It can be difficult to know where you’re going, when you’re not sure where you are.I just made this up, but I’m sure someone, somewhere said it much better.

5-step-guide-market-positioning

 

My point is, there is a simple way to determine where you’re currently positioned in the marketplace, but few of us [business owners] have ever taken the time to figure this out. The great thing is, it only takes five minutes to do this and the knowledge it brings can help you determine your marketing message, audience, content strategy and much more!

Why is understanding your positioning important?

If you’re in a competitive industry, it can be difficult to stand out. When there are many options for your customers to choose from, they will often go with the lowest price option. If you find that you are competing on price, then you NEED to find a way to “position” yourself as the local authority at what you do. People will generally pay a premium price to work with a pro.

Why I wrote this

I own a digital marketing agency. Chances are, you receive 5-20 calls a week from other marketing agencies wanting to sell you a website or “increase your rankings in Google”. My industry is filled with so much noise, it’s become nearly impossible to stand out. Because I am aware of this, I have taken steps to make sure that I differentiate my agency from my competition. The steps you are about to learn are THE EXACT STEPS I have used to effectively set my agency apart from the competition.

The steps you are about to learn are the same 5 steps I have used to help many local businesses, including my own, position themselves in their marketplace as an authority at what they do. If you follow the plan I have outlined below and remain committed to your vision, you will position yourself in such a way that will allow you to separate yourself from your competition.

Step 1: Determine Your Current Market Position

Let’s start off with a very simple way of determining your current market position, from your customers point of view.

  1. On a scale from 0 to 10, 10 being “high priced”, how would your customers rate your businesses pricing?
  2. On a scale from 0 to 10, 10 being “premium quality”, how would your customers rate the quality of your businesses product or service.

Keep these numbers in mind.

Plot Your Position

Below is what’s called a Positioning Map. Using this map, find the rating for each dimension you determined above and place a dot where those two numbers intersect on the graph. Remember, this position reflects how your customers view the quality and pricing of your product or service.

positioning-map

  • download printable map here.

Now, once you’ve marked your current position, it’s time to rate your competition. Using the same rating system above, plot each of your competitors positions on this same map.

It’s very likely that you have landed somewhere in the top right quadrant, correct? If you’ve landed in the bottom left, you may be going after a high volume of customers, which is perfectly fine if that’s your business model. Let’s don’t even discuss top left and bottom right, hopefully you didn’t land there?!?! For this example, I’ll assume that you’ve landed in the top right quadrant.

After plotting your competitors place on the map, look to see where you are in relation to them. How close are they on the graph in relation to your business? Too close might mean that you aren’t doing enough to differentiate yourself from your competition. You are likely competing on price with that competitor.

Do you see a wide open gap somewhere within this same quadrant that isn’t being served? Should you consider filling that gap? or are you happy with your current position?

This is where you need to make one of two choices;

  1. You can choose to keep your current position, this is perfectly fine if this is your comfort zone.
  2. Or, you can find a wide open place on this graph and move yourself to that position. This might mean you need to raise your prices, improve the quality of your product or service, offer a new and unique product or service, etc.

The point is, you don’t have to stay where you are at now. You can choose NOW to decide where you want your position to be.

One thing to note here – Most businesses typically assume that EVERYONE knows their current position (pricing and quality), but chances are, even your current customers may not know how you’re different from your competitors. This is why the following 4 steps are essential to creating awareness and solidifying your position in your market.

Step 2: Define Your Audience

Now that you’re aware of your market position, it’s time to find who your audience is. (Learn the importance of creating buyer personas here.)

What is their age, gender, income,…?

Getting the most from your marketing effort requires you to know and define your audience. You need a clear picture of their age, income level and location so that you can create a message that connects with them in a way that will get their attention. Also, knowing the income of your target audience lets you decide on the right price for your products and services.

You want to get a decent payout for the things you sell, but you also need to set a price that falls within the budget of your prospects. If you don’t know who your target audience is, it’s time for some market research. You can do free consultations to learn as much as possible about the people who plan to buy from you. You can also give incentives to those who take online polls.

Where do they hang out?

There are a wide range of places your target audience could be “hanging out”. Everywhere from the water cooler at work, social media platforms, business organizations, and so on. It’s also important to consider where they get their information, such as TV, newspapers, magazine publications, social media and so on.

Knowing where they hang out and gather information will give you a good idea on where to direct your marketing and advertising efforts.

What are their pain points?

Chances are, you’re in the business of solving problems. Understanding exactly what problems you solve and effectively conveying that message in your marketing, will greatly increase your chances of success.

Now, condense your target audience into an average age and appearance. If you would like to take this tip even further, download a stock image of a person who is the perfect match for your customer persona. Give this persona a name and speak directly to this “person” every time you create an ad or piece of marketing content.

Step 3: Fine-Tune Your Message

Are you aware of how your website’s messaging is perceived by your audience? Your messaging can make or break the effectiveness of your website.

Make the customer the hero.

If you are like most people in the world of digital marketing, you could feel tempted to paint yourself as the hero when you create webpages or release content. That is a mistake you don’t want to make if you care about the future of your business. Instead of caring about you and your business, your prospects care about themselves and what you can do for them.

Instead of listing your accolades or mission statement front and center on your website, let them know how your services can improve their life or solve their problem. After all, that’s really the ONLY reason they’re visiting your website.

List the benefits of your product or service.

With everything you publish online, ask yourself if it speaks to your customers’ pain points and highlights the benefits they can get after taking action. It’s essential you remember to keep your customers in mind at all times.

Ask yourself if the content on your website or blog helps them solve their problems or adds value to their lives. If it does not do those things, your effort will be in vain.

Why should a prospect choose you?

Be sure to clarify why a prospect should choose you over your competitor. Giving value to your prospects is the No. 1 way to gain traction in a crowded market, and you will notice the difference in no time.

Step 4: Position Yourself As The Authority

You know your position. You’ve defined your audience. You’ve fine-tuned your messaging. Now, let’s set you apart from your competition.

Blogs.

Begin by creating a blog and promising yourself that you will submit new posts on a regular basis. Looking at the image of your customer persona, speak directly to your audience with each piece of content you publish.

Not sure what to write about? Try this – Write down the top 5 question your customers are always asking. Those 5 questions have just become the titles of your next 5 blogs. Do your best to thoroughly explain your answer to each of those questions. Now, post them to your website blog section.

How to promote your blogs – Of course we hope that your blog shows up in search engine queries. But one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your blogs is through social media. In fact, it’s likely you found this blog through a social media ad.

By posting a constant stream of blogs through social media, you are essentially branding yourself, or your business, as an authority.

Newsletters.

Creating a newsletter and inviting your followers to sign up is another step in the right direction. Let your subscribers send you their questions and comments to get an idea of what to write.

Don’t forget to use your newsletters to drive your subscribers to your latest blog as well.

Workshops & Webinars.

The ULTIMATE way to prove yourself as an authority on a topic is to give free workshops or webinars. Workshops and webinars have proven highly effective for my own agency. I personally feel workshops are more effective as they allow your audience to get to know you on a personal level. This can greatly increase the chances they will do business with you.

Step 5: Get The Word Out

Once you have the other elements in place, you are ready to drive traffic to the content you have created. You don’t want to send just anyone to your content; you must send targeted traffic if you would like to notice a positive change in your bottom line.

Paid Advertising.

Paid search is a good place from which to start. Promoting your content with Google’s pay-per-click platform is a wise move along the correct path, but don’t forget about Facebook, Twitter and the other social platforms.

Social Media Marketing.

The best thing about social media is that you can target your ads to people based on their age, spending habits, interests and more. If you have trouble choosing the right audience, you can target your ads to people who have shown interest in your competitors.

Search Engine Optimization.

No traffic-generation plan is complete without search engine optimization. Keyword research, content generation and backlink building are what will make you succeed with SEO.

Final Thoughts

Positioning yourself as an authority in your industry requires a dedicated, determined effort. Knowing your audience and what they need is half the battle, but you must also create content that highlights the main benefits your prospects can enjoy after they buy from you. If you release content that does not highlight the benefits or offer some value to your followers, you are wasting your time.

On the other hand, content that showcases the top factors that make you stand out from the crowd will boost your business to where you want it. Sending tons of targeted traffic to your website lets you enjoy the rewards of your effort. As long as you make a sincere attempt to reach your short- and long-term goals and take corrective action along the way, you won’t have trouble achieving results of which anyone would be proud.

A little about me – I help professional service providers attract high quality leads through market positioning and guiding them through my 5 step process; Determining Market Position, Defining their Audience, Fine Tuning their Message, Building out their Content Marketing Strategy and of course, Driving High Quality Traffic.

 

digital marketing consultant phil fiskPhil Fisk
Digital Marketing Consultant
P. Fisk Consulting
Agency Owner
CoastlineMarketingGroup.com