In today’s overcrowded and hyper-competitive marketplace, how are you going to stand out from the crowd? Its not as simple as having the the best product or the biggest marketing budget (although that obviously helps). What every company needs is a USP, something that makes potential customers choose you instead of your competitors.
USP or Unique Selling Proposition is a key component of growing your business.
“Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”
Levitt, Theodore (1986). The Marketing Imagination.
In this post, we will be explore some of the ways you can turn your company’s unique and individual qualities into a huge competitive advantage.
At 34SP.com our business model is ‘Value for money‘ – which means we deliver products of quality and support beyond customer’s expectations – all offered at a reasonable cost. Sure, we throw in some special offers now and then like our amazing half price sale on the new .uk domain names. But we have a number of selling points unique to other website hosting companies out there. We offer web hosting with a difference, support and guidance 🙂 and we are proud of it as you can tell. In a short phrase – 34SP.com offers “Exceptional Service and Support”. So what is your ‘Business Model’ and how do communicate it?
Firstly, you need to make sure you are in the right mindset – so stop thinking about what works for others and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what the customer wants to see. Listen to them, the best advice you ever get is by simply asking your customer ‘What motivated you to buy from me?‘. Take the time to understand both positive and negative feedback from your clients.
At 34SP.com our main USP is to be the most helpful and supportive web hosting company we can be. Thankfully, social media and online review websites mean customer feedback has never been easier to garner. If you read our 34SP.com reviews, you’ll see that we don’t need to spend fortunes on marketing when our customers do it so well for us. Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool of all, and with social media its never been easier to spread the word.
We have an active customer base on our 34Sp.com Twitter account too. Social media is powerful.
Don’t assume anything! Gather information and answer what is necessary.
Don’t assume that you have to be the cheapest in order to compete. Charge what your services are worth, at prices your customers will be happy to pay. Customer satisfaction is more important than being the cheapest in town – don’t undercut your prices for the sake of the competition. There are more compelling ways to differentiate your business than low prices.
If you Google “web hosting” you will see a ‘battle to the death’ of hosting companies of all shapes and sizes, trying to undercut each other with a myriad of different prices, specifications and additional freebees. Why doesn’t 34SP.com just join in? Because it’s not our business model. Our prices reflect the quality of our services and our customers frequently tell us it’s worth spending an extra few quid for a significantly higher level of service.
Research is certainly necessary but never assume you know your market inside and out, as markets change all the time.
For example, when I started working for 34SP.com I was aware that they offered fantastic support. When I started speaking directly with our customers, this was something that cropped up time and again. There was also another important factor, one that I’d not previously considered – location. Depending on your business, location can be a huge benefit for certain customers. Even in the online world, knowing that that 34sP offer Manchester UK web hosting is important to a section of our customer base. Generally speaking, it is much easier to trust a local company compared with an international one. Our local customers realise that we’re just down the road from them (in some cases, quite literally!) and they know that if something goes wrong, we aren’t too far away.
The above is just one example, but demonstrates how our customer base perceives one of our strengths to be something I’d never previously considered. Perhaps your business has similar strengths, that you may not have thought about before.
You are the customer?
There companies out there that have Internet conquering business models.
Take Amazon for example; A company that have successfully managed to undercut the majority of their competition. For Amazon however, low prices are just part of their success story. Amazon have embraced customer experience and feedback, so shoppers don’t just use Amazon for their low prices (although it obviously helps), they shop on there because they want to read reviews and recommendations before they buy. Amazon also know that quick and efficient delivery is key in ecommerce, something a number of their competitors have yet to completely master.
Conclusion – What is your USP?
Don’t ask me! Ask your customers and get creative. Customer engagement is essential, so consider how best to get the information you need from your customer base. Be sure to give people an incentive to feedback their experiences of using your services. Ask your customers to join you online, via social media like Twitter and Facebook and keep connected with them. The more involved you are with your customer the more likely they are to talk about you.
Have a long hard think – how do you want to sell your company? How to you want to be perceived by new customers? What makes your company better than the next one?