The most skilled marketers still have trouble positioning their own businesses.
Today’s post is for anyone who isn’t attracting the right type of prospects. I’m going to share a classic Copyblogger exercise that could be a game-changer for your marketing, even if you have no interest in nail salons.
Let me explain.
Spotting a fake USP
A few years ago, in Why Content Marketers Need Editors, I shared that I enjoy painting my nails myself.
I now prefer getting a professional manicure, but like any discerning consumer I did a good amount of research before making the switch.
My first hurdle was that all nail salons looked the same to me. I never found a clear frontrunner that compelled me to give up my at-home nail routine.
Then about six months ago, I walked past Organic Nail Salon.
I checked out their website, and at first glance their unique selling proposition (USP) appealed to my sensibilities: organic, plant-based nail polish and skin care products.
Their services were more expensive than regular nail salons, but that’s typical for any product or service that claims to be “organic.”
And I don’t think the company is lying.
But I never made an appointment there.
Spotting the same USP, with one important difference
About a month ago, still in search for the right manicurist, I walked past Let’s Be Real Nail Salon.
When I checked out their website, they had a lot of the same features as Organic Nail Salon — with one extra, important detail.
They addressed the fact that nail polish isn’t natural.
It’s just not.
Let’s Be Real Nail Salon explained that their products contain fewer chemicals than most, but it’s still nail polish.
Their copy ends with a simple, memorable phrase:
“No toxic relationships here.”
I was the ideal prospect for both salons, but Let’s Be Real Nail Salon’s USP:
Since Organic Nail Salon failed to do those two things, their USP appeared fake and was just as ineffective as no USP.
An extra layer of authenticity
Organic Nail Salon’s fake USP made it blend in with all my other options.
Their list of organic features are just that … features. They weren’t positioned as benefits that persuade prospects by connecting with them on an emotional level (more on that below).
So, I didn’t pick the nail salon that sounded like hype. I picked the nail salon that acknowledged they use nail polish — and the one that saw an opportunity to attract people who call bullshit on hype.
This lesson directly translates to anyone who offers writing services.
If you’re a content marketer and copywriter, you can’t only state that you’ll help businesses attract new prospects and convert them into customers.
Every other content marketer and copywriter says the exact same thing.
You need to demonstrate your methodology, philosophy, and the results a prospect will see when they choose you over someone else.
To start, dig deeper to reveal what sets you apart.
Exercise: extract true benefits to craft your true USP
Now let’s put it all together to help you:
- Identify what you do differently that produces unparalleled results
- Match the conversation going on in your ideal prospect’s head
- Address objections
Brian Clark’s four-step process for extracting true benefits comes in handy when you’re crafting a true USP:
- Make a list of every feature of your product or service.
- Ask yourself why each feature is included in the first place.
- Take the “why” and ask “how” it connects with the prospect’s desires.
- Get to the absolute root of what’s in it for the prospect at an emotional level.
His advice sums up what you’re looking to achieve: “Sell with benefits, support with features.”
I love the manicurist who now does my nails at Let’s Be Real Nail Salon, but I was still curious about Organic Nail Salon, so I asked her if she had heard anything about it.
She said, “No comment.”
Smart girl. It made me like her even more.