with your audience, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website. It's also where you can test out new messaging and talk

How to do it:

  • Content Calendar: Plan your posts in advance based on themes derived from your messaging framework. This ensures a consistent and strategic approach to content.
  • Engagement: Use your brand voice to engage with followers in a way that feels personal and authentic. Respond to comments, ask questions, and participate in conversations.
  • Visual Consistency: Use consistent visuals (colors, fonts, styles) that align with your brand identity to increase recognition and cohesion across platforms.
  • Value-Driven Content: Share content that provides value to your audience, whether it's educational, inspirational, or entertaining, but always tied back to your core messaging.

Content Marketing

Why It's Important: Content marketing helps establish your brand as a thought leader, improves SEO, and drives traffic to your website.

How to do it:

  • Content Strategy: Develop a strategy that aligns with your messaging framework, addressing your audience's needs and interests while highlighting your unique insights and solutions.
  • Content Types: If you have a small team (or no team!) focus on creating content for one channel where you know your audience spends time. Use customer pain points and hesitations as inspiration for topics.
  • SEO: Optimize your content for search engines to increase visibility. Use keywords naturally, write compelling meta descriptions, and structure content for readability.
  • Distribution: Share your content across your marketing channels, including email newsletters, social media, and your website, to reach a wider audience and drive traffic back to your site. This is the gold standard. When you're short on resources, focus on performing one marketing activity consistently.

By following these detailed steps, you can ensure that your messaging framework effectively informs all aspects of your communication strategy, from your elevator pitch to your content marketing efforts, creating a cohesive and compelling narrative that resonates with your target audience.

How to test your messaging framework

Testing your messaging framework doesn't have to be painful. At the very least, try out your value proposition on real people. Do their eyes glaze over, or do they lean in to learn more? Early on, this is research enough.

How to do it:

  • Customer Feedback: Directly ask your customers for feedback on your messaging. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or informal conversations.
  • Social Media: Testing your messaging on social media is awesome because you get immediate feedback without long-term risk like changing your web copy.
  • Sales Team Input: Your sales team is on the front lines with your customers. Gather their insights on what messages are hitting home and which aren't.
  • Analytics: Use website and social media analytics to track engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to gauge the effectiveness of your messaging.

Your path to clear, meaningful messaging

Creating a detailed messaging framework template is a grown-up step for any business owner serious about selling their stuff. By understanding your audience, differentiating from competitors, and clearly articulating your unique value, you'll attract more of the right customers.

Remember, your messaging framework is a living document. As your business grows and evolves, so should your messaging. Regularly revisit and revise your framework to ensure it remains relevant.

🪄 Over-the-shoulder-strategist 🪄

Get help from me in every section. I included helpful questions I use with clients to spark ideas and overcome blank template terror.


I'd love to hear from you!

Send me an email if you need help filling out your template. 💪

Or check out the messaging blog for more DIY messaging & voice content.

About the author

Annie Obergefell is a messaging & brand voice strategist, copywriter, and founder of Copy Salt. Specialties include messaging, marketing strategy, and brand voice development for clients, advertising agencies, and consultancies.

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