Small businesses have a lot of marketing challenges, but one of the hardest things any small business owner needs to do is determine what makes their business stand out from the competition and present it in a way that attracts their ideal customers. Being able to differentiate your business by communicating what unique capabilities you have that your competition does not have is vital if you want to get ahead of the competition and attract your ideal client base.
When someone asks you what makes you different from your competition:
- Do you answer the question confidently, telling them why you are the best at solving their key challenge?
- Does your answer help your audience feel like you understand their needs?
- Do you clearly describe that special thing that makes you their ideal choice?
When you differentiate your business, you make it memorable and credible. It helps your prospects to quickly understand what you do and what sets you apart from your competitors.
The key to creating your unique selling proposition (USP) is understanding what your ideal client really wants and making sure you deliver it better than anyone else. This exercise is not always easy to do. It takes a lot of thought, brainstorming and sometimes some trial and error to see what works. Plus you may find what is unique for your business evolves as your business grows.
Take some time to think and come up with a list of things you do really well. Don’t underestimate anything because something that you do that is so simple may be just the key to you standing out above all others:
- What do your clients really appreciate about your service?
- Why are long term clients still with you?
- What was one of the best things a client ever said about how you conduct business?
The challenge for service businesses is to clearly identify what you do best in a way that is visible to your target. Consultants, accountants, coaches, designers, web developers and other service oriented businesses appear to all be the same: they offer the same services for about the same price. Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. One way to start is to analyse how other companies use their USPs to their advantage. This requires careful analysis of other companies’ ads and marketing messages. If you analyse what they say they sell, not just their product or service characteristics, you can learn a great deal about how companies distinguish themselves from competitors.
Know what motivates your customers’ behaviour and buying decisions. Effective marketing requires you to be an amateur psychologist. You need to know what drives and motivates customers.
Top ways to make your business stand out
Use the following ideas to help you determine that one unique, differentiating quality that only your business has:
- Narrow your target market – By specialising in a specific customer niche, you can focus on the skills or services that uniquely benefit that customer. Being the best to provide a solution to their unique situation enables you to maximize revenue and build stronger customer relationships.
- Focus on superior customer service – Aim to create the best experience for your customers. From your initial proposal to final delivery of your product or service, be sure your customers are treated as if they were the only one you have.
- Solve a problem – Find out what common problems your clients have and be the best at solving them.
- Be innovative – Continuously try to improve your customer facing processes to deliver better results to your target audience. If your services are the same as your competition, make the way you deliver them, work with the client or get to the solution better or faster than the competition can deliver.
- Create offers that are too hard to ignore – Be creative with your service packages and add so much value that it’s hard to say no. If you offer training, give people access to a free lesson, or a money back guarantee. If you have a membership site, offer a free trial for a month to try it out.
- Be known as the expert in your field – Build a reputation as the expert in your field through your blog posts, books, videos, training and other information products. People who truly have a problem to solve will want to work with the expert.
- Make it easy to do business with you – Work on your business model to make it easy as possible to work with you. Provide access to your services via social media, text or email. Do whatever it takes to make working with you easy and convenient.
- Create a unique business model based on your values – Be transparent to your customers about things you do and why.
What makes your business different?
With all the tools, gadgets and platforms, the trend is to spend a lot of time on marketing execution. But one thing we must not forget is that regardless of the channel of execution, you still need the basics of your marketing strategy in place or all of your efforts will be wasted.
Take the time to determine your strengths and communicate them to your target audience in a way that gets them to notice you above all else. Once you have defined and can demonstrate your unique difference, be sure to incorporate it into your messages everywhere.