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Getting your business to stand out from the crowd
Written on the 26 June 2007 by Tracey Voyce
In the world of business, being unique is essential - if you're the same as everyone else, then why should a prospect choose you? Having a unique selling point (USP) is vital for your business and your website. Internet Marketing expert Tracey Voyce gives you some advice on maximising your uniqueness.
It is really common for a business owner to not know what makes their business unique. When asked to describe their business, they give a generic answer such as "we sell cars", or "we do your taxes", and while this is an accurate description of their business, they haven't done anything to differentiate themselves from their competitors or to make it easy for a potential client to select them.
This is why you need a USP - there are probably lots of businesses in the marketplace that have similar products or services as yours, so you have to know what makes yours better. Most businesses haven't identified their USP, but all businesses have a strength that other businesses don't have, and they just need a bit of help finding it.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you discover your USP:
If you were a customer, why would you come to your business?
What do your current customers rave about within your business?
What do you do better than your competitors?
What can you offer that your competitors can't?
Once you have decided on your USP, you need to explain it thoroughly. It is not enough to simply say what makes you unique - you need to define exactly what it is that you do better and then prove it, demonstrate it and display it. For example, if your USP is 'we have better service', you need to:
Define it - "we have a team of dedicated customer service officers, 24/7 customer support, and offer extensive value-added services"
Prove it - display testimonials or case studies from real life customers on your website that detail your excellent service and why it is so good
Demonstrate it - run hands-on workshops, information evenings or produce 'how to' guides to show your customers how you go the extra mile for them
Display it - promote your good service in all of your marketing activities so it becomes synonymous with your business
As I have mentioned, the importance of uniqueness also rings true with websites - it needs to reflect the USP of your business plus also create its own. Having a website that stands out from the crowd is often overlooked because many businesspeople think that just having a website is enough. But in today's business world, it isn't - there are billions of websites out there, so you need to do something to make yours unique.
Many of your prospective new customers will find out about your business through your website. This means that your site needs to be unique enough to capture their attention and guide them through to the action you want them to take (such as fill out a form, contact you, make a purchase on the site) because if it's not, the customers will simply leave your site and will probably end up buying from a competitor that has a more unique website.
Here are some great tips for making your site unique using a combination of website products and database marketing solutions (IntoResults):
Prove your USP:
Case studies - you can put together a collection of stories of how customers have used your products successfully and display them on your website. This then flows through to your services guiding prospects through the process.
Testimonials - gather statements from some of your best clients that describe their positive experience of working with you and have them running randomly throughout your website
Demonstrate your USP:
Event manager - display your upcoming workshops and events on your site (facilitating both the marketing, booking and registration process).
Tips - display helpful tips and hints randomly throughout your site.
Blog - publish on online journal of your business news and events on your website, and give visitors the opportunity to give feedback and make comments.
Articles - write articles on topics you are knowledgeable about and share them with your clients and prospects on your website.
Members directory - displaying and promoting clients and members own businesses.
Display your USP:
Professionally designed site that reflects your businesses brand and USP
Photo gallery - an interactive gallery where visitors can easily view pictures of your products, clients using your products etc.
Product catalogue - display your products, with detailed descriptions, on your website so visitors can see your entire product range.
Do something different on your site to draw attention and bring people back to your site regularly, such as forums, competitions, quizzes, polls and classifieds
Reinforce your USP:
Create an incentive to capture site visitors details and communicate with them regularly to build up your relationship and reinforce the strengths of your business (including USP)
Regularly communicate with your clients to reinforce your USP - so they clearly understand why they are a client of yours, encouraging them to buy more and guiding them in how they can rave about you to others
So my challenge to you is to spend some time today thinking about the USP of your company. Then evaluate your current website - does it reflect your USP and stand out amongst the many sites on the Internet in your market? These few minutes might just help you generate new leads, attract more customers and create revenue for your business.