Without a doubt the question I get asked most from my community is ‘how do I make my business or website unique”. In marketing terms, this is known as the unique selling proposition, or USP. You may have also heard it expressed as your point of difference (POD).
It doesn’t matter what you call it, the point is, differentiating your business from others and defining your USP could be one of the most important decisions will need to make about your business.
Your unique selling proposition is what makes your business stand out. It’s what makes you different and earns you a special place in the minds of your potential customers.
Being clear on how your business stands out from the crowd, and is different from all the others in your industry, will allow you to create a continual flow of clients and customers who will become raving fans. And raving fans will happily promote your services to their friends and beyond, because they love what you do.
Without an effective USP you will continually struggle to attract lots of your ideal client and it will be even harder to get people to pay attention to what it is that you are saying.
If you consider this from your prospects point of view, there are so many options out there for them to do business. You have to answer their question, “why should I buy from you?” Or, “why should I read your blog, when there are millions of other blogs I could be reading?”
If you don’t give them a great reason why, your potential customers or readers will move on. It’s as simple as that.
Your USP can mean the difference between success and failure.
Different is Better Than Best
Chances are there are others in your industry that offer the same or similar types of services or products as you. This is a good thing, because it means that while there is competition, there are also grounds that your niche has sufficient demand for your business to have potential success.
The mistake people often make though is they think that having a great product or superb content is enough of a difference to make your business stand out. In most markets, this is not so. Having great products and content simply earns you the right to be in the industry.
As a newbie, or smaller business, it’s hard to compete on product or content quality alone. You want to aim to change the conversation instead to “Hey, look at me, I have great stuff too,” you want to confidently say, “Hey, I’m all about X, we do things differently. If you’re into X, we’re the only place you can get it.”
The secret is that you don’t want to necessarily be seen as being the best. Instead, you become the best at something no one else is doing in the same way as you.
That’s the power of a unique selling proposition. You want to be the best at something, but you can make it far easier if you define your competitors yourself.
Attracting more customers isn’t something you can simple work on occasionally. It’s something you focus on at every stage of your business, and your unique selling proposition is the first stage.
How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition
So, I hope that you have realized your USP is important, so the next question is “How do I find mine?”
Whether it is traffic to your website, or clients in your door, it all starts with your story. From where have you come to be at the point you are at now? Often it is because of some personal life experiences that you ended up doing what you are doing now. It might be a lifelong passion to help others in a certain area of expertise or learning as a result of your own learning. Perhaps you have developed an intense desire to help others as a result of people you know, or things you have a strong belief in. This leads in to how you care for your customers and carries on through to your content, products and relationships you create with your client community. Put this all together, and this becomes your promotion.
You can approach this in many different ways. Your USP might end up being a combination of things I have just listed. Be sure that there are no right or wrongs here. And depending on what business you’re in, even a small amount of differentiation could lead to a much greater shot at success.
Here are a few simple ways to differentiate your business. These aren’t the only ways, but it’s a starting point to get you thinking.
Most people are afraid of narrowing down their target market for fear of losing potential customers. But consider this. Let’s say you are a web designer and you become a web designer for electricians, or a plumber for high rise buildings, or write about online marketing strategies for nutritionist.
Take a look at this from the customers’ viewpoint. If you were a nutritionist and needed help with online marketing, wouldn’t you be inclined to choose the business that specializes in nutritionists?
The other benefit of specializing in a narrow market segment is that promotion becomes much easier. You know where to find nutritionists together at conferences and where they hang out online, so you know how to target them.
It is most likely that your personal story is how you develop your personality. If you are in small business then it can often be your personality alone that can make your business different. You will have different values, beliefs, use of the language than someone else. These things all go towards making your business unique from another.
By recognizing this and putting your personal stamp on many aspects of your business, there will be people that will resonate with your personality (there is only one you, after all). In this way alone, you create something that no one else can directly compete with.
Evaluate Your Strengths
Consider that the benefits of your product or service and decide what differentiates it from other solutions available to your clients. Is it the value your provide, your experience, your results, delivery speed and so on? Work on quantifying the differences as much as possible.
Analyse Your Market
Find out which benefits are most crucial to your target prospects. What benefits do they appreciate most and which do they actively look for?
I would love to know all about your business and whether you have discovered your USP. Leave me your comments here.
We all want to be seen and be known or heard about when we are in business. Whether it is online or offline, creating a buzz around your business is something that is essential and can boost profits enormously. But how does one go about creating a buzz? Let’s face it, just because you have created a you beaut website does not mean that traffic will instantly come your way. So, wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to go about creating the BUZZ that will instantly attract more clients?
Many of these same principles will apply whether you are offline or online. Some of the methods of attracting more clients to grow your business used to be things like placing your business information into publications such as the yellow pages or printed newspapers (remember those?). Whilst you will still find these things around, they seem to becoming a thing of the past. It is more common nowadays for people to be looking for more original or unique methods to create business buzz. You still see a lot of businesses offering discount coupons or loyalty cards, contests or giveaways as ways to attract more clients. This thought process can work just as effectively online as well, and with the considerable use of the internet, it is easier now than ever to reach more people than ever before with every marketing strategy you use.
Any savvy business owner must acknowledge the importance of having some sort of online presence. This could be as simple as a social media presence, a one page website or sales page. Whichever you decide, your online presence with increase the opportunity of you connecting with your ideal audience at some level. Fortunately, the availability of social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allow us to build relationships with individuals on a greater scale than if we were simply trying to share our business amongst our community. I challenge you to see whether or not you are using these networks as a no-cost method of growing your business.
It is this kind of sharing of information about your business that is one of the very first methods of creating the buzz that you are chasing for your business. This does not mean that you immediately add everyone that has every sent you an email to your list (in fact I get really annoyed at this). This would be spamming and nobody appreciates it. What these social media platforms do allow you to do though, it to offer yourself as being available for easy access to information. You can openly promote conferences, workshops, any competitions you may conduct in your business or discount periods that you have coming up.
If you are wanting to create business buzz, remember to consider your brand and what you stand for. Keep it consistent so that when people come in contact with your business, they don’t get a feeling of ‘disconnect’ depending on where they came across you. Most larger corporations have a logo, taglines etc, and even though you may be a smaller business, perhaps operating from home, this consistency is important in the buzz creation for any business. Online websites, business cards, brochures, advertising and face to face interaction will all leave a lasting impression. Yes, you want to be remembered, but in a good way.
So how will you create a buzz that will be essential for your business?
Remember these key points for creating business buzz and attracting more clients:
Recently speaking with clients, many of them are still concerned that they are unsure of exactly what their niche or target market is. During our conversations I explain the importance of identifying who your Ideal Client is instead. This truly is one of the very first, foundational things that you can do for your business to ensure your success. After all, your message will be quite different depending on who it is that you want to reach. If you don’t know precisely who you want to reach, your message can fall on many deaf ears.
I am sure you have heard of Target Markets
Recently my husband asked me to help him put together an advert for his property mentoring services. He told me (and I already know) that the market he wanted to reach was anyone from 18-70 years old.
My immediate comment to him is that both our son and my dad are in that target market. They couldn’t be more different: Our son is just starting out his career, my dad is in retirement; our son yet started a family, and dad is the father of four adult children; I could go on as I’m sure you can imagine.
But the thing that really stood out was this: neither our son or my dad listen to the same radio stations, read the same magazines, use the same language. So how was he supposed to reach them both with one advert? I’ll tell you how. By buying advertising in multiple magazines or radio stations – a strategy that absolutely cost more money and undoubtedly included a lot of waste “exposure.”
This is the reason you need to go deeper than just a Target Market.
I have always found it far more effective to choose “Ideal Clients” instead. Ideal clients are a smaller group within a wide target market. Within this smaller group you can start to take into account other characteristics such as age and gender, it takes it one step further and includes values, motivations, habits, likes & dislikes. It is a detailed description of all the things, tangible and not, that make up that person and influence their buying behaviors.
I Like To Go Even One Step Further
When I spend time with my clients in our coaching and training, I teach them to take that identification of their ideal client even one step further, and to actually create a ‘character’. This character is a fictional person that clearly represents your ideal client. I even get them to give this person a name, an address, a family if they have one. To describe a typical day, their fears, desires, challenges, friends, what they enjoy doing in their spare time. I even encourage them to create or find a picture that represents this person and put it up on your office wall.
Then, whenever you are doing any of your marketing, whether it be a sales call, a brochure, flyer or web page, make sure you are speaking directly to this ONE person.
And that is how you create a marketing message that resonates. Your ideal client will wonder how on earth you know what she is thinking. They will wonder how on earth you managed to get inside their head. And when your ideal clients feel you know them that well, they will also be more likely to feel like you can help them, and place their trust (and their money) with you for that help.
The Finishing Step – Create Your Character
The final step in this process is to combine your original target market, with the avatar of your ideal client.
If you are unsure what an Avatar is – it’s a personification of a familiar idea, a person who represents an abstract quality.
When you combine the essence of your Avatar – a personification of a specific person, with the concept of Target Market – those people you are “targeting” with your marketing message, you truly hit the ‘sweet spot’.
So I want to ask you, who are you marketing to?
1) A wide target market: in which case it’s most likely your message is not specific enough and loses it’s ability to truly resonate with them. If this is the case, you may not be getting the results you want
2) An ideal client: a detailed definition, sometimes still a “bullet point” list of characteristics of an unknown identity.
3) An Avatar: a character that represents your ideal client, in full living detail. Thoughts, feelings, actions and all.
If you want to improve the results you are getting in your business, my advice is that you will hugely benefit from getting more specific and focusing all your marketing to #3.
This post as always will have more impact if you share your perspective!
I’d love to know what your experience is and what you think. Please post a comment and share, and let’s start a conversation!
I think this avatar looks a bit like me don’t you?