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Is your USP picked to grow your business too? »

phone boxesFirstly many businesses do what everyone else in their industry does. So they tend to get a “share” of the same results.

And they look the same to their customers too!

And the reason for doing the same is that the risk to your money is less. After all if everyone in your industry is doing it, it must work!

The problem is one for the customer as they then have to decide who to select if you all do the same things for customers. Do they select on price? Or perceived quality? Maybe on geographical location?

If you’ve had a brush with any type of marketing you’ll know you need a USP. Often known as a Unique Selling Proposition.

So what’s yours? Remember that everyone is your industry is trying to create their own USP and the people who don’t really understand the concept use USPs like these:

  • We have the best quality
  • We have the best value for money
  • We are the most dependable
  • We are the cheapest
  • We are the fastest

The problem with all these USPs is that often you’ll find others claiming the same Unique Selling Proposition! Which of course negates it’s uniqueness.

Although if you look at the USPs I’ve noted they’re often meaningless. The first one says the best quality, what does that mean? The best quality for the customer, for the product, versus competing products?

Another “USP” says the most dependable. Shouldn’t the customer expect that whatever they buy dependably does what they bought it for?

As to “we’re the cheapest”, that’s a very rocky road. Being the cheapest when you’re not the biggest invites a price war with your competitors and means your profit margins will be slim to nil. Certainly a recipe for disaster. Especially if the bigger player decides to cut prices below your cost price!

So remember don’t follow the herd with your unique selling proposition, instead seriously search for the things that really make you unique and will help your customers differentiate you from everyone else in your market place.

A Unique Strategic Position

More than that. Think about replacing Unique Selling proposition, which is all about selling to the customer, with a Unique Strategic Position which is all about deciding how you want to be perceived before, during and after a sale.

A unique strategic position allows you to decide how you want the customer to see you in your busy market place. How they will interact with you and how you believe they will best be served in continuing to do business with you.

9 pointers to improve your Twitter Reach and followers »

Paul André, a post-doctoral fellow in Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) was lead author of a study into how Twitter messages are perceived.

That’s something Twitter users rarely get, if ever. Which is partly down to the transient nature of Tweets.

André  with Michael Bernstein and Kurt Luther, doctoral students at, respectively, MIT and Georgia Tech created the website"Who Gives a Tweet?" to collect reader evaluations of tweets.

From the evaluations that were done using the web site they drew up 9 lessons that could be learnt from using Twitter. And I suspect these lessons apply to other social media sites too.

The lessons (taken from Carnegie Mellon University website) were:

  1. Old news is no news: Twitter emphasizes real-time information. Followers quickly get bored of even relatively fresh links seen multiple times.
  2. Contribute to the story: Add an opinion, a pertinent fact or add to the conversation before hitting "send" on a link or a retweet.
  3. Keep it short: Followers appreciate conciseness. Using as few characters as possible also leaves room for longer, more satisfying comments on retweets.
  4. Limit Twitter-specific syntax: Overuse of #hashtags, @mentions and abbreviations makes tweets hard to read. But some syntax is helpful; if posing a question, adding a hashtag helps everyone follow along.
  5. Keep it to yourself: The cliched "sandwich" tweets about pedestrian, personal details were largely disliked. Reviewers reserved a special hatred for Foursquare location check-ins.
  6. Provide context: Tweets that are too short leave readers unable to understand their meaning. Simply linking to a blog or photo, without giving a reason to click on it, was "lame."
  7. Don’t whine: Negative sentiments and complaints were disliked.
  8. Be a tease: News or professional organizations that want readers to click on their links need to hook them, not give away all of the news in the tweet itself.
  9. For public figures: People often follow you to read professional insights and can be put off by personal gossip or everyday details.

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