May 11, 2010

Is your Unique Selling Proposition holding you back?

Quick survey question:

You just moved to a new city, let’s say Des Moines, to open a branch office for your company.  You’re new to the area, and you need to find a law firm to help you register the business and navigate legal questions related to hiring.  Which phrase would you Google to find a law firm?

A)  Big firm experience, small firm attention
B)  Des Moines Corporate Attorney

Did you choose B?  That’s the one I chose, because that’s how Google has trained me to find companies.  We search by business type, specialization and region to find the companies that fit our specific needs.  In this case, we search for an attorney specialized in corporate law based in Des Moines.

The challenge for a lot of websites is they use unique selling propositions, like the one in option A, to position themselves.  A unique selling proposition is a statement used to differentiate a company, a product or a service.  Here are few famous USP’s:

  • “We’re number 2, we try harder” – Avis
  • “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight” – FedEx
  • “You get younger-looking skin” – Olay

The unique selling proposition is a great tool to define an organization’s point of differentiation, but does very little to get it found in Google.  Do you search “We try harder” or “car rental”?

Google is a major influence on how companies position and brand themselves.  Rather than articulating how you are unique and different, the first step is to be found.  To do that companies have to embrace their categories and state proudly who they are, what they do, who they serve, and where they serve them.

Companies that come up first in Google have two distinct brand advantages:

  1. More leads:  Top search rank delivers more traffic to your site.
  2. More credible: Top search results provide the perception that the firm is a leader in its category.

What brand category do you operate in?  A basic way to figure that out is to ask your customers how they would find you online.  When you search those phrases, do you come up first?  If not, now’s the time to look at your messaging, your web content and your search engine optimization to identify how you can position your company to achieve top search results.

Google has predisposed your customers to search for categories.  Use that understanding to position your company to fit your customers’ expectations.  When someone lands on your site, you only have 5 seconds to explain who your company is and what it does.  So be blunt, and give them what they want.  Once you have your visitor’s attention and trust, you can demonstrate how you are different and share your unique selling proposition.

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