Before you begin thinking about marketing strategies for your business, you need to have a clear idea of your unique value proposition; this is what sets you apart from your competitors and makes you best able to serve your target customers.
Quality and customer service are two effective unique value propositions. In part one of this two part series, we will help you consider how to convey your value via the quality of your product or service, and the special experience you provide to your customers.
Unique Value Proposition: Quality
First, it’s important to figure out what makes your product or service special. Do unique processes go into making your product? Are your products handmade? Are they locally sourced? All of these details impact your customers’ perception of the quality of your product.
Here are surefire ways to convey quality to your customers:
1. Share Your Unique Process
Use social media or your website to share images of what goes into the unique creation of your products. Do you create furniture? Post photos or videos that capture all the attention to detail that goes into making your furniture and the inherent craftsmanship in each piece.
If you’re running a food business, show the ingredients you cook with. If you source the ingredients from a local farmer’s market, share photos of your fresh bounty with your customers.
2. Show That Your Product is Handmade
Customers recognize that there is an inherent value in a handmade product versus one which is mass-produced to be sold in huge quantities. A handcrafted item is unique and sometimes of superior quality to one produced in a factory. Showing that your products are handmade allows you to differentiate yourself from other retailers.
SKT Ceramics shares beautiful videos and photos of the painstaking process which goes into designing her products and bringing them to fruition. Being invited into the studio via video gives the customer a real sense of connection with the product, as well as demonstrates the handiwork which goes into the creation of each custom piece.
3. Make Your Packaging as Special as Your Product
Make sure your packaging conveys the quality of the product inside. If your product is meant to be gifted, beautiful packaging can elevate the gift experience for the recipient. Think of that iconic, robin’s egg blue Tiffany box. That stunning presentation immediately communicates there is something luxurious and special inside. Think about how you might be able to bring that type of anticipation to your product by creating enticing packaging.
Unique Value Proposition: Customer Service
For many small businesses, customer service is one of the best ways that you can compete with other businesses. Zappos is a great example of a business who puts customers first. They pioneered their service by offering free shipping both ways because they want their customers to know that being satisfied with their product is important.
As a small business owner, you may not be able to take on substantial costs like Zappos, but there are other ways you can show your customers that serving them and making sure they have a good experience is front-and-center to your business model.
1. Introduce Yourself
Get to know your customers. Ask them about their experience with your brand. One of the best examples of this are restaurant owners who visit with their customers while they’re dining so they can solicit feedback about the meal. This is a one-on-one way to show your customers you care about their experience.
2. Speak Your Customer’s Language
Do you provide a professional service, such as custom website design? If so, learn to speak your client’s language and use layman’s terms, especially if they’re not tech-savvy. This can help you translate their ideas into a finished product they’ll be happy with. Being on the same page with your client is a great way to distinguish yourself.
3. Good Manners Go a Long Way
It is important to use good old-fashioned manners. One Etsy seller sends handwritten notes thanking customers for buying her product. Her personal touch makes her customers feel like she really cares about each product and the people who buy them.
Remember, your value proposition should be front-and-center of any creative marketing strategy. If you’re not quite sure what yours is, take some time to think about it. Knowing what your values are can help you communicate why your business is special to your customers, and let them know they should chose you because of the quality of your products and your superior service.
Be sure to check out part 2 of our Creative Marketing Strategy series, Price and Social Impact.