Tag Archives: USP

What is it you’re really selling?

chain linkIt’s been said that in business, sales are King, but marketing is Queen, and she runs the show. Marketing is the engine behind your business, but also its weakest link. Before defining your niche, it’s helpful to create and implement a high level marketing plan containing the following:

  • The purpose of the plan (what you want out of it — more sales, more website visitors, more email leads, etc.)
  • Your main benefit to clients (more on this later)
  • Your target audience(s) — describe the ideal client very specifically
  • Your marketing budget, expressed as a percentage of gross sales, so it grows in step with your business’ growth

How to Define Your Niche
Your main benefit, or why a client does business with you, is critical to your success, so invest the time needed to carefully think about and answer these questions:

  • How do I solve a client’s problem, achieve their goals or satisfy wants?
  • What can I do to create desire for my service? Could be based around convenience, speed or a promotion.
  • Could I make my service solve multiple problems or achieve multiple goals for my clients?
  • What can I do to make it easier for clients to do business with me? For example, convenient hours, value pricing, excellent staff members, variety of services, speed of delivery, etc.

With your niche and plan in place, you’ll give clients a reason to hire you – and be foolish if they went with a competitor!

Photo credit by saavem.

3 Step Marketing Plan

When it comes to successful marketing, most consultants tell you to put it in writing. But who has time to write 20, 30, or more pages? Instead, try this simple, yet powerful, 3 step plan, which answers these questions about you and your business:

  • Who are you?
  • Who do you help, and why?
  • What should you spend?

Who are you?
market-shareEvery business has something that makes it unique, which becomes the basis for your unique selling proposition (“USP”). Most consultants will have you examine your business, looking for ideas, but that takes away time from earning money. Here’s a trick — instead of trying to figure it out yourself, simply survey your currents clients asking them why they bought from you. You’re bound to find some gems from which to build your USP on. Once you’ve got your USP, integrate it in all your marketing efforts. You’ve got to stand for something in today’s marketplace.

Who do you help?
Begin by crafting a service description similar to this: I help (people, business owners, etc.) who have this problem (legal issues, leaky pipes, etc.) in this location (Dallas, Orange County, Utah, etc.). Show them how you serve their needs and their needs alone. The most important element of your business is your service description — not your signs, storefronts or office space. Add demographic questions to your business survey, and find out where your clients live, work, play, eat, what kind of car they drive, musical tastes — anything and everything to help you uncover patterns, which you’ll then use to laser-focus your marketing. Why do you get up each morning to help your clients? The answer to “why” helps your clients connect to you emotionally, which is on a much deeper level than price. Get the advantage and answer why!

What should you spend?
Marketing budgets are easier to express as a percentage of sales, but take the extra time and figure exactly what you should spend to acquire a new client. Three to five percent of gross annual sales is a rough starting point. Let’s say you have a law firm in Texas, and clients bringing in uncontested matters spend an average of $700 each time they see you. This client hires you twice a year for about five years. Simply put, the lifetime value of this client is $7000. If you only take 5% of this amount and apply it to your marketing efforts, you’d need to invest $350 to attract one new client. Then multiply this number times the number of clients you want to attract to create your budget.

Plan for success by drafting and documenting this simple, yet powerful, marketing plan. Writing it down forces you to think about your business and serves as a constant reminder. Refer to your plan often, and make minor course adjustments along the way. With plan in hand, set a timeline and begin implementing. As the saying goes, “most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”