Posted Friday, September 10, 2004
With all the people offering products and services online, what sets yours apart from the crowd?
You can't argue this, to succeed you need to differentiate yourself.
Online businesses come and go every day and about 90% fail.
The reasons online businesses fail vary from situation to situation, here's a few:
*It could be that the business owner didn't educate themselves properly
*It could be that the netreprenuer didn't market correctly
*It could be that the webmaster didn't develop a product people were actually willing to pay for
*It could be that the newbie didn't spend enough time creating and leveraging the right types of relationships
*It could be that the inexperienced Internet marketer didn't remember to be thorough and calculated with their product offering, sales copy, packaging, traffic plan, etc.
All of the above reasons are valid and one of the most common reasons the product offering itself fails, is because the niche market that the business owner is marketing in is semi-saturated and the marketer had no "differentiator".
A differentiator is anything that makes your unique selling proposition differ from any other by the benefits it delivers to the user.
Those benefits need to be itemized in the sales copy to make sure the prospect will understand what makes the offering specific to his/her needs.
A differentiator could simply be a different angle or viewpoint on some problem or product not currently realized by anyone else.
How many ebooks have been written about Internet marketing?
Hundreds if not thousands...the ones that make money have easily identifiable differentiators.
A differentiator could be an added bonus to your product offering that the prospect can't get anywhere else.
Suppose there are 2 products that a prospect is considering purchasing.
*Product offering #1 offers a bonus that can be easily found on the Internet.
*Product offering #2 offers a bonus that is exclusive to this offering itself that cannot be obtained anywhere else other than through this specific offering.
If both products are equal in benefits to the user and have the same price, which product offering will the prospect choose?
Of course, the prospect will choose Product #2 because of the "exclusivity" of the bonus.
That "exclusivity" is a differentiator.
A differentiator could be a discount on a service that no one else in your niche offers. A differentiator could simply be a promise to respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours.
The trait that defines a truly effective differentiator is uniqueness.
A differentiator could even be something as simple as the packaging of the sales process of a product or service itself. The packaging of a product includes graphics, format of delivery, appearance of web presence, etc.
With regards to graphics, it is important to understand that people respond positively to visually pleasing graphics regardless of whether the end product of offering is actually affected by those graphics. Due to the average person's reluctance to buy online, the better things look, the better the prospect feels about moving forward with a purchase.
In the online world, the prospect decides to purchase a product or service that is being marketed to them somewhat "virtually"...it is intangible to them until they buy. In this instance, a differentiator could be something as simple as slick graphic or choice of product format-pdf, exe, audio, RAM, MP3, etc.
Before you can actually identify a truly effective differentiator for the product offering, a good amount of competitive intelligence needs to be done within the appropriate vertical niche market. Begin by reviewing all products and services that could be perceived as competitors in that niche market and define the differentiator from there.
Whatever type of differentiator is chosen, it's vital to make certain the prospect clearly can understand the value of it by itemizing the benefits it brings to them.
This is often overlooked and equates to unrealized sales.
Be humble, work smart, keep it simple.
About the Author
*Publisher, 'Starting Smart!' e-zine
*Author, "9 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid..."
**"65 Answers To SEO Questions"