The other day I was walking through reams of notebook paper stacked in the shopping aisles and it made me remember back to my own “back to school days”…
Picking out your lunch box…getting a fresh box of crayons… and buying new school clothes…
One of the things I remember is that we would always spend the first few weeks of school reviewing what we had learned the year before… especially in subjects like math and foreign language.
Teachers understood that it was important to make sure you completely understood the concepts before moving on. Otherwise you would not only have a harder time succeeding, but be more likely to fail.
That’s something that is important in business too—especially when it comes to marketing.
Because if you haven’t got the fundamentals down (things like creating a strong unique selling proposition (USP) and properly identifying your target market before picking out the media you’ll use) , your marketing is destined to fail.
Many business owners don’t understand this fully. Of course it’s not always their fault.
They are often in reactive mode, trying to determine how to best steer through all the information they have access to.
For instance, often a sales person from a newspaper, radio or TV station or other advertising medium is there telling you that your product or service is the perfect fit for their publication, program or whatever it is they are selling.
Under pressure to stimulate some business, many business owners jump ahead and follow the advice of these sales people because they are in a hurry to get the word out about their product or service.
Another tempting distraction is to jump ahead to the hot new marketing trend that “everyone” is using and maybe even having success with, without first evaluating if it makes sense for their business…
However, if you haven’t laid down a solid foundation for your business or are missing a piece of that foundation because you don’t quite understand what is needed or how to create it, you will struggle—and possibly even fail.
In Magnetic Marketing, Dan Kennedy tells the story of how Domino’s Pizza turned around from a flailing business to a worldwide success story by developing their USP. Quite literally their USP, “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed” was worth millions.
Developing a clear, strong and compelling USP that is concise, differentiates you and is easy to understand is a crucial first step.
But here’s the thing, some businesses think they have a USP, but what they really have is a catchy slogan.
They don’t quite understand the goal of a USP.
For example, Diesel Jeans uses “Be Stupid”. It’s concise, it’s clear and it’s catchy. But I wouldn’t define that as compelling. It differentiates, however is “be stupid” something that is a benefit to the customer?
The result is a confusing message, one that isn’t really unique or one that doesn’t offer a clear benefit to the user.
How do you know if your USP needs help? Here are some signs that you might need to work on your USP.
1) Your business is often commoditized.
2) You find yourself constantly competing on price.
3) Your employees or customers can’t easily explain what you do.
4) You lack differentiation from your competitors.
5) There isn’t a reason to respond NOW.
When you are missing truly unique positioning, your business doesn’t have what it needs to stand out among competitors, making your prospects unsure of why they should buy from you. Or it puts too much focus on your product or service versus your customer’s needs, desires or interests.
Another area that often needs re-examining is identifying your “who” –in other words, your ideal customer or client.
In fact, a poorly written ad or sales letter making an offer that is perfectly and exactly matched to the needs, desires, interests, fears and problems of a targeted group of people can get great results…
Whereas a great sales letter, expertly written, making an offer to people with no interest in it, will more than likely fail.
Here are some clues that it’s possible you need help identifying your “who”:
1) You have a strong compelling offer and an atypically low response.
2) You have a very large list, but no one is buying what you are offering.
3) You’re spending a lot of money on advertising and getting your message out to the market, but aren’t making many sales.
Revisit your prospective customer list. Work on creating your IDEALLY matched prospective customers and clients who have a strong interest in what you offer and you will see a huge increase in your results.
Once you have a clear, compelling USP and have matched it to your ideal prospect, you’ll be on the right path to move forward and choose media that will be profitable for you.
NOTE: Are you ready to double your profits in the next 90 days? It’s back to school time so we want to remind you to review the building blocks of your business to ensure you have a solid foundation on which to grow your business.
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