Discover Your USP and Use It To Power Up Your Sales

Discover your USP & differentiate yourself from the rest

Discover your USP and stand out from the rest

The key to effective selling is what advertising and marketing  professionals call a “unique selling proposition” (USP). Unless you can  pinpoint what makes your business unique and makes you stand out  from your competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.

 So what is USP?
USP is the reason presented by the seller that a product or service is  different from and better than that of the competition. This is the  benefit that your customer or client receives that makes your business stand out. It’s what makes you different and earns you a special place in the minds of your potential customers.

The point is, differentiating your business is a Good Thing, whether you’re talking about the business itself, your products or your marketing. Think about it from your customer’s point of view. With tens or hundreds of potential options out there, you have to answer the question, “why should I buy from you?” If you don’t answer that question quickly and effectively, your potential customers will move on.

USP Is Not About Being the Best
Having a great product or superb content is probably not enough of a difference to make your business stand out. In most markets, having a great product is just the price of admission.

When you’re small, it’s hard to compete on product or content quality alone. You need to change the conversation. Instead of screaming “hey, look at me, I have great stuff too,” you want to confidently say, “hey, I’m all about X, we do things differently. If you’re into X, we’re the only place you can get it.” The answer is that you don’t compete at all. Instead, you become the best at something no one else is attempting.

Discovering Your Unique Selling Proposition
There are a lot of different approaches you can take to discovering your USP which might end up being a combination of things. There’s no one right answer and depending on what business you are in, even a small amount of differentiation could lead to a much greater shot at success.

Here are a few simple ways to differentiate your business. These aren’t the only ways, but it’s a starting point to get you thinking.

Use Your Personality
If you’re running a very small business or are the primary owner of your business, sometimes your personality alone can be a powerful difference. You have to have a personality that resonates with people to pull this off however. Putting your personal stamp on many aspects of your business will allow you to create something no one can directly compete with.

Explore The Intersection Of Ideas
Interesting things happen at the intersection of ideas. Mix collective buying power with the social web and you get Groupon. Mix retail buying with the web and you get Amazon. Think about the industry your business is in, and what you could add to the mix to make it more interesting and unique. It doesn’t require inventing something new, just combine two things you already know about.

Narrow Your Target Market
You can choose a narrow target market who has never had a business like yours cater specifically to it. For example, become a Financial Advisor just for Registered Nurses (RN), or a CPA just for Restaurants or an Event Planner just for large outdoor events. Think about this from the customer’s standpoint. If you were a RN and need help with financial advice, you would be inclined to choose that person who that specializes in RN.

The other benefit of specializing in a narrow market segment is that promotion becomes much easier. You know where to find your target market  and you will better know what marketing message will be appealing.

Finally, Remember You’re Not Trying to Appeal to Everyone
As you begin to develop your USP it might seem like you are leaving out some potential customers as it is a natural tendency to want to please everybody. But when you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing no one. The goal of your USP is to connect more strongly with some people, and not so much with others. This is what you want because when you connect strongly with a smaller lucrative market your revenues will increase quickly.


Top Social Media Trends Impacting Marketing Decisions for 2015

Social Media trends in 2015 for Marketers

Social Media trends impacting marketing in 2015

1. Social Media Marketing has become essential to content marketing

Marketing practitioners now understands that social media is key to content marketing since it is one of the best ways to amplify content. The two most important aspects of content marketing is publication and distribution with social media been recognized as the most effective method of expanding the reach and visibility of of published content.

2. Facebook ad pricing will  increase significantly increase

The reach of Facebook posts have been decreased significantly in 2014, which is a serious problem for business owners who are using this platform for marketing purposes. This steady decline in reach is what has been coined the Filtered Feed Problem.

As Facebook continues to limit the number of posts page fans actually see, the demand for promoted posts and ads will continue to increase. This increase in demand will drive up the pricing. According to an Ad Week article earlier this year, 2014 Q1 Facebook ad pricing was up 10% over 2013 Q4 pricing. This trend is likely to continue into 2015 as organic post reach continues to fall.

 3. There will sharp increase in users on Twitter’s new business advertising model. 

Twitter is now offering businesses more choices and flexibility in how they create their ads and what they pay for. The new fee structure allows businesses to pay for certain performance-based actions rather than just retweets or clicks. Check out Twitter’s advertsing platform here.

These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements (retweets, replies, etc.), website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.

4. Google+ is changing to bring more value to marketers

With the failure of Google’s Authorship experiment, it was felt by some that Google + did not bring a unique value to the social landscape and after the highly publicized departure of Google+ chief evangelist Vic Gundotra earlier this year  Tech Crunch felt the platform was quickly making the descent into obscurity. Having read Google CEO Larry Page in his statement about Gundotra’s departure and the fact that there a number of newly release features convinced me Google will not kill off Google +. The social network and user data infrastructure of Google is not going away.

The Google+ team has released new features such as Google+ polls and Google My Business.  Google+ polls allows you to poll other people on Google+ and learn what they think about a particular product, service or topic . Google My Business connects you directly with your customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+. Google My Business also puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that your customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using.

5. Instagram will become essential for image-based social media marketing

With over 200 million monthly users, Instagram is the network for image-based social media marketing.  According to the Social Media Marketing Industry report, 42% of marketers are planning to increase their use of the platform this year, compared to 38% in 2013. Instagram will also continue to grow in the micro-video space. With both Vine and Instagram vying for billing as the top video networking site, the platforms have continued to differentiate themselves from the other offering different features, video lengths and editing capabilities. However, I believe we’ll see Instagram begin to outpace Vine as we enter 2015.

And with the recent emergence of Instagram’s in-feed video advertising, marketers will now have the option of paying to target their 15-second videos to users based on age, gender and country. While some have called the new video ads incongruous, the new feature is a welcome addition for marketers looking to promote their wares to Instagram’s young, affluent user base.

6. LinkedIn will widen the gap as “the” B2B social network
LinkedIn has been the top network of choice for the B2B crowd for years already, and I believe we’ll see the gap between LinkedIn and other networks continue to widen in 2015. According to the 2014 Social Media Examiner survey, 88% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, compared to 89% for Facebook and 86% for Twitter. I believe 2015 is the year LinkedIn will surpass Facebook for B2B marketing.


As 2015 progresses, it will be rather interesting to see how marketing professionals take advantage of these trends to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty and drive sales. Do tell us what is working for you or share with our readers what other trends you have identified for 2015.



7 Rules To success on Social Media – According To Coke

Coke’s SVP (left) with Fortune Editor at large Patricia Sellers

Coke’s SVP (left) with Fortune Editor at large Patricia Sellers

In social media, Coke is it. Coca-Cola is the biggest consumer brand on Facebook. Recently, at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit Wendy Clark, SVP of Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities at Coca-Cola was interviewed. She shared her seven rules for building a mega-brand in social media:

 1. Be share-worthy in everything you do.

In a market that is now completely socially connected, we increasingly are thinking about our audience in two ways: our Initial Audience–those we can reach directly (52 MM Facebook fans, 600K Twitter followers, 18MM My Coke rewards members, etc)–and our Ultimate Audience, which is those people whom our Initial Audience can reach for us. For Coca-Cola, our Facebook fans are just over one fan or friend away from the entire Facebook community of 1 billion+. So if we do our job well of developing useful, compelling, interesting and share-worthy content, our fans become our sales force for us.

 2. Listen. Then respond authentically and humanly.

The days of hiding behind two-sentence corporate statements have to end. This is easier said than done. We’re still unlearning this. Consumers and all constituents expect more. Coca-Cola isn’t a faceless corporation to them; it’s a brand they love and enjoy throughout their day. So when they interact with us, they expect that same experience: a human interaction. There are more than 15,000 Tweets everyday on brand Coca-Cola; any that are a question, we answer. We have to. Consumers’ expectations are that we’re listening and responding.

3. Think big. Start small. Scale fast.

If you have an ambition that you want to double the size of your business in, say, 10 years, you had better have a big innovation pipeline to help get you there. When we’re at our best, we think massively, but we beta and test that thinking in small bets to learn. To meet our innovation (and growth) ambitions, we are trying to get much better at discussing failures or learnings. For a big company like ours, it’s critical. Because we’re built for scale and if we don’t get better at testing, learning and then scaling, we have the potential of scaling the wrong thing perfectly.

4. Social is not a silver bullet. But social can make everything else better.

So much is made of social media and marketing that we can tend to overrate what it can do. We do not see social marketing as a standalone. Rather, our mantra for our media and connections planning is “social at the heart.” So we think in terms of ideas and campaigns that are social (share-worthy) at their core and then we think about how we can amplify the ideas and campaigns.

 5. Content is the new currency. Create accordingly.

With 72 hours of content uploaded every minute on YouTube, the world is not suffering from lack of content. With this in mind, content creation has to be useful, interesting, important, share-worthy. We learned this in seeing the difference in interaction level between status updates and Tweets that we wrote vs. those that our agencies wrote. We also learned that replication isn’t always a good thing in social marketing. When we had a hit viral video in Coca-Cola Happiness machine, our first instinct was to replicate the film. We did that and had a fraction of the views.

6. We might be shepherds, stewards and guardians of our brands, but we no longer control them.

At best, we get to participate and co-create with our fans. I’d estimate that 10-20% of the content and conversation on our brands comes from us. The other 80%+ comes from others. So we need to get invited in to these communities and co-create with our fans.

 7. Think of your constituents as storytellers.

Taking the principle of Initial and Ultimate audiences, we’re increasingly thinking about all of our constituents as storytellers, not just receivers of our content. This includes our consumers, employees, NGO partners, media, etc.. So our principle becomes that we create content and tell stories that we want to be retold.





Top 4 Free Marketing Tactics to Increase Exposure

Stand out from the crowd with effective marketing

  1. Work on your social media presence – Do you actively keep a Facebook, Twitter, and Google + account? If you do not, be sure to begin today. Invite your friends and business associates to follow your account, and make your profile, page or group something that will spread. Offer something for signing up and send it to them in a private message when they do.  Make sure to regularly post amazing, useful content to the page or group so it benefits your followers. If you have the resources to take professional-quality photos or create inspiring visuals, consider using Pinterest as well. Effectively using social media can increase your company’s exposure exponentially.

2. Network in your industry – Many products can be very complimentary to other products or services. For example, if you provide peak performance coaching like Eileen Lichtenstein of Balance & Power,  you could team up with Alissa Bickarof CompassRose Development to provide a series of powerful workshops as they did. Calling other businesses that sell your product and giving them a discount is  a quick way to make steady income. Another idea would be to offer a special discount to a related business’s customers. Establishing relationships with related businesses could be very profitable in terms of both sales and exposure, depending on how you arrange the relationship and what your product or service is.

3. Clean up your website’s on-page SEO and add more content – With the recent Google Penguin updates, most sites are out of date with their on-page SEO. Make your site squeaky clean by fixing all 404’s,broken images, and other issues, and by adding lots of new, fresh, non-spammy content. The more original useful content you have on your site, the more value you add to the web and that means Google will value your site more. This technique helps convert visitors by making your website useful and valuable, and it can help you improve your search engine rankings to get more exposure and visitors.

Increased exposure leads to more customers and more revenues

4. Create lots of high-quality postings about your company on many different sites – The more content online linked to your website, the better. Make a quality lens on about your product and include the product URL on it. Go to Wikipedia and make a history page about your company (being careful to only be informative and not pitchy at all) and include the URL to your home or About Us page. Other places you can create quality content with a link back to your site include,,, and With the recent Penguin updates in mind, remember to use a variety of anchor text links, including “click here” and the URL itself. This technique helps you spread your brand and products across lots of different websites, and can help you rank better in the search engines.

Remember, while these marketing techniques do not require any money to use them, they each require a certain investment of time. Some of these techniques are one-time-only, while others are ongoing.


7 Benefits To Increasing Your Facebook Page Likes or Fans

1) Facebook Users Spend Almost 150% More Money Online Than Non-Users

A well documented study by eMarketer found that the people who used Facebook spent almost two and a half times more money online than those that did not use Facebook.  The heavy users, who are the ones that hit the like button the most, spent an average of $67 online as opposed to $27 spent online by non-users. 

2) People Who Click the Like Button are the Most Engaged Facebook Users

According to Facebook…

“People who click the Facebook Like button are more engaged, active and connected than the average Facebook user. The average “liker” has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user. They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook — they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.  As publishers work to identify the best ways to reach a younger, always on audience, we’ve found that the average “liker” on a news site is 34.”

3) Showing Up First in Facebook Search Results

Facebook has more traffic than any other site in the world, including Google.  The two key components that determine Facebook search results are the number of likes a page has and the keywords used in the title of the page.

4) The Viral Syndication of Content

The more fans you have, the greater chance you have of your posts going viral.  Facebook reports that the average user has 130 friends.  This means if you have 10,000 fans, then you have a 1st level reach of 1.3 million Facebook users (10,000 fans multiplied by 130 friends each).  This is the power of Facebook.  One great post could lead to millions reading your message.

5) More Traffic to Your Website

Here are some impressive recent stats from Facebook integration with businesses…

  • The average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300% increase in referral traffic.
  • Users coming to the from Facebook spend 85% more time, read 90% more articles and watch 85% more videos than a non-connected user.
  • Levi’s saw a 40 times increase in referral traffic from Facebook after implementing the Like button in April 2010 and has maintained those levels since.
  • When a Ticketmaster user posts a specific event they are attending, or may want to attend, to Facebook, it generates $5.30 of direct ticket sales.

6) The Higher Your Fan Count, The More People Will Like You

On Facebook  some people decide whether or not to become a fan based on the number of fans you already have.  Having over 200 Likes will effect on how many people choose to like your page.

7) The Facebook Fan Count is the New Better Business Bureau Stamp of Approval

If you place the Facebook widget in a prominent spot on your website, then it can dramatically influence the conversion ratio of your entire site.  By seeing that 100s of people have recommended or liked your page on Facebook, it gives your website visitors a perceived sense of trust that leads to more conversions.