Is Your Company’s Positioning Statement Accurate?

how to determine market positioning

Positioning is like a roadmap for your business. It drives all of your branding, messaging and marketing.

A clear positioning statement defines:

  • Who you are.
  • Who you help (your target market).
  • HOW you help (the problems you solve or needs you fill for clients).
  • Your USP (unique selling proposition).
    What makes you different/better than the competition?

Static Messaging Is…Ho Hum…Stale.
Your messaging should not be static. It needs to evolve along with what’s going on in the world – politically, economically, culturally.

If not, your brand will be out-ot-touch and not be seen as authentic. Since authenticity is a key driver of customer acquisition and retention, you can’t afford for that to happen.

In this INC article titled “In the Age of Brand Authenticity, Most Marketers Are Missing the Mark”, author Amy Balliet claims’ ”Only about one in every three marketers consider reworking their brand messaging and positioning when planning their overall marketing strategy.”

If you fall into that category, you’re missing out on growing your business.

So how does authentic and timely positioning work?

According to a  Zoom article titled, “Positioning in the age of authenticity”,  “Authentic positioning means your words match your actions.”

The days of allowing your business to say one thing but do another are long gone.  Customers want to know what you stand for and who you are.

Claiming to run a green company when you’re really not doing all you can to save the environment will eventually backfire.

Ever Heard of Greenwashing?

From misleading packaging claims to pseudo recycling that still harms the environment, companies that greenwash are eventually found out.

Check out this article from zoom.org, 10 Companies and Corporations Called Out For Greenwashing.

It’s not just oil companies that claim to do one thing but in reality do something else. Giant banks and investment firms claiming to be eco-friendly lend money to companies that pollute the environment and contribute to global warming. There’s still culpability. And consumers aren’t letting companies get away with that any more.

It’s All About Trust.

Companies that garner customers’ trust are the ones that will succeed in a turbulent marketplace….which is what we’re seeing at the moment.

Are gas companies screwing us at the pump or are they simply passing on increased prices they’re paying?

Can we trust that organic products we purchase in the grocery store really are?

Are the medications we take as pure as pharma companies claim they are?

We like to do business with companies we trust. Fortunately, in an age of unlimited media (thank you, Google), sussing out misleading claims is fairly easy. Eventually, dishonest companies get found out.

What can YOUR small business do to boost authenticity and accurately position your brand?

Here are three simple to-do’s to earn (and keep) your clients’ trust:

  1. If you say you’ll do something, do it.
    People remember and will hold you accountable.
  2. Don’t abandon your clients.
    There’s nothing worse than disappearing after the project. It says to the customer “We got paid. That’s all we care about.”
  3. Let clients know you want them to be happy with your work.
    Ask for their feedback (good or bad) and use it to improve how you work.

We are forgiving people. If we believe you’re sincere about mistakes you’ve made and changes you’re making in your company, you can recapture our loyalty. And loyal customers are what every small business wants.

Need convincing?

According to this article in Forbes titled “The Value Of Investing In Loyal Customers,” Keeping your current customers happy and making repeat purchases is key to growth for almost every business.”

It’s easy enough to do if you make authenticity and customer care part of your corporate culture. It’s certainly far easier that prospecting for new customers.

Leave a Reply

Logged in as Rickey Gold. Log out?

Read more about creating a remarkable customer experience.

 

 

Leave a comment

Why aren’t people opening your emails?

Getting people to open your emails can be daunting.

With overloaded inboxes and so many subject lines vying for attention, yours really needs to pop to get opened..

As marketers, we are constantly working to improve open rates. After hovering around 31% for several years and being ok with that number (since the average open rate for marketing newsletters is 20.5% according to Campaign Monitor), we’ve noticed a consistent increase in our open rates in the past year. The last newsletter we sent out got a 51% which is pretty great.

What are we doing differently? 

A number of things. And we want to share some tips about what we’ve done that might help you boost your open rates too.

  1. Research.
    We pay close attention to what makes us stop while scrolling through our inboxes and also those we zip right by. That helps us write better subject lines of our own.
  2. Do your own due diligence.
    I remember reading articles not that long ago that suggested writing subject lines like:
    • Don’t open this email.
    • Limited time offer.
    • You don’t want to miss this.
    • This is your last chance.

Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.

I regularly zipped right past those in my inbox. So obviously I wasn’t going to write anything like that.

If you’re not sure that your subject lines are screaming “open me, open me”, do some A/B testing.

3.  Appeal to people’s natural curiosity.
Spend enough time writing your subject lines until you find what works.

SInce our goal is to craft subject line copy that’s compelling, intriguing and fun, rather than a subject line with one topic, we mention two or three. Like these recent examples::

    • Business trends, gallery openings and more.
    • Some fun things to do and new biz tips to try.
    • Perfect clients, bunnies, and more…..
    • Messaging, Live Networking and some (Free) Stuff You Need

That tactic seems to be a little more interesting to readers who like variety and choices. More like a buffet of goodies than one topic that may or may not be of interest to your entire list.

4. Make the content worthwhile.
Remember getting magazines in the mail and being so excited to dive right in and see what goodies they held?

That’s how you want people to feel about your newsletters.

So think about mixing it up a little. We still focus on marketing topics. But we also share interesting places we find and fun things to do in Chicago….with a focus on local and women-owned businesses. We call them Small Business Shoutouts. And every month we get more feedback from subscribers who say “Love your newsletter!”

That certainly helps the open rate if your readers look forward to reading each issue.

5. Make it visually appealing.

The design of your newsletter has a major impact on how readers respond.

A well-designed document enhances your brand and presents your business  professionally. Smart use of white space, a clean, easy-to-read typeface, a scannable layout, compelling images — all of these affect how well your newsletter is received. And opened.

Adobe shares some smart design advice in this article about newsletter design titled: Captivate your audience with simple, stunning newsletter designs.

That’s a wrap for this month.

Hope this post gives you some good ideas on getting more clicks on your emails and newsletters. If you still need help, we’re always happy to chat.

Leave a comment

It’s OK to turn down business.

turning down business
Sorry, we can’t help you.

It happens to all small business service providers if you’ve been in business long enough. You meet with a potential client. She needs a fill-in-the-blank-with-what-you-offer and wants you to quote on it. In our case – a new website.

You go back to the office, review your meeting notes and consult with your partners. Something feels off. You might not be able to put your finger on it but you have a bad feeling about this potential project. Maybe the person you met with was argumentative, negative or challenging. Or it could be just one of those gut things.

What do you do?

Don’t do this: We NEED the Business.

First of all, how badly do you need this business? Enough to put yourself through a month or two of misery? Because that’s what you might be getting into.

It’s one thing when your business is new and you need all the work you can get. You might overlook the danger signs and figure it will be fine once the project starts. Or just accept the stress as part of launching a new business. We get it. We’ve been there.

But after you’ve been established for a while, will you do the same?

Do THIS!

If you’ve been in a caustic relationship a few times, odds are you won’t be eager to say yes. Unless you really need the income, it boils down to a simple decision: are you willing to subject yourself to a difficult and stressful situation? Or would you be better off saying “Sorry, we don’t feel we can help you” and moving on?

We had this happen a few weeks ago. A potential client approached us to build a website. She seemed nice enough. We gave her a proposal. She called to say our quote was too high and asked us to drop our fee. Then she wanted to know how many hits we could guarantee to the site we would build for her.

After a brief company discussion, we declined the job.

Not because of her problem with our fee. We understand that not everyone can pay what we charge for a website. Even though our fees are well within the reasonable range for small business website development, not all small businesses have marketing budgets. We get it. It was the “give us a guarantee” ask that turned us off.

Google and Facebook ads have changed organic search. Now there are many variables and active competition for those 4 or 5 first page queries. Search positioning is still related to how well your site is written and the organic use of keywords, but we will not offer a guarantee.

We will, however, advise you on things you can do to help your website work for you. For example….

  • using social media to promote your site
  • adding new content reflecting changing keyword usage
  • staying on top of what you competitors are doing (are they advertising and if so, where?).

And if you want to ramp things up, we can connect you with folks who’ll help you run Google ad campaigns to keep you visible in search results for targeted terms.

The Upside of Saying No

So if your gut is telling you this might not be a great client for you, listen. Something else will come along. It usually does. In our case, a few days later, we met with a really nice client whose new website we are happily designing.

To read more on working with dysfunctional people, here’s a great blog post by Daphne Gray-Grant about dealing with difficult editors. Pretty much applies to difficult clients as well.

Leave a comment

Done or done right?

There’s a big difference between done and done right.

when it doesn't turn out right
Done. But not right!

You’re starting a new business and you’re on a limited budget. Your head is spinning with all that needs to be done, and most of it is being done by you. But you’ve never built a website and you don’t really have time to learn how now.

What to do? Maybe you’ll hire the cheapest person you can find just to get a site up. That way, at least you’ll have something to show for marketing.

Bad move.

Your website is the face of your business, the representation of your brand. The worst way to start a business is to skimp on your brand. Would your skimp on your product? Not likely.

Just because there are build-your-own-website-in-an-hour sites doesn’t mean that’s a good idea for your new business. Think about it.

Suppose your new company will sell customized products online. You need e-commerce and a secure shopping cart. Do you know which one is best for customized products? What about online customer service? How will you handle queries?

Then there are hosting concerns. Who should you use to host your site? Whoever you select better offer SSL or Chrome will label your site “not secure”. Not all webhosts provide SSL certification. Do you have time to research the best vendors for your tech needs?

Speaking of tech…..what about tech support, maintenance and backup? Your site needs to be monitored for dead links and security issues. Updates need to be installed as they come out. (We’re WordPress people — updates, including plugins, come out regularly). Odds are your bargain site builder will not handle that for you. So you’ll need to get up to speed on backend issues. Because you can’t afford for your site to crash or be down for any length of time.

Of course, your site will need to be responsive so that it looks the same and loads fast on all devices…..and various browsers. Do you know how to do that?

Behind the scene is only part of the game. There’s also the front end – how your website looks — your business’s face to the world. Are you versed in UX (user experience)? If a visitor to your site has a bad one, odds are she won’t become a customer.

You need to understand navigation so that visitors to your site find it easy to get around and find what they want. You need some design knowledge so your site is visually compelling. You need to understand SEO (search engine optimization) so that visitors find you in the first place. If you’re not a good writer, it’s hard to write engaging copy. Even if you are a decent writer, do you know how to write for the Internet where patience is not a commodity?

So, yes, you might be able to get your new website done on the cheap. But odds are it won’t be done right. And that’s a lousy way to start a new business.

Leave a comment