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The 3-Step guide to writing your USP

THE 3-STEP GUIDE TO WRITING YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

So you’ve been asked to write a business bio or come up with an elevator pitch… where do you start?

What you need is to clarify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – a short summary that tells your ideal customers why YOUR business and offer is different from everybody else’s.

Personally I prefer you completely ignore what the competition does – there is no value in comparing yourself with others and explaining why you’re better. Providing you are clear on these few points below, your USP will attract loyal customers who won’t even consider the competition in future.

 

1. Choose your WHO

Ensure you know exactly WHO your ideal customer is, what their key problem is (that your business helps solve), and most importantly, how your product or service will make them FEEL when this problem is solved. This feeling is what you are actually selling – not your product or service at all! The demographic stuff  (age, sex, socioeconomic etc) may be useful to hone in on a particular niche that you prefer to work with, but unless you are a really big business who needs to break a market down into manageable chunks, it’s of secondary importance.

 

2. Identify WHY you do what you do

What values or passions drive your business and bring meaning and purpose to you (and your employees if you have them)? What change do you wish to make in the world (or your little corner of it)? What are you passionate about? Try to identify 3-4 keywords that summarise these values and incorporate them into the language you use in your USP.

 

3. Ensure WHAT you do solves a problem

Your products and services need to provide real solutions to your customers. This may not always be exactly what they think they need – sometimes people don’t even know what they REALLY need! However, it’s important to clearly communicate how your product or service solves their problem (benefits), rather than all the ways you think it is awesome (features), and highlight how your ideal customer will FEEL when they achieve their desired solution.

For solo business owners, your biggest point of difference is actually YOU! Only you have your unique values, skills, knowledge and experience, so highlight this uniqueness in your USP, even if you operate under a “brand” name.

For bigger businesses, your brand (visual image, voice, culture, systems) represents these things. It is up to you as the founder to ensure your core values – as well as the skills, knowledge and experience of your team – infiltrate your brand culture and marketing communications, and are consistent across all areas of your business.

 

While you may need to hone it into a more fluid sentence, the following framework can help you put your USP together:


For [WHO]
Who [have a particular problem]
[My business]
provides [value words]


to help them feel [desired solution]

 

For example, here’s one I put together for my business while writing this article:

“For small business owners who want to run a business WITHIN a life (not one that completely takes over it!), Wholehearted Marketing provides honest, “heart-centred” business mentoring and creative marketing support solutions, so that they can love their business more AND make more money!”

While I might want to tweak the wording a bit, you can see it’s a pretty good start!

Of course, like anything else, your USP does not have to be carved in stone.

It will evolve as your business grows and changes. You may choose to serve a different ideal customer, you might want to focus on different skills or passions over time, and in all honesty, only some of your products or services will be successful. That’s OK.

So long as you have some clarity around WHO you wish to serve, WHY you do what you do, and develop WHAT your Ideal Customers most need to solve their problems, you’ll be fine.

RELATED: How to Create Your 30 Second Elevator Pitch

 

Continue this conversation in our business community by becoming a She Will Shine Member today. Join the She Will Shine business network today and beat the July 1st price rise.

 

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Cath Connell, Wholehearted MarketingAbout Cath Connell
Cath Connell from Wholehearted Marketing is the Marketing Demystifier, providing mentoring, training and hands-on support to help small business owners overcome their fear of marketing and build the skills they need to achieve success. She is particularly passionate about helping others tap into their Purpose and use their business as a platform for change.

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The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Customer Experience

THE COMPLETE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Customer Experience Small BusinessTrying to explain exactly what it is I do can sometimes leave people a little confused – usually because they assume that when I’m saying “Customer Experience” I mean “Customer Service”. Or because they hear the word marketing, and they automatically think advertising.

So, here’s a quick snapshot into why I believe that getting your customer experience right is at the heart of all marketing you will ever have to do for your business.

Customer Service = An event
The customer service you provide is basically about 3 principles – the people involved, the physical evidence of what you deliver and the process you use to deliver it. It’s finite. As a consumer, you can receive amazing service on one occasion, and next time around it might be a total disaster.

Customer Experience = A feeling
The experience your customer has may incorporate the customer service. But it is much more subjective and experiential. Even with all things absolutely equal, the experience two people have with your business may be completely different. In fact, the experience someone has with your business may not be due to a transaction having occurred AT ALL.

The experience we have with a business is more about how we feel about that business than the actual product or service itself. That being said, to ensure a great experience, we HAVE to ensure that our product or service is at least meeting our customer’s expectations.

As you can see, every single aspect of your business has the potential to impact on a customer’s experience. This is why it is now critical to make customer experience part of the DNA of your organisation – so that at each touchpoint you show your customers that you sincerely want to serve them.

I’m not sure where this quote came from originally, but it’s one I’ve used for a long time:

“Everybody who has an interaction with your business is a marketer of your business.”

Your own promotion – via blogs, social media, networking etc – is only a fraction of the marketing of your business that is going on. Every single person you come across is a potential marketer of you and your business. So it’s critical that you make the process of doing business with you a pleasure rather than a chore.

 

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Jodie PreissAbout Jodie Preiss
Jodie Preiss has walked her talk in all areas of customer experience through many different roles – both as Marketing Manager for two independent schools, and in a stint as a marketing consultant, when she wrote this blog post. Little did she know that her love of all things experience focused would lead her on another path. And in early 2019 she will officially launch the incarnation of that journey.

She has created Inspiring a Difference from one simple truth. That one person, one voice, armed with wisdom and the commitment to act, can make a very real difference.

Creating a methodology around challenge-driven impact has became her driving motivation, and the vision for Inspiring a Difference. Challenging herself, as well as those around her, to step out of their comfort zone and create a ripple in their world. The fundamental drive for Jodies is to show you that you can make a a difference. And that the ripples that we create individually, one day might move a mountain.

We turn drops into ripples into waves and then oceans of impact. One person, one challenge at a time.

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The 5 Essential Ingredients To Creating A Great Customer Experience

THE 5 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS TO CREATING A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Small Business Customer ExperienceAs a busy small business owner how do you make sure that amazing customer experience is at the heart of what you do?

Here are 5 essential ingredients to creating a great experience for your clients.

1. Know who they are.
I’m sure you’ve all done some work on your Ideal Customer Avatar (and if you haven’t, you totally should!). However, in understanding them really well I recommend going even deeper than most ICA exercises take you.

When someone decides to purchase from you, they are not buying because of your product or service, or even because of you. They are purchasing because of their deepest desires, values and motivations – which are largely directed by their worldview.

In any ICA exercise I would add that you need to also understand:

• What do they want from you?
• What do they need from you? (this may be different from what they want!)
• What is their biggest complaint?
• What do they actually want you to do about it?
• What is their worldview on what you are offering? (i.e. if you are a real estate agent, what is their current belief about your industry)

2. Know your product or service, and how it best suits your customer
Are your current products or services what you want to provide, or what your customer actually wants and needs?

The whole idea of this is to make sure that your products or services are actually what your customer really wants and needs. If you are developing an offering that you love, but that isn’t quite right for your Ideal Customer, then it’s going to be tough to leave them with an amazing experience, something will fall short and leave them wanting or needing more.

Think outside the square on this one – do you have a product or service that is a better fit for your customer than the one they currently use? Even if it means less revenue for you! (remember, this isn’t about YOU, it’s about THEM).

3. Create a Customer Experience Vision
In your mind’s eye, what would the PERFECT experience for your customer look like. Think about how they would feel when they first hear about you – before they contact/visit you –  right through to how you want them to feel six months after you provide their product/service.

This includes how they feel when they browse your website, receive an email from you, read a social media post about you. And even how they feel when they hear other people talking about your business.

This is both the finer detail, and the big picture stuff. At this point, don’t be constrained by money, staffing or systems. This is the time to dream about what you would absolutely LOVE to provide.

Dreaming big for this is awesome, but you need to be able to deliver it perfectly and consistently to create an amazing experience. So this is where you can break down that vision into bite sized chunks. Start small, get that 100% perfect, 100% of the time. When you achieve that consistency, add the next chunk.

Implement ONE thing first, get it right, then add the next and the next.

4. Have systems in place that work – EVERY TIME
Contrary to popular belief, having systems does not mean boring – it means consistency, so that every single time someone interacts with you they are consistently WOWed. But the key here is that your systems WORK. If your current systems are not WOWing your customers, they are NOT WORKING!

4a. If you have staff, make sure they know exactly what your expectations are in terms of their interactions with your customers
You may be great with your customers, but if next time they visit you aren’t there you MUST make sure that every single person they come across will give them exactly the same level of service. This comes back to #3 – Systems that work & Consistency

5. Don’t EVER think you are 100% perfect at WOWing your customers
By now you hopefully know what your customer wants, you know how your product or service best suits your customer, you have the systems in place, and your staff are consistently amazing! This is when many businesses will rest on their laurels. BUT that is a BIG mistake.

Keep going back to Step 3 and refining your Customer Experience Vision. Not only will it ensure that you are continually WOWing your customers, it will also ensure that your competitors find it next to impossible to match what you are doing.

 

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Jodie PreissAbout Jodie Preiss
Jodie Preiss has walked her talk in all areas of customer experience through many different roles – both as Marketing Manager for two independent schools, and in a stint as a marketing consultant, when she wrote this blog post. Little did she know that her love of all things experience focused would lead her on another path. And in early 2019 she will officially launch the incarnation of that journey.

She has created Inspiring a Difference from one simple truth. That one person, one voice, armed with wisdom and the commitment to act, can make a very real difference.

Creating a methodology around challenge-driven impact has became her driving motivation, and the vision for Inspiring a Difference. Challenging herself, as well as those around her, to step out of their comfort zone and create a ripple in their world. The fundamental drive for Jodies is to show you that you can make a a difference. And that the ripples that we create individually, one day might move a mountain.

We turn drops into ripples into waves and then oceans of impact. One person, one challenge at a time.

The community supporting Australian female founders.

BECOME A MEMBER

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How To Offer Great Value Without Devaluing Your Offer

HOW TO OFFER GREAT VALUE WITHOUT DEVALUING YOUR OFFER

Small Business Adding ValueYou’ve all seen the sales pitches…

This Product/Service/Course/Book… normally <insert exorbitant price>, now only <seriously low price> PLUS you get <a whole heap of FREE stuff> PLUS if you book before <insert date> you get… wait for it…<steak knives>!

I don’t know about you, but these kind of “sales pitches” tend to put ME off buying. I start to doubt the value of the offering. I begin to question the validity of the provider. I usually wonder if there is a hidden agenda.

Often though, there’s no hidden agenda at all. The business has just forgotten what their ideal customer really wants, and in a panic throws everything into the ring… just in case! This doesn’t help the customer and it cheapens something that may, in fact, be fantastic value.

So how can we offer great value without resorting to such tactics? Here are some suggestions.

1. Know your customer
Create ideal customer profiles or avatars. Understand your customers’ needs and key problems and explain to them how you can help. Keep your ideal customer in mind when you prepare your marketing materials and speak in a language they will understand. That’s really all that’s needed. If they love you and like your “thing”, AND it solves their problem, they will probably buy!

2. Take some time to get your pricing right
Finding the right price can be quite tricky (and is a whole topic in itself)! Choose a market pricing model rather a cost-plus calculation… this means you choose your positioning (e.g. “cheap and cheerful”, “affordable and awesome” or “luxurious and super special”) and research similar options already in the marketplace. Then price somewhere in that ballpark. Of course, you’ll need to check you are making a good profit too.

Once you have set your pricing, be confident in it!

3. Avoid discounting
See #2! Sure, there are OK times to discount ­– to clear old stock, to introduce a new product or service, or to bring in some desperately needed cash. However, if you regularly reduce your prices, you train your customers to wait until your “thing” is on sale. This undermines your value and can seriously hurt your profitability. It can also annoy your customers who paid full price… not something you want!

4. Bundle it Up!
Can a small, inexpensive item be sold together with a more premium product?
Can you include a digital product you’ve created?
Can you provide a service that you enjoy doing and takes you minimal time, but is highly sought after by your customers, as part of a bigger package?

Look for opportunities to add something that is of low cost to you and high value to your customers, and charge a small premium.

5. Make an exchange
If you’re giving away something for free (e.g. a giveaway, competition, eBook etc), ensure you always get something back in return. It could be as simple as an email address. Other possibilities include testimonials, publicity or media exposure, reviews, referral business or bartering. These are usually low-cost for your customer to provide, so they’ll normally oblige – but you need to ask!

Above all, believe in yourself!
Sometimes we forget exactly how valuable we are. We compare ourselves with people who appear better, smarter, or more successful than we are feeling.

Please remember, your offer is of INCREDIBLE value to your customers ­­– after all, it’s something only YOU can provide.

PS. If you ever find yourself tempted to devalue your offering by “giving away steak knives”, come here for some support… we’ll tell you how awesome you are!

 

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Cath Connell, Wholehearted MarketingAbout Cath Connell
Cath Connell from Wholehearted Marketing is the Marketing Demystifier, providing mentoring, training and hands-on support to help small business owners overcome their fear of marketing and build the skills they need to achieve success. She is particularly passionate about helping others tap into their Purpose and use their business as a platform for change.

The community supporting Australian women business owners.

BECOME A MEMBER

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