THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR FOUNDATION: THE USP
Definition: The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition .
Yes, yes, we know. Another boring article on how to “build an avatar” and find your “niche”.
Not so fast. Sit down, read, and learn. You’ve likely been overcomplicating this process, and making some rookie mistakes by reading other articles by “marketers” on the same topic.
To ensure you don’t do this, we’ve put together the best and most efficient practices in defining your USP. Something seemingly so basic is, in fact, a massive determinant behind wether your business is built to thrive, survive, or die altogether.
Let us begin.
If the word “selling” in USP turns you off, you can exchange it for “unique market position”. Or, you know, stop being so sensitive and develop your mindset around sales. Reading this, you are likely going to fall into one of the two following categories:
- You’ve made the decision to plunge into the world of online entrepreneurship. You’re a talented and experienced trainer in your local area, and you determine it’s time to take the next step by bringing your business to the online world.
- You already own an existing online or face to face personal training business (or both), and need to step things up to the big leagues by redefining your brand’s place in the market.
Before you can begin to sell your product or service to anyone else at any level, you must first sell yourself on it. Why would you buy from you? Why would you follow your own content? Why would you get value from what you’re doing over another brand?
This is especially important when your product or service is similar to those around you, as is the case in the fitness industry. Very few businesses are truly one-of-a-kind behind the scenes. Just look around you: How many clothing retailers, hardware stores, air conditioning installers and electricians are truly unique?
Now, what’s the difference between these companies, and why can a McDonald’s exist directly across the street from KFC and Burgerking at the same time, while each of them remain busy and profitable?
A clear, concise, powerful USP behind the brand as a whole.
Some people love McDonald’s. Some people prefer Burger King. Some people hate both and prefer finger licking gourmet locally owned burger shops.
As a coach, you are selling a result and a feeling – NOT a product or service. You’re selling the 20lbs they are going to lose, not the “scientifically advanced” method that’s going to get them there. Yet, you are often also selling yourself. Your flavor. Your energy and personality. This is woven throughout the message and branding, and is what may ultimately cause someone to invest with you over a competitor.
We are in a new age of social accessibility, interaction and influence.
The sooner you understand this, the sooner your sales will begin to skyrocket.
There exists in this world, thousands of trainers. Now, most of them are likely horrible. Some however, are very good at what they do and get results for their clients. Yet, it’s often the piss-poor trainers that build a massive online/offline influence and end up making the real money.
This is tragic, unjust, and horrible for the industry. The reality is that being a world class trainer is likely not enough to make your business stand out from the rest. Is it an important factor? Absolutely.
This first step to uncovering your USP is to decide who it is you’re actually selling to. Who do you LOVE to work with? Who do you hate to work with? What area of your industry do you want to corner and dominate?
Since you’re not such a special snowflake, and competition in this space is high, you are going to need to narrow down your focus of who it is you’re speaking to in every single piece of marketing and content you put out into the world.
As you’ll see in upcoming articles, this will weave throughout every video, article, ad, comment and image you produce via your content syndication plan. A unified, well defined message and vibe that will speak to only your ideal client, while pushing everyone else away.
Further down the line, this makes the sales process run like an absolute effortless dream. Imagine getting on the phone with a prospective client, and the only real conversation that goes on is “when can I start and where do I send my money?” This is made possible by leveraging your USP to ensure the only people booking in calls for you, are the people who know, like, trust you, and are motivated by your brand’s image.
How do you get to your USP? In a nutshell, you need to consider three things:
- Putting yourself in the customer/prospect’s shoes. Trainers and coaches often times fall in love with themselves and their product, forgetting the fact that it’s about what the customer wants – not them. Discover their pain points. Their thought process. Their daily lives.
- Know what motivates your customer’s behaviour and buying decisions. As trainers, you’re already ammeter psychologists. It’s time to leverage that and really get into the head of your target market to reverse engineer what will motivate them to buy.
- Define for yourself who you are and what you want to offer. Determine what your differentiating factor is going to be.
- Do your research (covered in our Market Research Guide). Research “competitors” in your area of focus and determine where there may be a gap in service or content to capitalize on. Can you be more specific? Females only? A certain type of training? A different way of doing things? Simplifying the process? Remember, there are thousands of “fat loss” specialists out there. There is always going to be competition. But guess what? Position yourself correctly, and there’s more than enough money and clients to go around.
You need to have a clear, concise USP in place before executing on anything moving forward. It should be 1-2 sentences that are able to summarize everything above.
In the world of business, there are some companies that just seem to stand out from the rest. They are dripping with uniqueness and it’s crystal clear what they are all about within a few seconds of observing their website or product.
They have this unique flavour despite offering the same product or service as everyone else in their market. The advantage comes from their USP and how they’ve woven it throughout everything that they do to create something truly special.
If you simply attempt to be a carbon copy of some other “successful” person or brand, you are setting yourself up to drown in the pool of competition, and the brand equity they have already built.
Nobody is going to wipe your tears over the fact that business is hard and competition is fierce. Do something. No excuses. If you truly have what it takes, then you will find a way.
One of the most simple, yet obvious strategies, is to tell your story. The story behind why you do what you do, where you’ve come from, what you have done, and what you stand for.
Now, if you’ve got a boring story, you either need to think about it differently, or skip this step entirely.
TOMS SHOES: Quit simply, they give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you purchase. Simple. Effective. Meaningful.
DOLLAR SHAVE CLUB: Yet another razor company. How do they stand out? These guys target men specifically and “ships amazing razors and world-class grooming products straight to your door, every month, for just a few bucks.” They made a splash in the scene with a fresh idea about razor blazes for guys, while simplifying their position by blasting “Our Blades are F***ing Great.”
CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY: “A party game for horrible people.” These guys took the concept of a simple card game, and flipped it on it’s head by aggressively targeting people who would have a particularly vulgar sense of humour (secretly everyone).
NERD FITNESS: Bringing a more industry related example to the table, Nerd Fitness targets, well, nerds. Aggressively so. Nerd and Fitness are not usually two words that go together, especially in that order. This site has successfully built a community where true nerds can get fit and healthy without needing to become gym rats.
MORE ON CHOOSING A NICHE:
Part of engineering your USP is understanding your niche.
Now, typical marketing advice would have you building your “avatar”. A specific age range, location, occupation, etc.
The truth is all of that matters a hell of a lot less than what their actual GOALS are. By focussing purely on what your niche’s goal is going to be, you’ve narrowed things down enough and not closed yourself off with some arbitrarily determined “age range”.
When you’ve determined the specific goals you’re going to be focussing on, you can begin to break down the psychology behind what makes this niche “tick”. Begin thinking about what keeps people lying awake at night. Think about how reaching their goals with YOU would affect their mental state in a massive way. Define that. use that.
You’ll find that most people are driven by what they DO NOT want, and it then becomes their focus.
For example, if someone sets out to lose 20lbs, their reasoning and focus behind it is usually of a negative nature. They’re sick of being overweight. They hate the way the look. They hate the way they feel. When they embark upon their journey to lose that 20lbs, there is a negative focus the entire time. From a psychological standpoint, these people are far less likely to stick to a plan long term, and almost always regress back to their start point before long.
Flip this on it’s head and bring their focus to the positive side of the spectrum.
From a sales and niche development side of things, ABSOLUTELY touch on their pain points and struggles. Touch on how much they hate their current situation. Grab their attention by relating to them on a very specific level. However, get this over with rather quickly and focus instead on the positivity of what your product and/or service is going to bring them.
Instead of “You’re fat. You hate your body. It’s all your fault. Let me fix you.”
Be more like “Regain your energy. Love your body for the first time. Build something you’re proud of that will last for a lifetime.”
The difference in negative vs positive focus is substantial from both a psychological perspective, and an adherence perspective.
Remember That You Are Not Trying To Appeal To Everyone:
When starting out, or wanting to make a big push for clients/program sales, it is a natural tendency to fear that you’ll be pushing away potential customers.
To this, we say: That’s the entire point.
Attempting to please and accommodate everyone, will lead to doing for exactly nobody.
What’s more – wouldn’t you prefer to only be working with the type of client you truly love? The kind of work that makes you jump out of bed in the morning? Yeah, we thought so. No more sandbaggers.
As was also said earlier, by attempting to spread your reach too wide, your content and marketing will have nothing in particular that appeals to anyone in particular.
What Comes Next?
Once you’ve developed a solid USP, you need to be communicating it everywhere you can, in as many ways as possible. However, do not become obsessively consumed with developing your USP. You first need a direction, and will be able to refine it as you go.
Don’t be one of those people who becomes caught up for weeks or months over getting their USP absolutely perfect. Set a direction, have an idea, and you’ll be fine.
To dive into the step by step process behind this, and the other key aspects in the foundation of your business, check out the 100K FREE $100K Coach Plan.