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Better Done Than Perfect · Season 8 · Episode 8

Hybrid Messaging Approach with Carolyn Beaudoin

You'll learn about their Hybrid One Reader approach, tips for structuring your homepage and dedicated solution pages, how to use customer call recordings as copywriting material, and more.

Carolyn Beaudoin

How do you develop your messaging to serve multiple segments at once? In this episode, we talk to Carolyn Beaudoin, co-founder of Boxcar Agency. You'll learn about their Hybrid One Reader approach, tips for structuring your homepage and dedicated solution pages, how to use customer call recordings as copywriting material, and more.

Key Learnings 💡

A classically trained opera singer, Carolyn did her graduate and postgraduate studies in classical music. To support herself in graduate school, she freelanced as a copywriter. She did a quick stint in the music industry after graduation but her freelance work became a constant.

After exiting the music industry, she decided to go into freelancing full time. She then became an in-house team member at an agency, and eventually joined Copyhackers where she was able to work with the original conversion copywriter, Joanna Wiebe.

The founding of Boxcar Agency

Carolyn then founded Boxcar Agency with her former Copyhackers colleague, Rashi Mira:

"It seemed like a bit of a bizarre leap. What do classical musicians, copywriters, messaging strategists, or even marketers have in common with one another?

But in both cases, these paths share this incredible focus on working with words, especially the words that ensure that the message you're trying to deliver is clear and compelling to the audience. It helps them feel emotions and connect with the person or brand that's delivering the message. With marketing and copywriting, you take a step further. We can prompt the reader to take action as a result of those emotions."

Aside from the commonalities in their paths, Carolyn and Rashi founded the agency because of their shared love of working with a variety of businesses:

"We love the agency format because it allows us to have this bigger and broader impact in the world by helping multiple businesses grow and get the best fit customers that turn into raving fans. It also lets us help them see and recognize that business in the marketplace for the incredible value they can provide to that customer."

Boxcar's philosophy on working with clients

"At the heart of a conversion, you need the messaging to be dialed in for the reader that you're trying to convert."

Carolyn and her team at Boxcar approach conversions from a messaging perspective by asking: what does the reader need to see, believe, feel, and understand in order to convert?

After understanding the answer to this question, they can then start planning and working on their client's marketing assets.

The Hybrid One Reader approach

The Hybrid One Reader approach is Boxcar's technique for combining multiple personas or jobs to be done (JTBD) in a single messaging situation like a homepage.

The origin story of the framework

"Lots of people say that the homepage is like an airport: you're trying to get people to where they need to go on your website. While it's a great analogy, it still doesn't tell you how to approach the messaging on your website."

Boxcar came up with the technique because they encountered the same problem over and over whenever they were working on a homepage for a client.

"So we kept bumping into this challenge: how do you write for a page where you have to solve for multiple readers, sitting in multiple segments, in multiple stages of awareness? How do you solve that in messaging? They frankly need different messages because they are in different stages in the buying journey, and different aspects of your messaging will speak to them.

But you can't just throw everything into your homepage and hope it's going to work. You still need to have a cohesive page that makes sense and provides a compelling argument on the page. This problem led to the creation of the Hybrid One Reader approach."

View JTBD segments in a Venn diagram

In the Hybrid One approach, each JTBD-defined segment is viewed as an individual circle in the Venn diagram:

"The commonalities (found in the overlapping space in the middle) that exist between those maps for each JTBD segment, that is where your Hybrid One reader lives. The messages that are likely to speak to both or multiple audiences depends on how many segments you're looking at."

Alternatives to the Hybrid One Reader approach

Personalization tools

"If you have the resources to bring that into your tech stack, make sure that it's properly enhanced through add-ons to make sure that it's really working to the best that it can for your businesses."

Manual personalization

While you can't do that with the homepage, Carolyn advises to do it on your secondary segment-specific pages.

Segmentation should make a difference to the bottom line

Carolyn shares that most businesses have the challenge of resource constraints, so the approach you will take all comes down to how you're managing your resources:

"When segmentation gets mixed into the marketing ecosystem, it makes the ecosystem more complex. That's why during conversations with clients, we ask: does it make sense to introduce that complexity here? Because it's not a one-and-done thing. You have to plan, write, build, and maintain it. And that is its own beast.

Segmentation is a wonderful tool that should be used when you have a relatively high degree of confidence that's going to make an actual difference in your bottom line."

How to develop the messaging for your Hybrid One Reader

To describe their process, Carolyn uses a project management software tool as an example.

Step 1. Create your JTBD maps

The process starts with your JTBD maps and in order to create them, you need to conduct, gather, and analyze your research. For this approach, Carolyn says you're likely to use a mix of research methods and resources that include:

  • JTDB interviews
  • Surveys
  • Chat transcripts
  • Sales recordings
  • Reviews
  • Onboarding calls

She shares that these methods and resources should ideally give you clarity about the buying journey–from first touch, first use, to ongoing use. This will then give you a data set of at least two to three different methods.

"Ideally, that JTBD interview is a core piece of this. It's very difficult to do this work without interviews because it's a very specific way of interviewing a customer."

After gathering all the data, you then triangulate it to reduce the bias in the mapping. When the data gathering and analyses are done, you then document your JTBDs.

These maps should tell you the JTBD-specific information such as:

  • The success criteria
  • How progress is evaluated
  • What drives the lead to find a new solution to consider switching
  • What worries the lead as they move through that buying journey
  • What is particularly magnetic about the solution

Step 2. Create your Hybrid One Reader map

In our example, let's say that you found two core JTBDs:

  • Job 1: improve visibility into what my direct reports are working on
  • Job 2: improve my ability to operationalize how we execute our projects

This step involves taking the JTBD maps and comparing and contrasting them so you can find the shared attributes.

"I like to do this on a split screen. I look at them and take my digital highlighter through and see the commonalities."

After understanding where the shared attributes live, you create a new map which is specific to the Hybrid One Reader. At this point of the process in our example, we now have three maps:

  1. JTBD map for improving visibility
  2. JTBD map for improving the ability to operationalize and execute
  3. Hybrid One Reader map

Carolyn says depending on your approach, these documents will help you do the next step forward:

"If you are segmenting, go ahead and grab those individual job maps. If you are using a Hybrid One Reader approach, grab the Hybrid One Reader map."

Step 3. Creating the messaging for your Hybrid One Reader

Let's say that in finding our Hybrid One Reader, we notice that both of these segments share an emotional desired outcome: both buyers want to feel confident that the right tasks are being worked on at the right time.

We can use this to create the hero headline of the homepage:

"Knowing that we have this shared emotional desired outcome, we might then use that insight to inform the heart of the headline.

So we have this 'right tasks at the right time' angle that can then be developed into copy. We have to figure out what we're going to say (our messaging approach) before we figure out how we're going to say it (our copy) and bring it to life on the page."

Carolyn says that in a crowded market category, you also want to mix in a differentiated value by answering the question: how can you do it better than your competitive alternative approaches?

In the case of our project management tool example, you have to think about:

  • Alternative project management software
  • Other ways the lead can get the job done: spreadsheets, SOPs in their Google Drive

With this approach, Carolyn and her team found the perfect balance in creating messaging:

"Our experience with this approach is that it strikes a balance because the core of JTBD is it prioritizes the 'what's in it for me' from the reader's perspective. From the messaging perspective, it really ensures that the messages on the page are focused on what that reader wants."

She further emphasizes that you should capitalize on the "what's in it for me" to stand out:

"Based on what I've seen in many markets, there's still a lot of untapped space and we should really capitalize on it. If all of your competitors are talking about their product and its capabilities, and it's totally devoid of value for the reader, that's an opportunity for you to stand out."

How to approach dedicated solution pages

Dedicated solution pages should speak to different situations. However, they might have the same assets and talk about the same features.

Carolyn says it's because of cases like these that you have to have your core assets in place first before introducing segmentation and building specific pages.

"In that scenario, we might have pages that are similar but not the same. That's when you pull out those JTBD maps and then think about things like the structure of the page.

For example, maybe it's the hiring criteria and the way we want to talk about the product has the same overall components in that area of the map but they're prioritized in a different way."

Aside from the structure, you can also differentiate the pages based on other key areas:

"Perhaps each of those segments has different emotional and social desired outcomes, or maybe different success criteria in the way they think about what progress looks like.

So we might keep the features and advantages similar then alter the benefit so that we're touching on the more specific outcomes that one segment wants over another, and dialing in the language in that way."

Using the Hybrid One Approach in email marketing

"There are certain areas of your email ecosystem where you might decide if it's an important automation to have from an experience perspective, but adding segmentation to the mix isn't necessarily going to move the needle in terms of the bottom line.

So it's a question of, should you prioritize resources against this with a certain level of confidence that's not going to move the bottom line?"

Carolyn generally advises not to do that and instead focus on something that helps you move the needle toward business growth.

For example, your project management software tool has a 14-day free trial, and it also has a newsletter opt-in area (but doesn't sign you up for the free trial).

"In this scenario, we might say that from an experience perspective, to help the new subscriber understand what this software offers and provide value there, we should have an automation after the newsletter signup event occurs.

But it might not make sense to segment that particular area of the funnel because it's higher up in the funnel. There are still a few steps that need to happen before they start their trial so we might take a Hybrid One Reader approach in that automation."

But for the readers who signed up for the trial, it makes better sense to segment them:

"We now have 14 days to convert them to a paid subscriber. When we think about moving business growth and driving revenue, that would be a more strategic area of that email ecosystem to segment."

By knowing your core jobs, you can then design specific messaging for each segment:

"We can design onboarding automations, messaging, and a journey for each segment so that they can reach that level of progress they're looking for and accomplish that with the tool in a very specific and guided way.

Because they're seeing that aha moment in the product and are being guided towards that very specific job that they're hiring your product to do, that should boost your conversions in that area of your sequence."

Get the most out of your call assets

Instead of letting them collect digital dust somewhere, make the most out of your recorded sales and onboarding calls for pulling out the voice of the customer data and developing JTBD maps.

Carolyn adds that listening to a sequence of recorded calls from a particular customer will help you see a clearer picture of what's going on throughout their journey:

"When you have a multi-touchpoint sales process, ideally, you have to follow each call along the way. When the client signs on, we also listen to the onboarding sequence.

This allows us to really see that buying journey from top to tail for that customer, and we get a clearer picture of what's going on at various stages in that timeline."

Final advice

Do layer in competitor messaging, competitor alternative approaches, and insights.

"The trap we see is that if you stop with JTBD insights, you risk putting a message out into the world that everyone else is saying in the same way.

Think about your JTBD insights but alongside that, think about those competitive alternative approaches so you can come up with a different way so your messaging stands out and is memorable."

Don't create your JTBD maps in a silo.

"Involve marketing, product, sales, customer success, and any other teams that work with your customers and your product."

Thanks for listening! If you found the episode useful, please spread the word on Twitter mentioning @userlist, or leave us a review on iTunes.

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