As business owners, we all recognize the need for uniqueness, something that makes us stand out from the crowd so we don’t simply compete on price. While not always easy, it is important because your unique selling proposition dramatically improves your marketing results by accomplishing three things:
Unique – sets you apart from competition, makes you the logical choice
Selling – persuades someone to exchange money for your products or services
Proposition – offer or promise for acceptance by others
It should answer the question, Why customers choose us? When I ask this of business owners, they typically start listing things like great service, open good hours, a range of choices, quality people, etc. Then I hit them with the following: Is this list based on your beliefs or a real understanding of your customers?
So before you start brainstorming ideas for a better value proposition, do a little research.
Think Like Your Customers
Many small business owners assume their customers are just like them – with the same values, beliefs, needs, problems, and motivators. Even when it is obvious that your ideal customers are different. It’s easy to fall back into the trap and apply your own beliefs.
You need to know what they think and why, so ask! What makes them come back? Is it service, convenience or reliability to name a few. What is it about your service that they love? Is it friendliness, knowledge, or maybe your willingness to help. Now for the million dollar question: Why is this important to them?
What Motivates Customer Buying Decisions. One of the biggest myths is that customers buy based on needs alone. If this were true, why would people buy a Mercedes when a Hyundai would fill the same need for transportation?
People may have a need before they consider buying, but actual buying decisions are emotional, based on desires and other motivators. Image, safety, savings, convenience are just a few that drive people to open their wallets or sign on the dotted line. So what motivates your customers to go beyond consideration and actually buy? Get your arms around this and your messages will attract more customers to your business.
Weigh the Competition
What options do your customers have when it comes to buying the products and services you sell. Why do they choose you? Sounds simple, but the answer to this question may shed a lot of light on your business that you can capitalize on, in marketing, sales and service delivery.
Today customers have far more choice. Technology has removed geographic boundaries, developed new distribution channels, made customization (or the appearance of it) more accessible, and created leverage opportunities for many small businesses.
But if you want to capitalize on the opportunities and create a compelling reason to get customers flocking to you, start by improving your customer knowledge.
There are a variety of ways to get information about your customers. The most obvious and effective way is to ASK them. Depending on your business, you can do this with face-to-face interviews, phone discussions, online surveys or small, informal focus groups (aka lunch). When customers know you ‘get it’ and really understand them, they gladly reward you with more business.
Bring Your USP To Life
Figuring out what makes you distinctive or better is certainly important. But the real power of your USP comes from the positive emotions it can arouse. To do so, you need to bring it to life and make it memorable. In other words, how do you capture the emotional gratification promised by your products or services – in a short phrase or a few words.
Think tagline. A tagline, often used with your logo, is a word or phrase that identifies and explains a company’s benefit to the customer in a meaningful way. An effective one will have a personality all its own and connect with the customer in some sort of emotional way that makes it memorable.
- Keeping it short is a key – but here are a few other factors you should consider:
- Focus on the promise (result or benefit) not the feature or work you offer
- Keep it vague enough to leave room for imagination
- Convey a positive feeling
- Give it impact, emotion or passion
- Be consistent with your customers’ perception of your business – your strengths
- Avoid sounding like a commodity!
Now don’t get paralyzed as you work through this. Your USP may change over time as your business evolves and you gain an understanding of customer motivators. So what are you selling and how does your USP convey this?
More Ideas to Grow Your Business
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