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What is a Positioning Statement and why you need one



Does your business have a positioning statement?

If you are like most people or business owners, when you are asked to describe what you do for a living you will be able to talk passionately and enthusiastically about what you do or what your business has to offer.

If you do this well, I’m sure whoever you are talking to will want to exchange details and may even request you email them with further information.

They are also likely to check out your business website and social media profiles.

What happens when your patter doesn’t match your positioning

Unfortunately, I often find that the business is presented somewhat differently online and in its supporting sales literature.

When this happens, the momentum and interest gained from your initial pitch to your client will fade when they check out your website or sales literature.

They are unlikely to remember all the great things you told them and their interest is likely to dwindle.

The good news is with a well thought out positioning statement that is embedded in all a business’s marketing activities this is completely avoidable and very simple to implement.

You do not need to be a marketer to do this, just follow the process I’ve outlined below.

In this post you will learn:

  • What a positioning statement is
  • How to define a positioning statement
  • Why a positioning statement is important
  • What type of information should be included in a positioning statement

What is a positioning statement?

A positioning statement is a simple, clear and unmistakable description of what your business has to offer your market.

It should comprise a series of sections and bullet points detailing the real benefits that your business can provide to its customers.

You should look to keep it updated as your business grows and evolves (such as updating or adding a new product or service) to keep it relevant.

You should also ensure all of your marketing material is updated with every change.

How to define a positioning statement

To stand out in a crowded marketplace and entice customers to buy you need to take the time to look at your business objectively and develop a positioning statement.

Sitting down with a marketing consultant like me could really beneficial to your business.

I often find that business owners get a real lift by walking through this process with me.

Its often a reminder and affirmation of how great their business is or could be and they walk away with a well defined positioning statement and elevator pitch that they can tweak as they go along.

Here are some ideas:

Ask yourself these questions:

  • ‘why should someone buy from my business and remain a loyal customer?’
  • ‘how is my business different to the competition?’

Answering these questions will help you identify the various positive aspects that your business has that is different or better than the competition.

Talk to your customers

Another useful exercise is just to talk to some of your most loyal clients and ask them why they chose your business, what they like about your business and if they looked at other suppliers why they think you are different.

Talk to your team

You shouldn’t overlook the views of your team, particularly those that actively deal with customers and enquiries.

As a business owner you are likely to be biased towards how great your business is (which is natural) but your team will see things from a different perspective.

Set up a team meeting to brainstorm all of their ideas and work through the positioning statement together.

Its as simple as that.

Other considerations

Your positioning statement should also feed into your marketing plan as it is a key element of determining how to promote your business throughout all of your communications.

Regularly review your positioning statement and update it as your business develops, grows or improves something.

Why a positioning statement is important

Think of your positioning statement as the backbone of your business.

It will help you stand out from your competitors and build a strong brand identity.

The business benefits you have identified will help you create a clear, powerful statement about your business that reflects all of the great things you do.

All these great things you do should be referenced in all of your marketing communications and will hopefully wow your customers.

It shouldn’t be just a list of things, think about how you can bring them to life and sell their positive benefits.

Sometimes writing a positioning statement can be a wake-up call if you aren’t doing anything different to your competitors. It can help you find that differentiator which in many cases is already there but you can’t see it.

To help find your differentiator you may want to think about all the things you can do that would be of interest to your market and update your positioning statement.

What type of information should be included in a positioning statement

Your statement should be packed with the business benefits identified in the ‘how to’ section of this post.

Here is a guide of the type of information you may wish to include:

About your business brand

Whether this is your personal or business brand you should include the following:

  • Experience: particularly if you have been trading for a long time or have significant experience in your sector.
  • Qualifications: If you have a qualification relevant to your trade or profession you should include this, what the benefits to your customers are and why they should seek to trade with businesses that have this. It may result in them dismissing some of your competitors that don’t display this level of expertise.
  • Professional Association: Are you or your business a member of a professional association or trade body?  You should definitely include this.
  • Awards and accreditation’s: Have you won any awards that would put your business in a positive light?  For example, you might have won a regional business award.
  • Testimonials: Have you had any positive testimonials from other well known brands that demonstrate key areas of your positioning statement? A few examples of these can be very powerful.

Key benefits of your products and services

  • Do you have any products or services that customers will struggle to buy on a like for like basis elsewhere?
  • Include the feedback you have received from existing customers as to why they buy your products or services
  • What types of guarantees or warranties do you offer? For example ‘all my work is guaranteed for X’ or ‘we offer a 14 day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase’.

Pricing

  • How can your customers benefit from your pricing strategy?
  • If your strategy is to be the most competitive, do you offer a ‘find this cheaper elsewhere’ guarantee (if not covered in the previous section)
  • If your pricing strategy is about value for money:
    • Do you offer anything for free?
    • What do you offer as standard that your competitors might charge for?

Customer Service

  • Do you have a documented customer service charter? If you do include some of its key features for example, we answer all phone calls within ‘X’ and respond to all emails within ‘X hours’.
  • If you run customer satisfaction surveys state that suggests a high percentage of customers would recommend your business you should definitely include this.
  • Do you have a customer review system such as Trust Pilot?  This can also demonstrate the reliability of your business, for example if you have on average, a rating of 4 stars.
  • How reliable is your service? How quick do you deliver or respond to queries?  Include any facts or statistics you have to back this up.
  • How do you aim to handle complaints satisfactorily? Think about how you can turn an unhappy customer into someone that will recommend your business based on how you respond to complaints.

If you cover all of the above you should be able to develop a good positioning statement.

You can add to these sections with anything else that can add value to your customers or differentiate your business from the competition for example:

  • Environmental policy: if you think this would resonate well with your customers then include it. For example if you deliver bulky items and you use 100% recyclable packaging this can often be seen positively be your greener customers.
  • Corporate or social responsibility: If you have a charity or cause that your business donates to or works with this can be powerful. It shows that you care, are a brand that can be trusted, that your business is credible and acts with integrity.

I hope this post helps you see why your business should have a positioning statement at its heart and that you now see its benefits and the need to keep it a living document that is reflected in all of your business communications.

Please let me know in the comments below what you think or send me a message via social media – I will always respond to you.



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