Positioning is everything for businesses. It explains why you exist, what makes you unique and why someone should want what you’re offering. Additionally, it doesn’t only help you describe yourself, but it helps others describe you as well so you can benefit from referrals, viral marketing and strong brand awareness.
All it takes to effectively position your business is this one important statement:
We’re an ____ who helps ____ with ____. Our unique advantage is ____.
Let’s take a look at a few example statements:
“We’re an advertising agency who helps retail store owners with AdWords. Our unique advantage is that we create custom designed landing pages for our customers that are researched and tested to maximize your conversion rates.”
“We’re an influencer agency who helps local clothing brands with finding influencers to promote their products. Our unique advantage is that we have exclusive partnerships with some of the largest local influencers, so our customers have a wider range of influencers that align with their brand that can reach a larger audience.”
Seem simple enough? Both of these statements describe the following:
- What kind of business they are.
- Their target audience.
- How they help their target audience.
- What makes them stand out from the crowd.
It’s surprisingly hard to fill in these blanks properly for your own business, but it’s important to get it right because this is how you position yourself to be the first option for your customers over your sea of competitors.
Let’s break it down starting with the first part, “we’re a ____”.
What are you? Are you a digital agency, a clothing brand, or maybe a freelance photographer?
You may be tempted to call yourself something like a “web ninja”, please don’t.
This should be pretty straightforward to answer, don’t overthink it and don’t overcomplicate it. Unless you’re in an emerging industry very early into it’s life cycle, there should be an existing title out there for yourself of your business that clearly describes what you generally do that everyone can understand.
The next part of the puzzle is “who helps ____ with ____”.
Who do you help? What is your target audience? Be specific, a vague option that casts a wide net like “I help everybody” won’t catch anyone. Instead, take some time to think about your ideal customer by asking questions like:
- What do they do?
- What do they struggle with?
- How can I help them?
Examples of ideal niches could be national gym owners, dietitians who specialise in gluten free, or local furniture store owners.
Most people are afraid that if they only focus on a small niche of customers they’ll be missing out on all these opportunities with customers outside of that niche. The reality is, by focusing a niche you’re aiming to position yourself to be the first choice for a target group of customers you know you can help instead of positioning yourself to be one of many competitive choices for a wide group of customers that could throw you anything.
Once you’ve got your target audience, what do you help them with?
Do you help gym owners promote their personal trainers, dietitians recommend gluten free products to their patients, or furniture stores with dispatching their large products?
Just like with your target audience, becoming too broad on this part is a common trap. Remember, you can’t help everyone with everything; attempting to do so has a lot of negative effects like:
- It dilutes what you’re best at.
- It overcomplicates and reduces the impact of your marketing efforts.
- You’re always doing work you’re not prepared for.
- The work you end up doing for clients doesn’t really stand out, and they have a tough time referring you when they don’t know what you’re the perfect fit for.
- It’s not a scalable model, and difficult to streamline.
Ask yourself what you’re good at, what’s profitable and what you enjoy then find the cross section between these three things to establish what you should be helping people with.
The final and most important part to your statement is “Our unique advantage is ____”.
I think this is the most important part because this is what really is the make or break for any business, and it’s also the most ignored despite how ridiculously important is.
To put it simply, why should anyone chose you? What reason do your customers have to choose your business out the sea of competitors?
To reliably be a first pick among customers, you need a unique advantage that truly sets you apart.
Don’t use some half-baked fluff like “our unique advantage is that we care for our customers” or “our unique advantage is that we build great websites”. If someone else can make the same claim as you, it’s not unique and there’s nothing separating you from them.
This is tough to answer, but you’ve got to figure it out if you want to succeed.
Once you know your answer, it doesn’t only help you communicate why customers should pick you over someone else, but it also helps your existing customers pitch for you, generating easy referrals.
And that covers it, fill in the blanks for yourself and you’ve got a statement that effectively positions your business.