June 22, 2017

3 Simple Steps For Positioning Your Business To Succeed

Let’s take a look at one of the most overlooked and misunderstood marketing concepts. It’s a concept that is frequently dismissed because it is mentioned so often and has even reached buzzword status level.

The textbook phrase may be “Unique Selling Position” but I frequently refer to it as “Positioning Your Business to Succeed”.

The mere mention of Unique Selling Proposition, or USP for short, causes many marketers’ eyes to glaze over. So it’s really easy to say that you already know about USPs. If you’re like most marketers, then chances are, you’d be making a wrong assumption.

You see, I thought that way for many years myself too. It took me hearing about USPs from countless marketing experts before I finally “got it”. Worse, I had been making the same big mistakes for years before I realized it and started making some long overdue changes.

I was actually still working in the massage therapy industry then and had a private practice with only one massage therapist… me.

At the time, I was so worried about getting massage clients that I didn’t care what type of clients I was attracting. I was running my business from a SCARCITY mindset. That is, I was solely focused on making whatever money I could doing massage.

The problem is, when you market yourself as the solution for everyone, then you rarely attract everyone.

You frequently attract practically very little clients unless you’re selling your services at low cut-throat prices.

You see, the general public loves specialists. They are also frequently skeptical about how good a generalist might be.

In contrast, specialists are able to attract the right type of clients and they’re able to command higher fees.

Let’s take an example from professional baseball.

In baseball, there are two general types of pitchers: starters and relievers. But those are just general categories of pitchers.

We can actually break each general category of pitchers into a smaller group of specialized pitchers that command the big bucks.

There are starting pitchers… and then there are the staff aces. The aces command the top money because they frequently win the ballgames that they pitch in because they offer a specialized skill set that other starting pitchers do not have.

There are relief pitchers… and then there are the closers. Closers are specialists who protect their team’s lead near the end of the game so that their team wins a lot more games.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

Okay, back to business talk.

A Unique Selling Proposition is a powerfully simple statement that tells everyone what exactly you offer. It also tells everyone what you don’t offer — which is just as important.

Let’s take a classic USP statement. Can you name what business used to use this USP?


“Hot, fresh pizza delivered within 30 minutes or it’s free.”

If you answered Domino’s Pizza, you would be right. Domino’s Pizza is one of the largest pizza franchise chains in the United States.

What does Dominos’ say that they offer?

They tell everyone that they will deliver a hot pizza to their customers within a half hour.

What does Domino’s say that they don’t offer?

Well, they don’t say you are going to get a gourmet pizza. Or a pizza made with the finest and best ingredients found anywhere on the planet.

They don’t say that the driver who brings your pizza will be wearing a $2000 tuxedo and offer you complimentary champagne with your meal either.

Nope. They tell you that you’ll get a hot pizza quickly — guaranteed.

How did I apply the concept of USP to my massage business?

Let me share how I came up my original USP. I started by identifying my strengths at that time.

I have a two health degrees and am professionally licensed in both physical therapy and massage. I had naturally strong hands and enjoyed doing medical massage or deep tissue.

I didn’t call myself a massage therapist. I called myself a “Pain Relief Specialist”. I would mention my professional training and educational background.

The clients who wanted medical massage or deep tissue massage were attracted to my massage business. They didn’t care about the gender of their massage therapist — they wanted a therapist who would get them out of pain!

What about the types of clients I stopped attracting with my USP?

* The clients who wanted a female therapist.
* The prospects looking for a therapist who does light, relaxing massage which was not my specialty.
* The clients looking for someone who offered non-therapeutic massage stayed away… they weren’t looking for pain relief from their massage appointment.

I formed a specific sales message.
I used the same sales message whenever I went to networking events, my marketing, and my advertising efforts.

When I decided to hang my professional shingle as a copywriter in 2006, I created a USP for my business, starting with the domain name SuperbCopywriting.com

Notice what my domain name and business name offers: Superb copywriting, meaning what I write is aimed at being high-quality marketing. Marketing that is crafted to the best of my abilities on behalf of my clients.

Notice what my domain name and business name doesn’t offer:

It doesn’t say that I’m the cheapest copywriter around. It doesn’t say I’m the fastest copywriter around either. If you were to go to that website, you’ll also see there are some specific niches that I won’t write copy for either.

In other words, I’ve chosen to be a specialist – not a generalist style of copywriter and my track record reflects that wise decision.

Okay, enough about me… let’s talk about you.

How can you craft your own USP?

I’ve actually condensed the process into 3 concise steps for you. These steps will work for a product or service but for the sake of clarity, I’ll spell out the steps for a service business.

1. Identify your professional strengths.
2. Decide what type of clients you want to attract.
3. Tell those types of clients who you can help them.

Take your time to develop your own USP and go after the type of clients you want to attract. Your clients will thank you!

Comments

  1. Mike,

    Welcome Back! Great hearing from you. Your article was very timely and exactly what I needed to hear. I have a client who is a Cranio Sacral Therapist. I have struggled for years to help her get more clients. The problem has been, what type of keywords to use? Most people do not know what a Cranio Sacral Therapist is, therefore would never know to type in those keywords.

    Google Plus Local has very limited categories and none of them make sense for her. Google suggested putting her in Chiropractor, Osteopath, Physical Therapist, Pain Control Center, etc. None of these are very relevant.

    I love your suggestion for Pain Relief Specialist. I knew to focus on pain relief, but it is so closely associated with drugs, that I have avoided it. Who needs to attract a bunch of Oxycontin Drug Addicts looking for their next fix?

    Great article, Mike. I love hearing about your Massage Therapist days and how you made the transition to Copywriter.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Terry

    • Hi Terry,

      Good point about the difficulty finding the right category for your Cranio Sacral Therapist client. You remind me of the struggle many of the professional massage therapists in my area had with the Yellow Pages. At the time, the Yellow Pages had 2 categories: massage and massage therapy. Massage therapy was for the legit professionals and massage was were the places of ill repute and escort services frequently were listed for their secondary listing. The problem was Yellow Pages wanted every business listed in 2 categories so there wasn’t a suitable second category for massage therapists that didn’t include non-therapeutic massage. It took a few years but we eventually got the category names changed to therapeutic massage & non-therapeutic massage, along with a new category of myotherapy added.

      For your client’s needs, I suggest talking with some of their active clients. Find out in their words how they would describe the treatments they receive. It may turn up a golden nugget of a phrase that you can use for branding or positioning purposes.

      Hope that helps,

      Michael

      • Thanks, Mike. Great suggestion. It is always enlightening when you ask people what they typed into the search engines when they are looking for something. There’s always a surprise answer.

        Looking forward to your next post.

        Terry

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