This marketing mistake is one you may be making with every advertising and marketing dollar you spend. Over the next couple of blog posts, I’m going to reveal, some simple but powerful exercises you can apply to correct this costly marketing mistake.
Also, for those of you who want to take corrective action, I will include a list of key questions to help you simplify the process. But first let me answer a question that’s probably on your mind right now:
So…What is this deadly marketing mistake?
The single biggest marketing mistake most entrepreneurs make is: “Not having a USP.”
What’s a USP? – It’s a Unique Selling Proposition – a simple but memorable statement of the benefits that differentiates you from your competition. Let’s face it; a large majority of entrepreneurs assume that copying their competitor’s ads will help them compete.
Even though imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, when it comes to marketing your business and beating your competition, it falls flat. Don’t fall into this trap. This is ineffective, costly and gives you and your business no competitive advantage in the marketplace whatsoever.
In 1961, Rosser Reeves wrote a book called “Reality in Advertising” that literally revolutionized the marketing industry. The book was so influential that it became a college textbook for marketing students.
In his book, Mr. Reeves announced the idea that every business, product, or service absolutely must have a “USP” or a “Unique Selling Proposition”. He maintained that focusing on the USP in every advertising and marketing effort was key to creating an effective and cohesive advertising and marketing campaign.
Your USP should be a compelling marketing message that dramatically sets you apart from your competitors and boldly broadcasts the unique benefits your products and services provide. It’s the number one benefit or total of all benefits that differentiates you and your business from all other similar local businesses in your market.
Simply put a USP is…A statement that is so strong, attractive and compelling that it motivates prospects to choose you over your competitors. Your USP should answer the following question:
“Why should I do business with your business rather than with your competitors?”
Why do you need a USP?
You need a USP because your potential prospects are getting hammered every day with hundreds of ads from your competitors! They all say the same things, on TV, radio, internet, direct mail, e-mail marketing, SMS, just to name a few.
These ads clutter the airwaves and have consumers’ heads spinning with everyone saying the same thing. No wonder prospective clients don’t know who to hire -‐ no one stands out!
How can a prospective client choose the business that’s right for them when they all look the same, sound the same and make all the same promises? The fact that the advertising space is cluttered with cookie cutter ads and the same messages over and over is actually a good thing for you. This gives you a golden opportunity to stand out from your competition.
How do you stand out? You get a USP. Now. Is it easy? Not necessarily, but with the right mindset and tools, you can create a USP for your business that will increase the return on your investment (ROI) from your advertising three to ten times what it presently yields.
You may already have one and just don’t know it. Think about it – is there a particular benefit that all other entrepreneurs in your market similarly, provide or offer? Sometimes because everyone else provides it or is doing it, no one bothers to promote it.
Why is that? Why would you not promote something that would cause a prospective client to hire you? So if everyone else does it, and no one is promoting it, you should be the first to shout it from the rooftops! If no one is talking about it, how do potential clients know you’re doing it? Let it set you apart. This is called creating a preemptive USP.
In other words, you are promoting the facts of what you do. And even though all the other entrepreneurs do the same thing, you will have given yourself a competitive advantage simply by stating it.
If you say it first, you’ll establish a preeminent market position and will be perceived as the market leader. Other business who try to follow suit and quickly claim the same thing will be considered “copycats” and “me too” business and will only end up advertising you.
What do your ads and marketing message say about you?
It’s important to take a look at what you have out there right now…
McGraw-Hill Publications ran a memorable ad many years ago, which was so good that I had to include it here for you. The advertisement below has a grumpy old man looking at you, squarely in the face, saying:
As the ad states, the moral of all this is that “Sales start before your salesman calls…” or in the case of your business, before you talk to the potential customer, client or patient.
Here’s the deal – clients do not care about you or your business. They don’t care how long you’ve been in business or how great you are. All they care about is themselves and the all-‐important questions – “What’s in it for me? How will I benefit from your services?”
As I mentioned earlier, to develop a powerful and effective USP, you must think like your target audience. What keeps them up at night? What is their big problem you can solve?
You must give prospects a compelling reason to choose you rather than some other business. The opportunity to start selling prospective clients on your business starts before you speak to them…the selling starts in your ads.
So, I’ll ask you again…what do your ads say about you? Do all the ads in your market seem the same? Who stands out? Do you? If not, you’ve got a problem.
There are three main ways to properly develop a USP for your business. If you take the time to work through the following three exercises, you will have the basics of a USP to polish and shine until it sparkles like a diamond and attracts all sorts of new clients.
By seeking to find your perfect USP and completing these exercises, you will have taken the proactive route. Creating a compelling USP is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business.
Don’t try to do these exercises in your head. It’s imperative that you get a pen and paper and write everything down! For the first exercise, it would be best if you could do it with a friend or a group of colleagues – when it comes to a USP, the more minds, the merrier!
You never know what a staff member, a friend or a family member may come up with. You may be too close to it to hone really in on what you need to say.
The second and third exercises require you to interact with and engage your clients. Who better to help you craft a USP than those who are intimately aware of you and your services and how they can benefit people? Why did they choose you? What were some of the fears they had about dealing with businesses like yours? How do they feel about your competitors’ ads? All of this information will be beneficial to the USP creation process.
But before you go there, let’s start with the first exercise….take out a pen and a notepad, close the door, turn off the TV, and get ready to work through these three exercises.
Holy smokes! Time has flown by on this post. I’ve still got a lot more to reveal about “how to create the perfect USP for your business.” We’ll finish up on the next post with specific exercises you can do to build as strong USP for your ideal prospects.