Your customers are exposed to over 5,000 messages every day. So how do you get through the clutter and make your business stand out – without doubling your marketing budget? The key is a strong USP or unique selling proposition. When you nail it, marketing is a lot more effective so you can spend less and get more.
The latest, innovative product or service – something that nobody else offers – is one way to create uniqueness. But it’s not the only way. Service delivery, processes, people, technology, performance and other factors can help your small business stand out in the crowd. If you do it consistently well and tell people over and over again.
Determine What Makes you Unique
The best way to discover your uniqueness is to look at your business from the outside. When working through this with my clients, we start by answering the following questions.
What do you actually sell? Think benefits, not features.
What are your core products or services? Think beyond highest sales volumes or those that are common for your type of business. Your products or services can differentiate you, so look at them closely.
Who are your key competitors? Based on the benefits you deliver, consider actual competitors who do the same thing AND those who potentially deliver the same benefits with different products or services. Since you compete for a share of the budget, this can be helpful.
What are the perceived standards in your industry and other industries? Consider customer service, technology, product quality, sales and marketing. Your customers’ expectations are built from experiences with a lot of industries – not just yours.
What are some ‘claims’ about your products, services or business that you take for granted – and assume customers know about? Coors built their USP around their cold brewing process. While not unique in the industry, Coors was the first to actually tell people about it. And they still benefit from that message today.
Narrow Your Options
As you go through the process of brainstorming and answering these questions, ideas will pop into your head. Write them down, no matter how silly they may appear at first glance. Use all the information to come up with a few options to consider.
Next do a little research with your customers. Bounce some options off them. Did they know this about you or your business? Do they care? Why or why not? What does this claim say about your products, service or overall business?
Find something you do so well that you can guarantee it, especially if your industry has a reputation for doing this poorly. Look for a process in your business that links your products or services to quality or performance or reduces risk.
Sometimes simple things, such as custom scheduling blocks to eliminate long wait times, can make you stand out. You only need ONE. Identify your claim to fame and make it the focal point in your communication to customers and prospects.