When Being Different is the Best Thing

Your Unique Selling Proposition

Before you can successfully sell your product or service to someone else, you have to sell yourself on it. This is especially true when you have lots of competition and the need to distinguish yourself.

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a description of the qualities unique to your product or service that differentiate it in a way that compels your customers to buy.

A good USP translates features into benefits. It needs to answer the “why should I buy your product over a competitor’s?” question from your prospect.

Be unique in your sales proposition!Many businesses do not have a USP. They continue to exist because of the awareness of their service created by the market leaders and the momentum created. Businesses that want to make an impact need a USP. The great thing about having a truly unique USP is that it gives you the potential to open a new category in an existing brand – where you become the market leader.

Questions to ask when creating a USP:

– What product or service do you offer?

– What is the profile of your buyer?  If you’re trying to appeal to everyone, chances are you’ll appeal to no one.

– Why do your customers choose you over your competitors?  If you don’t know, ask them!

– If you have features that distinguish your offering, what does the customer value in those features?

A USP is not designed to compete (“we’re the best…in our industry”) but instead is designed to distinguish you from your competition (“we’re the only“). The difficult part of a USP is creating differentiation. There may be a feature of your product or service offering that is indeed different than anyone else’s offering.

Even so, it is critical to confirm that your customers understand and value this difference. If you don’t have a material feature difference, there are other ways to distinguish your offering: price, quality, exclusivity, the best customer service, or a guarantee that your customers will see results.

One note of caution! The worst thing you can do is claim to have a USP but not deliver on it. If you promote a USP be sure that you and your employees are relentless in delivering on it.

What’s you

 

How to Market to Millennials

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If your target audience includes men and women of the millennial generation and you’re selling to them the same way you sell to everyone else, there may be a reason your sales figures are slumping. Perhaps more than other generations, millennials “react differently to trigger points,” says social media consultant Christina Baldassarre, adding that they “connect dots in different ways, because some things are intuitive to them that are not intuitive to anyone else.”

As should be clear by now, millennial consumers live and breathe online. They rely on mobile devices to stay connected with each other and to conduct business. For this reason, marketing to this key demographic should start with optimising your website for mobile use.

If not, your website “can be difficult to view and navigate” on a mobile device, which can frustrate prospective customers and squash their impulse to buy. “If so, chances are you’re losing out on a lot of business.”

Equally important from a business perspective is maintaining a strong presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.). If you still need convincing, take a look at what ten veteran entrepreneurs have to say about social media and sales in general. The following tips presume that your business has an active social media presence and regularly interacts with your audience.

Here are other tips to keep in mind:

Cultivate relationships with millennial influencers. Millennials don’t care much for traditional advertising but instead rely upon the opinions of their peers and certain key social media influencers—that is, bloggers and other content-generators who’ve amassed a sizable online following. As we’ve noted previously, cultivating relationships with influencers in your industry can pay off in a big way. These action steps can help build a beneficial relationship:

  • Research influencers to ensure that you’ll connect with likely prospective customers.
  • Be clear about your goals (generating sales leads, boosting website traffic, etc.).
  • Incorporate the influencer relationship into a broader marketing strategy.

Attract millennials with mobile-alert sales discounts. Millennials are often willing to disclose their location on their mobile devices if, in return, businesses send them news of upcoming sales discounts. If they happen to be in the area and receive word of a special sale, it increases the likelihood they’ll respond favourably and check out what you’re offering.

Offer content that’s informative and timely. Conventional hard-sell tactics won’t work with this demographic. What Millennials are looking for is content that’s timely, informative, entertaining and easy to read on the run. Your social media feed should be pumping out links to valuable content on a steady basis, but it’s also important to stay attuned to what’s going on in the moment.

“If a company waits even a couple of hours too long to react to an event, they missed an opportunity to be noticed by a massive number of consumers,” says Business 2 Community, “and instead are brushed off for being late to the game.”

Invite followers and customers to share content with your business. Millennials like the idea of being part of a community. You can foster that connection by inviting customers and social media followers to contribute user-generated content and post it on your various social media platforms.

One effective strategy is sponsoring a lively contest focusing on the most creative (and favourable) ways someone can portray your product or service in photos or very brief videos. Get things rolling on Twitter and then get out of the way. You’ll be surprised by how creative and enthusiastic millennials can be when they’re excited about something.

Want to learn more about marketing to niche demographics like millennials? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you

 

4 Reasons Why A Referral Marketing System Is Important To Your Business

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For most companies, referrals are the most cost-effective way to acquire new clients. Fearless Referrals, by Matt Anderson, cites a study by Sandler Sales Institute regarding how frequently different types of prospecting activities turned into business:

  • 5% from cold calls.
  • 15% when you use a colleague’s name in the call – but your call is not expected.
  • 50% when you have permission to call and your call is expected.
  • 80% when you are personally introduced to a prospect—referral marketing!

OK, now we know that referrals are far more likely to turn into revenue than other prospect sources. But what makes a referral better?

  1. Transferred Trust: The first step to buying is for the buyer to trust the seller. It is very difficult to establish this trust with a cold lead. A referred lead is better because your service was referred to them by someone they already trust. Therefore, this trust is transferred from the referral source to you!
  2. Shorter Sales Cycle: Transferred trust will naturally shorten the sales cycle for a referred lead compared to a cold lead.
  3. Less Price Sensitivity: Referred clients are less sensitive about price. Because risk is reduced in the mind of the prospect, they can focus more on the value of your product or service and less on price.
  4. Customised Offering: You can be more effective presenting your product or service to a referred prospect because you will generally have more background knowledge about them from the referrer. You can, therefore, customise the presentation of your product or services to address their specific needs and/or pain points.

Take a look at your sales pipeline and ask yourself: “How can I increase my ratio of referred leads to cold(er) prospects?”. By setting up a referral marketing system and sticking to it, you will find a significant increase in overall sales and customer lifetime value. At this point, you may be thinking, “How do I get started with a referral marketing system of my own?” Stay tuned for our next referral marketing blog post, 4 Referral Marketing Ideas to Jumpstart Your Referral Marketing System, by subscribing to our blog, or coming back to visit us!

 

The CEO’s Role in Marketing

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How active should a CEO be in directing and/or promoting marketing efforts within his or her organisation? Larger companies generally have a chief marketing officer at the helm to strategise and oversee marketing campaigns, inbound and outbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, etc. Small and mid-sized businesses might have one or two individuals who report to the CEO on marketing efforts.

Whatever the situation, there’s definitely a place for active participation from the company’s leader. Here are suggestions on what the CEO can do to help refine marketing efforts and ensure greater success in this area:

Make sure marketing and sales activities are aligned. In some organisations, a lack of cross-communication between sales and marketing can lead to friction between departments that should be working closely together—and a subsequent drop in leads, conversions and closings. As CEO, you can emphasise the importance of alignment by inviting the sales team to provide input on “how better to frame a branding message that genuinely connects with prospects.” This can include involving sales “in the actual creation of marketing materials, thus reflecting their own experience in the field.”

In the same respect, a CEO who understands how sales leads are generated can do more to see that the marketing budget gets spent on the most effective sales channels—and require both sales and marketing to produce metrics that justify every major expenditure of time and money.

Know your product inside and out. When it comes to your company’s product or service line, how deep does your knowledge go?

Some CEOs brought in as “hired guns” may feel their role as the figurehead or “chief inspiration officer” is more important than in-depth product knowledge. But a leader who knows the company’s offerings inside and out is better equipped to understand where marketing efforts fall short—and why customer response may sometimes be lacking. Then he or she can ensure there’s a greater focus on refining the product line (based in part on customer response) and adjusting the branding message to go along with these refinements.

Push marketing to clearly differentiate your business from the competition. In most cases, winning sales depends on having a clear message that details how your product offering differs from the competition. As a company leader, you can mandate (or at least strongly advocate) a greater emphasis on research and development, strategic innovation and customer input in order to achieve market-leader status.

Push your marketing team to define key differentiating factors. Work with the marketing team to ensure “they are conscientious about determining what the unique attributes are,” says marketing expert Renee Yeager, and that they “are continually reevaluating to make sure it is still the best for the current market.”

Build a great marketing team. To get the most effective marketing results, you need to have a talented and creative team in place. A CEO who places a high value on such recruitment efforts will get his or her message across to HR or others charged with hiring new personnel: Marketing matters in our organisation and we want to recruit those men and women who excel at it.

In the same respect, if there’s a CMO at the helm, give this individual your full support. “Firms with better marketing outcomes tend to have CMOs with greater continuity (on average nearly a year longer),” contends veteran marketing officer Kimberly A. Whitler. Savvy CEOs understand that “high levels of CMO turnover are not good for business results.”

If your business is very small and cannot afford a marketing specialist, you may be better off to outsource the marketing function to a company who has the depth of expertise in developing and overseeing your marketing strategy. Sometimes this can feel somewhat threatening if you feel that you have some marketing expertise, but as the Business Owner, you really have to examine if you are working in the area where you excel and can make the greatest impact.  The real challenge is to find the appropriate agency or organisation to outsource the function. That is where the experience of fellow TAB Board members comes into its own as they will assist you in discovering angles and perspectives you would not have thought about before.

Every CEO copes with a multitude of priorities, but those who put marketing at or near the top of the list can make a significant difference in the quality and effectiveness of efforts in this key area.

Want more advice on marketing or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

Measured and Managed

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Bob Zarlengo

You have probably heard that if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

What you measure not only gets your attention, but it also draws the focus of your team and is therefore prioritised and improved because the way to success is more clear. No one would start driving across the country without considering the best route; measurement is no different.