Your marketing message is vital. Last time I covered developing a marketing system. Today you’ll discover how to develop a killer marketing message. To do this you will need to understand five things:

  1. What is your product or service?
  2. What are the features of your product or service?
  3. What are the benefits to your customer?
  4. What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
  5. Who is your ideal customer?

The first two are the easiest to figure out for most. You know your product or service and what its features are. The features are what the product or service is or does. It’s the third item that gets a little tricky. What the the benefits? Not the benefits to you but to the customer.

The hard part here is starting to think from the customer’s perspective, not yours. What is the benefit of your product or service to your customer? People buy benefits not features. It reminds me of that old saying “people don’t buy drill bits, they buy holes,” and it’s true. Unfortunately for many business owners it’s really hard to start thinking from the customers point of view.

One good way to start doing this is to use the magic phrase “so that”. Take a feature of your product or service, add “so that” and finish the sentence. Here’s an example: Our drill bits are titanium tipped SO THAT you can drill 60 percent more holes before replacing them. The feature is the bits are titanium tipped. The benefit is the last longer and I don’t have to spend money replacing them as quickly.

For each of the features of your product or service, try to come up with at least three benefits. It will help you with the next step, developing your USP. Most owners struggle with coming up with the benefits but it will change how you communicate with customers and generate more sales!

Your USP is what sets you apart from all your competitors. It is a concise statement of why your company is the one the customer should do business with. It’s what makes you special. Why is this important? If nothing sets you apart from your competitors, you won’t get any business.

A USP isn’t “we have the best prices”, “we’ve been in business for forever”, “we’re the best”, or “we are your hometown provider”. Nearly everyone says these things and they aren’t why customers buy anyway. If price becomes the deciding factor, then everyone will slowly drive each other out of business as price cutting becomes the only way to compete.

Once you have your list of benefits, go through them carefully. Start to see which benefits stand out most significantly. These will lead you to the development of your USP.

Back in the early days of pizza delivery Dominoes developed a killer USP – “Fresh hot pizza, delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed!” Think about the benefits communicated in that short phrase. No one was doing a good job of pizza delivery at the time. Their benefits of “less than 30 minutes guaranteed” set them apart from all their competitors.

I know that developing a USP is difficult, but it means the difference between mediocre profits and a highly successful business. And in this economy can mean the difference between success and failure. Take the time to do it. Get help if you need to, but don’t brush over this one.

I wasn’t going to include the fifth point, knowing who your ideal customer is, but I’ve found that too many business don’t know this one. You can’t write a marketing message to a concept of a customer. It has to be written to an actual customer to be effective.

Think about who your ideal customer is. Who are your best customers now? Come up with specific people. Then take these people and pull them all together to develop the picture of what your best or most ideal customer looks like. Once you’ve done this, make sure that any marketing messages you write are written to this person. You’re message will be best if it is written to a real person, your ideal customer.

Your USP is most effective if it appeals to your ideal customer. As the next few days and weeks go by, keep revising and improving your definition of your ideal customer. As you do you will be able to hone in on your USP and improve your marketing messages.

Next time I’ll cover how to deliver the marketing message, but for now, get to work on developing a killer marketing message. As someone once said, “the only difference between a $20 bill and a $100 bill is the message on the paper!”


by Steven Schlagel