How to Set Yourself Apart from Your Competitors Online | Creative Juices Podcast | #11

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How to set yourself apart from your competitors online

Today we are going to be talking about an aspect of your website that needs to change but most people don’t, because they think it’s too hard. Your USP.

What’s In This Episode?

  • What Problem Does Your Business Solve? (4:40)
  • What Sets You Apart? (7:45)
  • The USP Formula (10:05)
  • Our Own USP (13:12)
  • USP Examples (15:35)

Mentioned Resources

Blog: How to Write a Ferocious Unique Selling Proposition
Saddleback Leather
Taylor Stitch
Test Your Site For Free!

The Transcript

The Transcript

Josh: Today we are going to be talking about an aspect of your website that needs to change, but most people don’t, because they think it’s too hard. It’s the very thing that drives your entire online marketing efforts.


Welcome to Creative Juices, the show where we help you feel personally confident about your online presence. I’m your host Josh, and today I’m joined by the whole crew both Jules and Em


Julz: The gang is back!


Em: Three amigos!


Josh: The three amigos! The entire Creative Juices team.


Em: Trifecta!


Josh: How’re you guys doing?


Julz: Good man!


Em: Good!


Josh: Good! Well today is an exciting one. We’re talking about something that most people don’t actually spend much time on. And so, here’s the thing. When you’re entering the online world of business it can be daunting to realize that there’s hundreds of sites that offer similar or the same service as you. Like for us, we entered into a space that literally everyone kind of wants to be. You know, I just want to build websites for clients.


Julz: There is an abundance!


Josh: There is an abundance! But it shouldn’t put you off actually starting that business. And there are ways that you can appeal to an audience, and as I’ve heard it said online, there’s a seat at the table for you, there’s a seat at the table for everyone! And so, the key is how you actually set yourself apart from the competition, and so that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. It’s less about the technical side of websites. It’s more about the marketing and the identity side of your business and yeah, and so that’s what we’re talking about today. So in the blogging and influencer world people talk about something similar and in your experience, what’s that?


Em: So that would be a niche. So it’s really like focusing down on a certain topic, in a really niche way so that you have one thing that you talk about, that you might become the expert in. And so people come to you because they know that they’re going to find information on that one thing. So it’s not just a broad, I talked about this and that. It’s like this is the one thing that people come to me for.


Josh: So, for you in the blogging world, you kind of started off a little bit broad. Right?


Em: Yeah!


Josh: And then you niched down?


Em: Yeah! So I started off a bit broader, talking about a bunch of different things and that was a way that helped me find out what was popular and what people wanted to hear about. And so, once I did that, I found out that everyone was really interested in a certain plant that I talk about, which is Fiddle Leaf Figs. So now a lot of my blog content is just focused on Fiddle Leaf Fig care. So, that’s kind of one of, or it really is my niche.


Josh: So your niche is Fiddle Leaf Figs. And so, you speak about Fiddle Leaf Figs, but you also have filled your entire house with Fiddle Leaf Figs!


Em: It’s true!


Josh: A whole forest!


Em: It’s research!!


Josh: And so that’s called a niche, but when it comes to monetizing, what you, and when it comes to like businesses, what’s another word for that?


Julz: That’d be a USP or a ‘unique selling proposition’.


Josh: A USP which is also known as a UVP. Right?


Julz: Yeah. Some people call it UVP, depends on what blogs you’ve been reading.


Josh: Yeah! So, unique selling proposition or unique value proposition. It’s pretty much your selling point, right?


Julz: Yeah it’s sort of what sets you apart or what your major kind of value is really, that you’re bringing.


Josh: Yeah. Because in a saturated market, you need to show yourself as different.


Julz: Yeah.


Josh: As offering some sort of value.


Julz: Which is hard in a saturated market.


Josh: Definitely!


Julz: So this is probably like a really tough thing to nail down. Like we spent ages trying to figure out our USP or UVP, especially when you’re in a market that has, so many different options. And you don’t want to be so abstract and creative that it just doesn’t make sense.


Josh: Yeah! Definitely, and so if you’re in like a local business, it may be a little bit easier than if you’re in like a worldwide business?


Julz: Yeah.


Josh: But, it’s still important to define your USP. And once you define your USP, it should be clearly visible throughout all of your marketing, on your website, throughout your copy and on your headlines. And so, we’re going to talk about, how do you figure out your USP.


Em: Yeah, so that’s a great question and one of the first things you can do is just think about what problem your business solves. So, how do you help your customers or why do your customers come to you? What value do you give? So, starting off with what you offer and what people value from your service is a great way to start digging into what your USP could be.


Josh: But you don’t just want to say this is what we do, right?


Em: No!


Josh: Okay, so needs to be more how?


Em: So maybe customers are saying they really love a certain aspect of a business or an aspect of what you do. So maybe you highlight your highlights! What are the good points about your business, that your customers love? So more than just your service or the thing that you offer. Maybe you have superfast delivery or maybe you’re open after hours so people can come into your business after work. Things like that. Something that sets you apart from your competition, that people find valuable.


Julz: Like I saw one the other day that was about an email marketing system. And it was something like ‘design and send unlimited emails easily’. I was like, well that sounds pretty simple, like sign up for free! That was their call-to-action, and I thought that was a pretty good USP or UVP.


Josh: Yeah! Definitely! Another on that I’ve seen lately is there’s a local company has just started up who does sourdough called Two Bob’s Bakery. Have you heard of it?


Em: Yes!


Josh: Have you had their bread?


Em: Yes! It’s so tasty!


Josh: So good! And so they’re a little bit different in that their product is superior to everything else. They hand make it early in the morning. You go down at like 6:00 a.m. and there’s already a line waiting for this bread. And so for them, their USP is really just the quality of their product. But for a lot of us, and particularly in the service industry wherever you go they offer the same service. And so, you have to find those things that set you apart. Like for example, there’s these two options, just listen to this. ‘We offer pest control services for your home’ or ‘your home will be safe from the attack of pests’. It’s not about what you offer. There’s so many pest control people who offer services, pest control service for their home, but the different statement of your home will be safe from the attack of pests kind of plays into the psychology of the person. He’s going I’m scared that my house is going to be attacked by pests. And so, it’s less about the service that you offer, unless it’s superior, but it’s more about solving the customer problem.


Julz: Yeah


Josh: Yeah and so the first thing was to answer the question what problem does your business solve. And there’s a second part to this as well.


Em: Yeah, and that’s really finding what sets you apart. We’ve already talked about that. Maybe your product’s superior, or maybe you have some aspect of your business that other people just aren’t doing, or maybe you do it really well. So maybe some things that could for example set businesses apart, is that maybe two websites would sell the same product. Maybe it’s a hair straightener. So where is a person going to buy that product? Are they going to buy it on website A or website B? So something that sets those two websites apart would be that maybe one offers free shipping. So maybe there’s two postal services with the same shipping price, but maybe one has a guarantee of next day delivery. So that would be another thing that sets those businesses apart. But keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to be price related. It could be really anything! So yeah! It doesn’t have to be price. Think about what you do well or what your customers like about your business.


Josh: It comes down to value.


Em: Yes!


Josh: People always freaked out, like saying oh I need to reduce my prices to get more sales. It’s not always the case. If you provide extra value or extra, I don’t know, it could just be brand awareness. There’s a reason why Nike can sell standard sneakers for 200 bucks. Because there’s authority to the name. And so, it’s not always about price. It’s just value.


And so, the two questions that you need to ask yourself to figure out your USP is what problem does your business solve? And number two, find what sets you apart. And so, your example Julian of the email company. Number one, it was make unlimited emails anywhere easily?


Julz: Yes. Send unlimited emails.


Josh: Yeah, so that solves the problem.


Julz: Yeah.


Josh: Because every other email service…


Julz: … has a cap. Yeah!


Josh: And then, find what sets you apart! What was their call to action?


Julz: It was a 14-day free trial or something like that.


Josh: Free trial straight up! Oh I can try this for free! Unlimited emails! Straight up, that’s a USP that people would buy into!


Julz: Yeah!


Josh: And so now that you have an idea of how your business solves a problem, and you know the unique thing that sets you apart, how do you actually wordsmith that into a website?


Em: That’s the hard part! Right? Yeah, so we want to make sure it’s really tailored to the customer. So you’re speaking to the customer. You’re not just telling them what you do, but you’re answering their problem. So a few ways you can do that is by making it really clear in the language you use. So this might not be something that you can bang out in five minutes. It might be something that you do with a group of people or you tweak it out over a little bit of time. It might not be like a quick thing to do, but it’s really important to do it well, and get it really clear, and also get feedback from other people. Share it with people and see if they understand the message that you’re trying to give!


Julz: Yeah. You probably won’t nail it first time either.


Em: Yes!


Josh: In our experience, we didn’t. Did we?


Julz: No, I think we were at version 10!


Josh: But the feedback is massive! Particularly feedback from people within your target market, because there’s a reason why you’re targeting them. And so, instead of going to someone outside of your target market to get feedback, actually go to the people you want to reach!


Julz: Yeah!


Josh: And so, you want to make it clear, short and punchy! You don’t want it to be like 20 paragraphs long.


Em: No!


Josh: And you don’t want it to be about you.


Em: No! And make it visible. So a lot of times, things can be missed if they’re only in one spot in your business or on your website. So make sure it’s highly visible and don’t just put it in one spot, but put it on your home page, put it on your services page, maybe put it at your reception desk. Try a bunch of things!


Josh: Mmm, it really should be incorporated throughout everything!


Em: Yes!


Josh: And so, what you should do is…. here’s some questions that I’ve found that make it very easy to get into your customers head to help solve their problem. Number one is what does your perfect customer really want? Number two, how can your product or service solve their problem or problems? Number three, what factors motivate their buying decisions? And number four, why do your existing customers choose your business over your competitors? So that pretty much summarizes everything that we’ve been talking about. But here’s the issue, when it actually comes to writing it, there’s really no formula is there? You kind of just want to target it towards your target market because it’s all about trying to convert them to a purchase, or an appointment, or a service.


Julz: Yeah!


Josh: And so, so many people just go I want to write this statement just about me. Look how good I am! There’s a little bit of stroking your ego. But it’s less about you. It’s all about the customer! So what will bring them through the door or what would bring them to your checkout?


Julz: Yeah! Definitely!


Josh: Yeah, and so our USP is a little bit different. Like I said, there’s no formula. If you go online, it will say that there’s a formula but your USP is as unique as you are!


Julz: Yeah.


Josh: And so our one kind of bends the rules a little bit, and Julian, what did we settle on?


Julz: Well, I’m all about bending the rules! Yeah, I just wasn’t satisfied with basically anything that we’d come up with.


Josh: And so, what did we have?


Julz: What did we have? I think it was something generic like you, know those best marketing, the best digital marketing in Newcastle or something like that?


Josh: Yeah.


Julz: Something super vague, and like cool!


Josh: Awesome! Every other digital marketer in Newcastle said that!


Julz: You sound just like the problem. So yeah! I kind of went back to the drawing board, and that whole psychology thing, that was really what started to trigger my thought pattern on it, because I was like, really most people who are coming to our website, they’ve got a problem. Generally it’s with their website and we were starting to niche down into websites. So it was more about asking them the question. It was kind of like asking them a question, but also sort of validating it at the same time. So our USP turned into ‘Is your website working for you or against you?’


Josh: Which is so great, because in our industry people actually don’t know the answer to that question!


Julz: No no!


Josh: They don’t even think about it!


Julz: No, they never do. But they…. and I wanted…. that was like the core thing! It was like, that was what I really wanted to peek people to go ‘well I don’t actually know’. I wanted to make them think about it. And the curiosity you know, kills the cat, and it happens every time!


Josh: And through that statement, we’re implying that your website can work for you!


Julz: Yeah! Exactly!


Josh: And if it’s not working for you, then it must be working against you!


Julz: Yeah, and so our call-to-action was ‘test your site for free’.


Josh: Which is what sets us apart!


Julz: Yeah!


Josh: We will give you an audit of your website, in depth, for free!


Julz: Yeah


Josh: Massive!


Julz: Massive and it worked! Instantly, like within a day or two, I think we already started getting leads. So that was very cool!


Josh: But it’s not the same as what they say on all the blogs.


Julz: Like, you know, we’re not the same as every other agency out there!


Josh: That’s so true! Really, it’s such a great example of a USP that’s very different. But there are a few other examples that I have found throughout my searching of the web. Some of my favorite ones, listen to this one guys, ready? This one’s my favorite one. It’s by Saddleback Leather and so they create leather goods. Their little tagline, the start of their USP is ‘They’ll fight over it when you’re dead’ and then they offer a 100 year warranty!!


Julz: Wow!


Josh: And so they’re going ‘hey this will be more than just a product, it’s more of a legacy!’ And so they back it up with something that sets them apart, which is a 100 year warranty.


Em: It’s very creative.


Josh: …which unless you purchase one of their products at the age of one, you probably won’t be able to see out that warranty.


Julz: Or left those instructions in your will….


Josh: So that’s a great one, and you’ll see that throughout the entire copy on their site. Another great one is Tattly which is fake tattoos by real artists. And so their USP is that we’re going to provide fake tattoos, but unlike every other fake tattoo company, we actually have tattoo artists who design these for you.


Julz: That’s cool!


Josh: …which is awesome! And so throughout their entire copy they keep bringing it back to ‘hey we’re actually real artists here!’


Julz: Yeah!


Josh: ‘That’s what sets us apart’. And then another one is Tailor Stitch. They said ‘We design new products. You crowdfund them and save 20%. Our planet takes on less waste. We deliver them when they’re seasonally appropriate. Everyone wins!’


Julz: There’s a massive USP!


Josh: It is massive, but they condense it down to ‘We design new products, you crowdfund them.’


Julz: OK.


Josh: And so, the whole thing is you look at that and you go, ‘We design new products but you crowdfund them.’ What is that? And then, what sets them apart? Well when you crowdfund it, you save 20%!


Julz: The whole curiosity thing!


Josh: Yeah. And then, because you’re the one who crowdfunds that, when it’s appropriate seasonally, there’s less waste, because they’re not going to sell hundreds of product or make hundreds of products that aren’t going be used, and everyone wins!


Julz: Yeah, cool!


Josh: It’s pretty cool! Then the next one is Third Love which is a women’s lingerie shop which I found on another blog. I wasn’t just searching for women’s lingerie, but their one was ‘you know your body, we know you’re fit’.


Julz: Nice!


Josh: So really cool! It’s about the customer.


Julz: Yeah. It’s very personal in a way.


Josh: Definitely, and it’s one line, and it may be a tag line, but like that’s the thing. You want to look at your USP. What problem do you solve or does your business solve? And then, what sets you apart, and then wordsmith that and chuck it all throughout your website!! So, we will link below, I will link to some of those websites with the great USPs and I’ll also link to another article that will help.


But that’s it for today Thank you Jules and Em.


Julz: No worries!


Em: Thanks Josh!


Josh: Thanks audience for listening.


On the next episode, Episode 12, we are going to talk about the best marketing tool that everyone has in their arsenal, and why that is the best marketing tool.


We’ll leave it at that!

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