all that women want
to Identify and Make the Most of Your Business's Special
by Heather Reimer
How much thought have you given to what's unique about your ebusiness... its competitive edge? Many new web entrepreneurs are in such a hurry to get their site up and running, they breeze past this extremely important question.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from your competitors and answers your prospect's most pressing question: "Why should I buy from you and not them?"
Ideally, establishing a USP should happen in the planning stages of any new enterprise. But it's never too late to do your homework.
Why bother, you ask?
In a word, competitiveness. Ability to compete and thrive. There was a time when you could open a bakery or a shoe store and as long as it was the only one in town, you'd do okay. You didn't need an edge; you had a monopoly.
But for those of us operating in a slightly more competitive environment, our uniqueness becomes staggeringly important.
In my work as a website content writer, I spend a great deal of time getting to know my clients and finding out what makes their businesses tick. I ask a lot of questions but none causes more grief than this one:
"What can your product/service offer that your competitors' can't? In other words, what is the unique advantage that sets your company apart?"
Some ignore the question completely. A shocking number reply that they don't have a competitive edge, they're just the same as everyone else!
And most respond with "customer service that's second-to-none", "the lowest prices", etc.
Cliché slogans don't make you unique, they make you the same... and that's exactly what we want to avoid!
So I'm going to ask you to do something you may find difficult and uncomfortable. I'm going to ask you to take a step back from your business and observe it from a customer's perspective.
ask yourself, "Why should I do business with this company?
Here's an example of a great USP in action. A personal coach I know wrote an ebook on how to succeed in life and business. There must be a squillion ebooks on similar topics out there, but she made hers unique and competitive by packaging it with three months of free consulting advice by email -- a terrific value.
By doing so, she sweetened her deal and differentiated herself from all the other self-help book sellers.
Creating a product of outstanding value is a great way to create uniqueness. (By the way, it's okay to have several USPs because your business may have more than one competitive advantage.)
So... if you still think your company isn't unique in any way, it's time to create a brand new USP by asking yourself:
can I help my customers in unique, value-laden ways?
Go ahead... get a pen and write down your answers. But just remember, if your USP contains words like better, faster, cheaper, easier, or any other comparative statement, be prepared to back it up with facts like performance statistics, price comparison charts, testimonials, or whatever proof you have.
Bold statements without proof are puffery and there's already way too much of that floating around!
Now you need to find out what your competition is doing. It might take some time to identify your competitors and evaluate their USPs, but it's worth the effort because it will reveal their weaknesses, which you can then adopt as your strength, your something special.
Finally, now that you've nailed down your special something, it's time to start splashing it around:
it in your promotional copy.
all, keep your business's uniqueness at the top of your mind.
Heather Reimer © 2004 www.thewritecontent.com
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