Very few businesses lack competition. For most, the products they sell and services they provide are available elsewhere. So, in marketing, it’s key to convince potential customers you are better than rivals.
Remember, prospects want to know, “What’s in it for me?” and they continually ask themselves, “Why should buy I from you instead of from someone else?” You should be asking yourself the same questions. Once you have a convincing answer, you can direct your online marketing to persuade others. The answer to these questions is what’s known in marketing as your value proposition or unique selling proposition and every business needs one in order to efficiently direct their marketing.
Chances are, if you have a profitable local business, then you already have at least one good value proposition or you wouldn’t have very many customers. However, you may not be defining it clearly or communicating it well to others. So, stop and think about why the customers you have now buy from you and use this message in your marketing.
People purchase services and products because they have a need to fulfill or a problem to solve. For example, they may want to propose marriage and need an engagement ring that will make their partner ecstatic and fit within their budget. Their car may be broken down on the side of the road and they need to first, get it moved, and then get it repaired. They may be bored and in need of entertainment. They may have sore muscles and need a massage, or they may have a craving for sushi.
Can you see how this is always all about them and not about you? No matter how nice a person you are, how good you are at what you do, or how much you need the business, it’s still not about you. Therefore, your value proposition must address the customer’s needs and how you can fulfill them. In other words, “How can you help?” When you answer this, you’ve often created a clear and concise statement of your value to potential buyers.
Once you identify your value proposition, you must effectively convey it to prospective customers. On your Web site, it is sometimes best to express different “Why you should buy from me” ideas on different areas of the site, depending upon what you are trying to sell. A physical therapist’s site, for example, may have a page or section about treating work injuries. The message for that area might be, “When you need to get back to work fast, call me for a same day appointment.” Once a prospective client has read that line, she may not be satisfied with any competitor who will not see them that day.
Another area of that same Web site may be about sports injuries. For those clients, the deal closer may be, “Get back on your skis this season with our convenient stretching and strengthening clinics.” You can bet that a skier who sees that will be asking other therapists if they can get them out on the snow again quickly. Again, think about what buyers need most from you and then clearly tell them how you can help.
Testimonials are a great way to build trust that you are able to deliver on your claims. Use these on your Web pages, whenever possible, to increase your credibility. Employ testimonials that reinforce the message of individual pages for the most impact.
Some common pitfalls to avoid are:
- Making claims that are not true. It’s not enough to want to be able to solve a problem for a customer. If you say you can do it, you’d better be able to deliver on that promise the vast majority of the time.
- Basing your value proposition on excellent customer service. It goes without saying that companies are expected to give great service. If this is all a prospect thinks you have to offer, it is likely not enough to get them to buy from you.
- Basing your message on having the lowest prices. This is a losing strategy — all you can do is keep lowering your prices./li>
A strong value proposition will help you stand out from the rest of the herd. The more competition you have, the more critical this is to your success. By thinking of your customers’ needs first and communicating to them how you can help to solve their problems, you’ll gain a loyal clientele that will spread the good word about your business.
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