Unique Selling Proposition: What is it, and Why do I Need One?

What is a unique selling proposition – and why does your business need one? Your value proposition is what sets you apart in a crowded marketplace and what allows you to appeal to your target prospects. Every competing business in your field is after the same group of customers, so your unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes you unique and what appeals most to your prospects. Correctly identifying your target customer and then crafting a unique value proposition that they just can’t resist will allow you to stand out and thrive in a crowded marketplace.

Creating your Own Unique Value Proposition

It doesn’t happen overnight, but the time you spend now correctly developing your USP and really defining your product and customer will pay off in the long run. You know you have an amazing product or service but this process allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of how you can best appeal to consumers and where to invest your marketing efforts.

Start with your Audience

Who is your target customer? How do they spend their time? Are they male or female, buying for themselves or someone else – and what is motivating them to make that purchase? How old are they — and what concerns them most? A 20 year old college student will have far different concerns and goals than a just-turned 50 year old professional. It’s tempting to think that your product has such wide appeal that everyone will love it, but really taking the time to define your target audience ensures that you are directing your efforts in the right way.

Ideally, you’ll be able to come up with a complete image of your target audience and be able to define them in a few short sentences. If you are selling a home organization system, your target persona will likely be female with children in the home, but you need to look even closer.

Is she worried about the budget every month or can she afford simple luxuries? What does she do to treat herself, and what does a typical day look like for her? Answering these questions can help you correctly target your market and make sure that you are presenting your product to a group that wants it, can afford it and is likely to purchase it in the near future.

Learn from your Competition

They may not offer the same product you do (your business is unique, after all), but you do have competition targeting the same market you are. Taking the time to look at how your competitors big and small are relaying their message to your target audience helps in several ways:

  • You see what resonates with your target prospects, without spending any actual cash
  • You gain an understanding of the messages your targets are used to receiving, so you can develop ways to stand out in a crowded market
  • You learn how your product can fill a need for this group that is not already being met

You can also use that competition to stand out – if everyone in your area is approaching customers in the same way, novel approaches to marketing and messaging will help your brand stand out.

What is your Message?

What is your brand’s mission and what one thing do you want buyers and prospects to know? How will you improve their lives? Distill your offering to one simple sentence and you can build your efforts around this concept. Do you help buyers feel better about themselves? Help them save time or money? Beautify or simplify their lives? Get to the heart of how your product helps your customer and you’ll find your unique selling proposition.

Make a list of the key benefits of your product or service – -basically the “why” people buy and what they get from their purchase. Your list could be hundreds of items long or just a few key points; getting these ideas down on paper can help you refine your unique value proposition and understand what resonates with your buyers. You do not have to go it alone; your employees and current customers may also be able to provide valuable input – a survey can help you gain essential information about your product and buyers.

Once you have that one, pure message, you can begin to build your marketing plan around it. Your unique value proposition isn’t going to just pop into your head in 10 minutes – give yourself plenty of time to work it out and to really think about how you will position your brand. The more time you spend on this step, the more successful your marketing efforts will be.

Ideally, your USP should be one sentence that defines your brand and makes you stand out from everyone else.

Incorporate your Unique Selling Proposition into your Marketing

Once you have your value proposition, put it to work for your business. Every printed material, blog, tweet and post your business makes needs to relay your value proposition in some way. This will not happen overnight, but by constantly being aware of your message and seeking out new ways to relay it to your customer, you give your marketing team something solid to work with. Over time, your value proposition should permeate every aspect of your business; customers should be able to instantly grasp your USP whether they are visiting your website, following you on social media or viewing a video you’ve produced.

 

Correctly targeting your value proposition takes time, but taking the time to work through the process can help you make a valuable, lasting connection with your target market. Once you’ve correctly identified your USP, you’ll know where your marketing and advertising efforts should be focused and avoid wasting capital on efforts that won’t really make a difference.

Once you know your USP, then creating a content strategy is pretty straightforward. I’d love to help you craft a compelling lineup of content designed to capture the attention of your prospects and convert your prospects into actual leads for your brand. Check out a ready to go content package — or send me a note to talk about content that addresses your target customers and USP can do for your brand.

 

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Need More Conversions? An Email Drip Campaign Could be the Answer!

You’ve worked hard to get new subscribers for your email list, but how can you engage with them and keep a steady stream of relevant and useful content heading their way. While you’ll have newsletters and purposeful campaigns planned, including a few drip campaigns can help drive engagement and allow you to make the most of your email marketing efforts. Learning more about drip campaigns and how they work to forge a strong connection with your prospects can help you make the most of this powerful marketing technique.


Drip Marketing Campaigns 101

When you launch a drip marketing campaign, you’ll roll out a series of messages that are targeted to specific prospects, customers or followers. You can target recipients based on their actions, the purchases they have made or even where they are in their buying journey. Targeted drip campaigns allow you to engage with readers and provide calls to action that get attention and results because they speak directly to the users you’ve targeted. Best of all, drip campaigns can be automated, so once you set them up, they’ll continue to deliver for you on an ongoing basis.

Choose the Right Drip Email Marketing Campaigns for your Business

You have quite a few options when it comes to setting up a drip campaign; the most common situation is a welcome series; an automated email series that launches when someone signs up for your newsletter or opts in for your emails. Once you have a welcome series set up, a campaign that targets those who have not engaged with you for a while can help keep your list clean and campaigns that specifically promote an event or product can be created and then dripped out in a series to your prospects.

Welcome Email Campaigns

One of the first things I do when I work with a new client is run a quick but comprehensive marketing audit to see what the customer experience is like. As part of this audit, I sign up for their email opt-in and then wait to see how long it takes for the promised collateral or a welcome email to arrive. If you are making new subscribers wait more than a few minutes to hear from you, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity – and a welcome email campaign should be your top marketing priority.

 

Welcome campaigns ensure your subscribers remember what they signed up for.

A welcome email campaign reminds the customer why they signed up in the first place and ensures they truly want to receive communications from you. This confirmation will also keep your email service provider (ESP) happy. Your initial message should welcome the prospect, let them know how often they’ll be hearing from you and what type of communications to expect. If you’ve promised a discount, it should arrive in this email as well.

About a week later, a second automated email should launch, thanking the prospect for signing up and directing them to some relevant and useful content on your site. Your latest blog post, directions for using your items or other relevant content goes here.

A week after that contact, you’ll send along another valuable piece of collateral, whether you choose an eBook, webinar invite or other opportunity, this provides the user with another way to interact with your brand. Once you’ve sent this email, the user can move into one of your established categories and receive regular mailings and offers.

Re-Engagement Email Campaigns

For customers who have not purchased in a defined set of time or for those who have not engaged with your brand, a re-engagement campaign can re-establish a connection. You’ve likely received a re-engagement message yourself; they are commonly used by service businesses and those with consumable products to remind you to buy. This one, by Fandango, hit my mailbox last week – we have been renting from VUDU and Fandango wanted to remind me that they are still around.


This re-engagement email is simple and to the point and was the first of three I received in a 20-day period. All featured popular films and each offered a different call to action. This one went with value — $1.99 per move undercuts other streaming rental services.

Using a re-engagement campaign can redirect the prospect back to your brand. Sending along a reminder that it has been a while, or “we miss you” and an offer to re-engage may be enough to get things moving again. A tempting promo code or offer can be included in your next missive and the chance to reaffirm interest “do you want to keep receiving our emails” should be the third and final piece in the series.

Asking someone if they want to continue from you may seem counterproductive, but it boosts the effectiveness of your list; regular housekeeping ensures your metrics stay accurate and useful when it is time to measure ROI.

Free Trial Campaigns

For my clients that provide SaaS or other services that allow for a free demo, this is a useful, targeted email marketing campaign that can pull prospects right into your sales funnel. For those who sign up for a free trial, the drip process is straightforward and engaging:


The customer signs up and is immediately welcomed; if the product is automated, then delivery commences. Every two days during the trial period, the customer receives a different email explaining the ROI of using the product, outlining key features and walking the prospect through the steps needed to make the most of the trial. As the trial end draws near, emails reminding that the expiration date is approaching and offering an incentive can help convert trial users into customers.

The length of your drip campaign will depend on your trial period and how involved your salesforce is in the process. It can be fully automated or your call to action can be to schedule a call with a team member.

Whether you want to make it easy to welcome a new subscriber, re-engage with someone who is slipping away or make the most of the free trial demo period, an automated email drip campaign allows you to “set it and forget it.”

Getting Started with Email Drip Campaign Marketing

Your ESP already allows you to schedule and automate email campaigns; I use MailChimp and Delivra for clients, but you likely have options no matter which ESP you choose. Setting up the campaign is easy, but getting the copy just right can still be a challenge.

If you know you want a drip campaign but are not sure where to start – or want to make the most of this technique with copy that really converts, I can help. Contact me to get started – I can help you get set up and create compelling copy your prospects won’t be able to resist. Best of all, the campaign you launch today will serve your brand for years to come, worry-free.

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300% Growth in Site Traffic…or Why I Hate Math

 

I hate math.

I’m also old enough to remember this awful 1980s Barbie, who shares my opinion.

It is awful, but true.

In the interest of girl power and supporting STEM learning with my much more math-friendly kids, I never mention it, but math is my Kryptonite.

So, when I was chatting with a client today and told him about his 30% increase in views on his blog and that it might take a while, but we would get him where he needed to be, he cracked up.

It was 300%, not 30%

Could have been worse, I guess, I could have tried to tell him we just made 3% growth and started tearing apart the strategy I was so sure would work.

300% Site Traffic Growth in 3 Months

My horrible math skills aside, we made some really nice progress in a short amount of time, and I wanted to share what we did to make it happen:

  • First, we went through what they had – almost 700 existing posts—and found topics that could be revisited and revitalized.
  • Next, we identified some key posts that could benefit from SEO and freshened them up a bit.
  • We also came up with some fresh topics and angles for some specific audiences they have been trying to cultivate.
  • We launched an aggressive social media campaign on Facebook; his most popular channel but one that was performing well under the industry average.
  • We committed to posting 3 new blogs per week and to posting daily on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • We created and ran a drip email campaign that targeted inactive and not recently active users

Total growth was 312.1% in site traffic after 90 days.

Take that, math!

Just one of those new posts (this one) was liked 12,300 times on Facebook  and shared 1,142 times as of today.

This particular brand has a long sales cycle, so I am not sure of the impact on their overall sales and conversions, but more traffic can only help drive their business to success.

The Right Content and Strategy Drives Results and Revenues

Each of the above steps could be done to your site, right now and help boost results. You may be sitting on a treasure trove of content that can be revisited or even completely rewritten to drive traffic to your site.

 

What? Reuse Old Stuff? Nope.

You’re right, Google penalizes reused content – none of the 38 posts were actually reused. Instead, four were converted into video content, four were made into infographics and the rest were updated and rewritten to address the needs of users today and changes in the marketplace.

The new pieces were also designed to truly capture the brand’s unique approach and story for human readers and search engine optimized for Google. No other changes were made to their overall marketing strategy so we could truly measure results.

Give Your Own Site a Boost

Look at your existing metrics to get an idea of where you are right now.

Carefully reviewing your existing content and brainstorming some new ideas can help you come up with a packed content calendar for the next 90 days. When you commit just a few months to getting your site where it needs to be, with relevant and engaging topics, you’ll be amazed at the amount of traffic you can accrue. Try these steps to grow your traffic:

  • Commit to posting: This is the big one, and is either going to cost you time or money. Commit to posting at least three new pieces each week, so you have a constant stream of relevant, useful and up to date content for readers.
  • Target your prospects: Identify your best social media channel and focus on growing your audience. Your site analytics can break down where your traffic is coming from. No social media presence yet? Identify the one channel that resonates best with your followers from the Big 5 – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter – and get started. You’re creating sharable content, so use this outlet to boost awareness of your brand and offerings.
  • Measure Results: Follow the plan above for 90 days, and revisit those metrics. Chances are, you’ll see not only some real growth, but your gain some valuable insights about what topics, channels and formats your prospects respond to best.

Not Enough Time to DIY?

I can help – I create content that puts your brand into the spotlight and ensures your site is found by the right prospects. Let’s chat about your needs and goals and create a plan for your brand.

 

Just don’t ask me to do math, please.