How To Differentiate Yourself From The Competition
I think you'll agree that most of us have a tendency towards activities that are Quick & Easy. When things become difficult, or have more than one step, the temptation is to give up. That's a mistake since the few who take the time to actually work through the complexity, reap enormous benefits. So what's my point?
When people think about marketing they tend to focus on the Quick & Easy stuff. "Let's create a logo." "Let's send out a sales letter." "Let's update the website." One step solutions. Get them done fast. Gives the nice feeling that "Yes once and for all I'm putting a marketing system in place."
Except that they forget one important piece. And it's the reason why most marketing never generates the new business that they hoped for.
They forget about the message.
Oh they don't do that intentionally. In fact most businesses think that they have an effective marketing message. It's usually some version of, "Hi. This is what I do."
It's all about you. Who you are. What you do. How long you've been in business. Maybe even some pictures of you, or the building you work in. So what's the problem with that? Seems folks would be interested in learning all about you, and the things you do.
Well, that's sort of right. They actually will be interested in you, (notice the future tense), but initially, they're not. In the very beginning, when they wake up in the morning with a problem that needs solving, guess what they're most interested in? You guessed it. They are interested in themselves and their problems. So how does this impact your marketing message? Well, the answer's kind of obvious. Instead of having a marketing message that focuses on you, you need one that focuses on them. Their problem, their needs, their pain.
But I'm probably not telling you anything you haven't heard before. You understand it. You get it. Yet, there's your marketing message, still talking all about you. I wonder why that is? Now I have a theory. The reason I believe why most people's marketing messages are stultifying boring is because developing an effective message isn't quick & easy. It's much simpler to just tell people what the heck you do and let them figure out why they should do business with you.
Now I'm not talking about developing your Elevator Pitch. Most elevator pitches wind up being pretty dumb. The reality is that most of us are in businesses that don't lend themselves to 14 word descriptions. I personally think that a good Elevator Pitch should be a catalyst for getting people to want to learn more about your services, rather than some sort of lame attempt to describe the totality of your business.
What I'm trying to encourage you to do is to take some time and really think about what your marketing message is. What really differentiates you from the competition? Why should someone want to do business with you given all the other options they have available? These are not easy questions to answer. So as a result, very few people take the time to really figure them out.
Which is why their marketing letter, their website, all the marketing tactics that they implement, are greeted with an enormous yawn by your target market. The answer to creating a truly unique message starts with your prospects and clients. When they visit your website or read your sales materials, it should be immediately apparent that you understand their pain. That you understand the problems they are trying to solve. The reality is that prospects won't become clients until they believe that you are truly interested in them. Thus, in the beginning, when you and your prospect are nothing more than strangers, the most effective method for building that initial level of trust is to show that you understand what they are trying to accomplish.
Thus take a look at your current marketing message and be realistic about who it focuses on. If the message is all about you then you need to re-shift the emphasis and make the prospect the object of your attention.