Copyright 2005 John Jantsch
Quite often small business owners will ask me to reveal most powerful marketing strategy I have seen. I can say without hesitation that most powerful marketing strategy has little to do with advertising, direct mail, web sites, referrals or blogs.
No, before any of those things will really have any impact on your business you’ve got to uncover and communicate a way in which your business in different from every other business that says they do what you do. You’ve got to get out of commodity business. You’ve got to stake your claim on a simple idea or position in mind of your prospective clients.
Here’s what I mean. I have a client that provides custom computer programming. Essentially, they use programming languages to build custom applications for businesses. What they do is often hard to explain and even harder to put a price on, making it difficult for a prospective client to compare different companies. As a way to differentiate their business, they have begun to offer something they call Perfect Coaching. Perfect Coaching is a unique blend of training and programming and, here’s key, no one else in their business is offering anything like it. Prospects like sound of it and are asking to know more. It’s too early to tell but I suspect this point of difference will open a lot of doors for them.
Ways to differentiate
Let’s look at a number of tried and true ways to claim a unique point of difference.
Product – Can you offer a product that is so unique or even trendy that your business is associated with that offering? Or, can you extend a product and offer a valuable service to make product more useful to customer.
Service – Same goes for a service. Many times this can be packaging of a service as a product. Consulting is often delivered on an hourly basis. Packaging a consulting engagement based on an outcome, with defined deliverables and fixed package price is a very effective way to differentiate a service offering. Don’t forget to give service a powerful name!
Market Niche – Carve out an industry or two and become most dominant player serving that industry. A really nice bonus to this approach is you can usually raise your prices dramatically when you specialize in this manner.
Offer – Can you become known by an offer you make? I know an accountant that offer his tax preparation clients a 100% refund on their preparation fee when they refer four new clients. They are 100% refund tax guys.
Solve a Problem – Is there something that prospects in your market fear or seem to believe is universal for what you do? If so, focus on communicating how you have answer. Painless dentistry for example. I know a remodeling contractor who found that what his clients appreciated most was way his crews cleaned up at end of day. He began to promote fact that he owned more ShopVacs then any other remodeling contractor on planet.