Small business marketing strategy will help small businesses capture what makes them unique and compelling. It helps them avoid competing on price. This should always be your goal. Maria Laino, captures that beautifully in these series of posts on small business marketing strategy.Thanks Maria!
Finding Your Value Proposition
By Maria Laino
Do you ever walk down the street, see someone wearing ripped designer jeans, and wonder, “Who would pay hundreds of dollars for that?” Really, jeans that are already torn can’t be worth that much, can they? The person paying ridiculous amounts of money for those pants finds some value in them besides their construction. Maybe it’s fashion, or the fit, but either way, that customer values the pants, otherwise he would purchase a cheaper, less holey alternative.
Danielle Douglas from How to Grow Your Business on Harlem Talk Radio recently interviewed Dawn Fotopulos, founder of hiddenprofitprophet.com about marketing tips for small businesses. The first step in marketing your business should be to identify the value proposition that your business offers. In this article, you will learn what a value proposition is and why having a strong one will give your business an advantage over the competition.
A value proposition is more than the physical product or immediate service a business offers. It also includes all the experiences the customer has on the way to obtaining and using the product or service.
For example, consider a photography business. Part of the value proposition that the photographer offers is beautiful photos. But there are also many other tangible (visible or easily perceived) and intangible benefits that the business may offer. Let’s take a look at some:
1. It is easy for a customer to book an appointment.
– Isn’t it nice when you don’t have to jump through hoops to receive service?
2. The photographer is kind and works well with children.
– Imagine all the gray hairs parents would avoid by having smiling instead of
fussy kids in family photos.
3. The photographer offers many options for sizes and finishing of photographs.
– The customer doesn’t have to compromise on what he wants.
4. The photographer uploads the photos so the customer can immediately view them or look over proofs online at home.
– The customer doesn’t have to wonder how the photos came out – he can see
them right away and even ask his friends for opinions on which to order.
As we see in the photography example, a business can offer value to its customers in many ways from convenience and customer service to the actual product and attitudes of employees.
Another way to think of your value proposition is end benefits. How is your business blessing or enhancing your customer’s lives? One company that attracts many customers through the end benefits it offers is Southwest Airlines. People love flying on Southwest because the airline’s employees are so friendly, positive, and hospitable. By hiring employees with cheerful attitudes, Southwest offers customers an intangible (or non-physical) end benefit—a great, fun flight experience.
When a business has an unbeatable value proposition, it does not need to have the lowest prices in order to attract customers. Let’s look at clothing as an example. If people bought only the lowest priced clothing, they would all be walking around wearing burlap sacks. So why do people spend more money to buy a shirt? It is because they consider other qualities of a shirt besides the obvious purpose of covering their bodies. Some features that people look for when purchasing a shirt are the style, the comfort of the material, the color, and how well it fits. And since each company offers different combinations and levels of quality in each of these areas, customers are willing to pay more to buy the shirt that offers the value they are looking for.
Your business can be the same way: by offering an exceptional customer experience from start to finish, you will attract customers based on the value you offer instead of how low your prices are.
Check out this link to our article on market segmentation to learn how to find customers who will be loyal to your value proposition.