If you're anything like me, this is the time when you reflect on how well your year has gone so far and how you can make the next one better. If you're not operating your business in a mode of continual improvement, your competition will quickly pass you by.
One of the most important part of this review process is to look at your unique value proposition. A unique value proposition answers the question "why should my target customer buy from me instead of choosing all the other options available to them, including doing nothing?"
This messaging should be consistent from your website to print collateral to the way you speak with potential buyers and customers. It should be used consistently across your organization - everyone should know it, from the receptionist to the CEO.
I'm in the process of doing this for my own business as well as two of my customers. I'm not going to delve deeply into the mechanics of how to develop your unique proposition, but I wanted to share some of the common mistakes I see. (If you'd like to talk about developing your UVP, schedule a free consultation here.)
1. Keep it simple!
Your unique value proposition should be able to pass two tests:
Someone should be able to go to your homepage and know what you do, how you do it, who you do it for and why you're different in 5 seconds or less.
You should be able to explain to your wife, grandmother, son, etc. what you do, how you do it, who you do it for and why you're different.
Clearly, your messaging has to be simple to pass those two tests. But it takes a lot of thought and talent to express complex thoughts like your unique value proposition simply. As Leonardo da Vinci said, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Don't try to be clever with your messaging, very few can pull that off and still effectively communicate the message. Strive for simplicity so that you don't create questions in the mind of your audience.
You can go deeper into how you do what you do in your blog and service pages on your site. Your UVP is a capsulized summary that everyone should be able to easily understand.
2. Get rid of the jargon!
I am working with a client to help him tighten up his messaging and build a content marketing strategy based on his core message. As part of the process, he shared with me the websites of several of his competitors.
The good news for him was that all of his competitors sounded exactly the same. They were innovative, results-driven and (fill in the overused jargon word of yur choice.) The problem is that everyone says they're innovative, it's not a differentiator to target buyers.
People have become immune to jargon. You can stand out from the crowd by not using it. Rather than tell them you're innovative, tell them you help clients reduce their IT spend by up to 35%. You'll have to back up that claim, but that's a lot more interesting to a potential buyer than describing yourself as innovative.
3. Don't try to be all things to all people
Don't be the jack of all trades, master of none. One of the key elements of your unique value proposition is the who - who you serve really well. A common mistake that many make is not to focus their positioning strategy on a niche because they feel that they will be foregoing other opportunities.
Actually the opposite is true. Customers want to work with businesses that know their business. Quite often, salespeople approach me and tell me all of the big name companies that they work with. I have a small business. Do you think the fact that you work with Oracle resonates with me?
If you go to our homepage, one of the first things you will see is the following:
We help professional service firms grow with inbound marketing delivered on the HubSpot technology platform
Hopefully, it's quickly apparent that we work with professional services firms and that we work with the HubSpot inbound marketing software. If you work for a professional services firm and you either use or are considering HubSpot, hopefully this will encourage you to delve a little deeper into our site and content. If you're an online retailer, you probably will come to the conclusion that we're not a good fit for you.
Both of these are good things! If you're an online retailer, we're not going to do a good job for you, even if we try and fake it (which we wouldn't.) But we're confident we can help professional service firms and know we can get results.
Don't forget the who in your messaging and it can't be everyone!
Tie your messaging to your customer's pain points
This should be obvious in your messaging and carry through to your content marketing. Being innovative doesn't speak to a pain; cutting IT costs does.
This can really be fleshed out in your content marketing. Most businesses have multiple pain points and your UVP will only hit them on the lowest common denominator. Blog posts that address customer pain points will resonate with customers and help you generate leads.
And guess what? The pain points will be searched for in Google by potential buyers, so creating this type of content will drive the right kind of traffic to your site.
The good news for professional services is that simple, compelling messaging will differentiate you from your competitors. Take a look at your competitors' websites. Can you tell what they do in five seconds based on the website? The answer is probably not. Interested in learning how you can improve your messaging? Schedule a free consultation with us.