Lesson 1: Value Messaging & How to Differentiate Your Business
In our upcoming lessons, we’re going to be providing detailed, step-by-step blueprints showing you how to best position your business for success via online marketing. We’ll get into the nitty gritty regarding how to set up and run successful Facebook Ad campaigns, we’ll show you how to pursue worthwhile SEO initiatives and more – but first, we have to address this one question that could make or break everything you do for your business from here on out: why would a potential customer choose you over one of your competitors?
Having the ability to answer this question clearly and concisely is vital. While you may be obsessing over how to rank your business #1 on Google or how to get in front of the right audience online with information about your business, none of it will matter much if you can’t convince them to do business with you! Simply being seen or discovered isn’t enough.
So, how do you go about creating a clear answer to this question? There are many ways to do this, but here are a few ideas to get you started. Your value message could include one, or several of these.
Reputation & Reviews
We all like to say we have a great reputation and happy customers, but to truly stand out from the crowd you want to have tangible reference points to back this claim. Some examples:
- You have superior online reviews (Google, Yelp, etc.)
- You’ve won an award or awards for your industry, service, product, etc.
- You’ve been featured as an expert by trusted publications and trade organizations
- You have current customers/clients that add credibility to your brand
Visible and Viable
One other aspect to this form of differentiation is what I call being the “visible and viable” solution. For many things, people aren’t willing to put in a ton of time to research the absolute best option available – they simply want someone who can get the job done and do it right. Let’s say you are a local plumber, for example. If you’re able to rank your business well in Google search for your local area and you have good reviews associated with your business, you’ll attract new customers in many cases as the first “visible and viable” option for the customer.
This concept is what comes into play for most networking related opportunities. If people know you (you’re visible) and they trust that you’ll do the job properly (you’re viable), you have a good shot of earning someone’s business or referrals.
Phrases referencing your “great customer service” and claiming to have a “personalized approach” aren’t good enough. To differentiate based on service, you need more tangible claims like:
- Faster response time or delivery vs. competitors
- A unique process or approach that makes doing business with you easier or more convenient
- Greater accessibility for your customers/clients (such as a dedicated point of contact for customers when your competitors aren’t doing so)
This one is pretty simple. Pricing is one of the easiest, most straightforward ways to differentiate and win when it comes to marketing your business. If you can provide a similar product or service for a lower price, you’re giving yourself a leg up on the competition. This isn’t an option; however, for many businesses who are attempting to differentiate based on quality or service in most cases as those brands will likely carry a premium price point.
Have you demonstrated an ability to solve a difficult problem for previous customers? Case studies highlighting your results and the superiority of your work can be a great way to stand out from the pack. You also make it much easier for prospective customers to choose you if they can see you’ve already “done it before.”
If you’re a marketing company, for example, you can show that you’ve implemented campaigns that have increased business for clients. If you’re a mortgage company, you can highlight examples demonstrating that you obtained loans for clients and how you went about getting them the best rate. If you’re a pool builder, you can share examples where you overcame challenges with design, permitting and space to create beautiful new pools for your customers. If you are a plastic surgeon, you can share incredible before and afters of your work to increase confidence and trust among prospective patients.
Showing tangible examples of your work, especially if you are truly great at what you do, is an awesome way to differentiate your business.
A Truly Unique Approach (or Product)
While this is the primary route of differentiation for many of our most well-known household brands based on technology and innovation; for example, cell phone brands, appliance brands, automobiles, etc., it’s very difficult for most small and local businesses to provide an innovative solution to a problem.
If you can, though, this is one of the absolute best ways to differentiate because you’re essentially able to tell customers and clients that you don’t have any real direct competition with businesses who do what you do, the same way you do it!
Once you understand your value messaging and your position in the market, be sure to include that information front and center on your business website, advertising and marketing campaigns. This will help to clearly communicate to a potential customer why they should choose to do business with you! Also, keep in mind that different doesn’t necessarily mean better, and If your value message doesn’t actually resonate with the needs or wants of your customers, it won’t do you any good. You need a compelling value message that convinces a potential customer to choose you. If you can provide evidence that you have a better reputation via online reviews, but you charge twice as much for the product/service, you’ll probably struggle to convince and convert.