Many small businesses fall into a trap of trying to be all things to all people in an attempt to be a “one-stop shop” and serve a large audience. While that makes sense on the surface, it can actually hurt your ability to grow over time. What people are looking for is to connect on an authentic level based on trust and insight. Each business has a Unique Value Proposition which can be expressed in a tag line, an elevator pitch or simply the answer to the question, “What do you do?” Here are five reasons your unique value proposition (UVP) is not winning and how to fix these common mistakes:
Too Many Words & Way 2 Clever
The purpose of your UVP is to help your customers immediately see how your solution, service or products fit their desire to make a change in their work or at home. It needs to be to the point and easy to understand in seconds. Avoid using vague words in the hopes that one size will fit all. Remember, we’re trying to show how unique you are against the competition. Not that you’re just like everyone else. Keep technical jargon out of your UVP unless your customer is equally technical as you. Multi-syllable words are fun for Scrabble, but make terrible UVPs. Keep it simple and the casual reader will be able to connect their problem with your solution much quicker.
Everyone is Our Customer
Even if you sell jeans, everyone is not your customer. Yes, just about everyone owns one pair of jeans however your jeans may be at a high price point or cater to short people. If the focus of your UVP is too narrow or too broad, people will have a problem connecting with it. If you cast your net too wide and your offer won’t appeal to anyone because it will end up being very vague in an attempt to be all things to all people. If the message is too narrow, it will shut people out including a perfectly good client. This about the Goldilocks Rule: Make it just right. Specific enough to relate to your ideal buyer, but not so narrow that your market is exclusive to a handful of people!
If you tell someone about “what you do” and they say, “That’s Nice.” You have encountered the “Friend Zone” of marketing. The prospect may like what they hear but not enough to really take notice and see your company as being different. After all, the U in UVP stands for ‘unique’ and that’s what your proposition needs in order to be weighed against the competition. One way to test this idea is to cover up the logo on your website with your hand. Go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait here till you come back. 🙂 Ask yourself these questions:
- When you covered up your logo, was it still clear that this was YOUR business?
- Could I swap it out your logo for someone else and make it fit?
Be honest with yourself. If you said “yes” to the first question, you have clearly stated your UVP on the home page of your site. If you answered “yes” to the second question, you have some work to do. Look at the competition to see how they market their own strengths and talk to your customers to understand why they chose you over others. This will give you the exact information to create your UVP.
Can Your Hear Me Now?
Your UVP’s message needs to quickly resonate with your prospects and customers. Or else you risk driving them straight to your competition. Take the time to learn about your ideal buyer’s desires, pain points and feelings about your industry. Know how they prefer to communicate. Do they like using social media to talk about companies they patronize or do they still prefer to get printed materials in the mailbox? Do they perceive your product or service as something that will help them with a desire or a problem? Can your UVP help them connect the dots?
Been There, Done That
Lastly, some small business owners will create a unique value proposition that was perfect when they started. And then they changed their business model or the target market underwent some change because of trends or the economy. The point is your UVP will change over time. It’s possible you may be able to use the same one for years, but market conditions change. Part of your marketing routine needs to include listening to your customers. By keeping an eye out for potential changes to your UVP whenever their problems, desires, emotions or passions shift, you will learn to adapt and stay relevant.
As small business owners we have the opportunity to let our own authentic self shine through our daily work. We can show a unique quality that sets us apart from the competition based on who we are and how we do things. So by marketing our unique value, we can actually grow and attract customers who really want what we offer.