Category Archives: marketing tips

You Down With USP? Know Your Business’s “Unique Selling Proposition”

What is a USP in business / marketing? Your business, products, and services, are unique. Yes, there might be a bunch of other companies doing something similar, but YOU make your business unique.

If you ask a customer if they want to buy what you’re selling, how do you get them to jump up and shout, “yeah, you know me!” 

The answer lies in your business’s “USP,” but what exactly is a USP? Here’s an explanation with some lyrical assistance from 90’s rap group, Naughty By Nature.

What is a USP?

“(USP), how can I explain it, I’ll take it frame by frame it, to have ya’ll jumping, shouting, saying it…” 

This is where USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, comes in. USP is what you, the seller, gives as the reason that your product or service is better than the competition.

It’s the heart of your brand, and what makes you special. Otherwise, you’re just a commodity; like one of those generic cans of beans that people ignore at the supermarket.

So, what makes YOUR business different? What do you have that’s unique and special? Once you determine the answers to these questions, you have your USP.

If this is a new concept for you, take a look at some successful and well-loved brands.

What does Netflix have that Microsoft doesn’t. Why does Google kill Yahoo? Why do people wait in line at Starbucks when there’s an empty little coffee place across the street? Even though everyone hates taxes, why do they flock to buy TurboTax in April?  

Analyze their marketing and branding for what they are really saying to the customer. You have to look deeper than the product and into what they SAY they are selling. It’s about more than the goods or work done, and about how these businesses set themselves apart from the rest.

down usp unique selling proposal

Ironically, Naughty By Nature had a pretty good USP! (and a bat)

Choose one of “The Four P’s”

“Exciting isn’t it, a special kinda’ business…”

The four P’s of marketing are: Price, Product, Promotion, Place. When crafting your USP, use one of these four areas to center your idea around.

Is your price unique enough to market? Does your product have qualities that shame the competition? Determining which “P” to use is up to you and where your brainstorming takes you. Make sure this USP shines through in every marketing effort, and even your business cards.

Creating & Defining Your USP

“How many brothers out there know just what I’m gettin’ at?”

Remember why you’re in business. Why did you create your product?  Why did you set out to provide the services you do?

Imagine the enthusiasm you had when you first described the idea for your business to a friend. That’s exciting, and that’s your USP.

The good news is that you must be doing something right if you have customers, so why did they choose you over a competitor?

It could be your customer service, because you make every customer feel valued. It could be the  unique location of your store, or where you sell your products. There are things that mark your business as unique and discovering them is the key to a great USP.

tobacco company branding

Most cigarette companies have USP’s to die for

“Now when you do it, do it well and make sure that it counts…”

Besides having an exceptional business and a USP, you also have to effectively market it. Take cigarettes for example. Unless you live under a rock in Siberia, you know how awful they are for you.

They will literally kill you, and it even says so on the packaging, yet people still buy them. New smokers are added to the ranks everyday, and most of them are quite passionate about a single brand.

How are these companies able to get past the plethora of negative advertising?  Tobacco companies have well-defined USP’s, and a little help from highly-addictive chemicals. They also know how and exactly who to effectively market their products to.

Hopefully your product or business isn’t hazardous to anyone’s health, so it should be easier for you to define and market your USP.

So, Is your business down with USP?

“Now don’t be shocked, cause if you’re down I want your hands up high…”

Imagine yourself as the customer. Why would you look at a whole shelf of competitors and choose your brand?

What makes you worth more than the “generic” equivalent?

By taking the time to truly step back and see each part of your business with an unbiased eye, you’ll be on the right track to a develop and market your unique selling proposition.

So, are YOU down with USP!? (Yeah, you know me!)

*Lyrics from “O.P.P.” – Naughty By Nature

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exchanging business cards

7 Reasons Why You Still Need Business Cards (Especially In Hong Kong!)

These days, social media and LinkedIn really do rule the business world. There are a thousands articles out there telling you how to position your business online, but do you give enough thought to offline?

People often think that so long as you have a strong online presence, you’re covering all of your bases for networking. While there’s just no doubt that your digital activity can help promote your brand, there’s a lot to be said for more traditional, “low-tech” means of communication.

The humble business card is small but mighty when it comes to making lasting connections with people in the real world. While often overlooked, business cards are still one of the most powerful networking tools you will ever own. Like a sweet pair of Ray-bans, business cards will never be out of style. Here’s why:

1. Business cards create brand awareness for your SME

There’s something about seeing a brand’s logo in print that makes it feel more legit than it would online. The reason is simple – there’s so much nonsense online that people no longer know what they can trust and what they can’t. Going to the trouble of getting some cards printed will set you apart from the crowd. That in itself is a strong move.

What you ideally want is for people to see your brand and instantly recognize it. That means that you need to create a genuine level of awareness for it. How do you do that? Well, having printed materials might just be the first step in your journey.

2. Some professionals don’t ‘get’ the digital world

When you’re out there, hustling for new business, you don’t want to close off any avenues. The truth of the matter is that there are some business owners and CEOs who just don’t get the online world. That could be because they are of a different generation or because they are scared of changes within the industry.

Whatever the reason, you have to cater to them. Cutting off a whole area of potential connections is ludicrous. If you want to get the most business out of people, you need to make yourself (and your company) as accessible as humanly possible.

why carry business cards

3. You’ll be remembered at networking events

As a young professional, you absolutely should be attending networking sessions on a regular basis. So much is done online these days that often enough the ‘human aspect’ of the business world is lost. Never underestimate the value of face-to-face meetings with other business owners.

If you really want to excel when it comes to networking sessions, having business cards in your pocket might just be the way forward.

Why? Well, handing over a slick, printed card means that you will be memorable. It’s these small touches that set you aside from the crowd and ultimately gain you new clients.

4. You can use them to communicate your “USP”

What is the main message you want to get across when it comes to your business? What is your mission statement? What is your USP(Unique selling proposition)

These are the questions you need to ask before you design your cards online. Once you know the answers, you can use the information to inform what you put across to people.

Business cards should do a lot more than just transfer your contact information. They should stand out and be little ambassadors for your company or personal brand. Need design inspiration? The web is full of resources to help you design a great business card.

5. They will never fail or be inaccessible

No one doubts the importance of technology, but sometimes it can fail us.

We’ve all experienced sites that won’t load, or WI-FI being down, so it’s great to have a marketing tool that’s actually tangible.

That’s where business cards come into play. Once you give another professional your card, they will always have access to you. Emails and bookmarks might disappear into the ether of the internet, but business cards are real.

hong kong business cards

6. Some cultures, like Hong Kong, rely heavily on business cards

Did you know that certain cultures rely on on business cards more than others? For example, if you travel to Hong Kong without business cards you might be in trouble, as both business and social networking rely heavily on business cards.

If someone offers you a business card in cultures like Hong Kong and you don’t give them one back, it’s unlikely that they will do business with you. It also infers that you are unprepared, or just not very important.

7. They add a personal touch to a meeting!

Finally, here’s perhaps the main reason that you should use business cards — they add a personal touch to pretty much any meeting. When you hand over one of these cards, you take the level of interaction up a notch, and make things personal.

It’s not just about adding someone on LinkedIn or exchanging email address; you’ve left them with a tangible little memento that they will keep.

One thing that has evolved with business cards is the price. In fact, the most popular online printing services now offer 500 of their premium cards for about $10, so their’s no reason to ever run out!

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personal branding social media

Want to Build a Personal Brand? 12 Tips for Using Social Media

Social media is key to building a personal brand! Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram each have their own strengths, so don’t just push out the same content on each one. Social media is a vast, intimidating landscape, so make sure you have a strategy before you start trying to build your personal brand.

This 6 minute video provides some helpful tips for building a brand on Facebook, Instagram Stories, SnapChat. Hopefully get the gears turning in your mind, and will help you think of a strategy to start building your personal brand online.

The video itself was shot on an iPhone, proving that you already have the resources you need to get started!

Social Media: How to Build Your Personal Brand (Video)

Tips for Personal Branding on Social Media: Using Facebook, Instagram Stories, & Snapchat

When building a brand, make sure it’s around something you love, and really care about. When you are pushing out content on a daily basis, you should be passionate about it!

For this video, they use the example of a personal trainer using social media to build a brand, but there are dozens of fields and industry niches where the same tips are just as valuable.

  1. Have a good-looking website with sharp photos and a good bio (consider squarespace). WordPress is a great, flexible way to go if you have a little knowledge of blogging. You can find hosting for as little as $5 per month from sites like GoDaddy.
  2. Produce relevant content to establish yourself in your industry or field.
  3. Videos are a great way to do this. In this case video relevant reviews and content on youtube and Instagram Stories can attract an audience. on running shoes, recommended exercises, etc.
  4. Make sure that your video seo-friendly topics and phrases are easily searchable, like “the best way to do a pull-up”. These phrases are important for when you do a blog post about it later
  5. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have very different user-experience, so don’t push the same content to each one. Your audience might be turned off if you do!
  6. Think of Facebook as a way for people to discover you. This is a place for viral videos and engaging articles
  7. Don’t push the same content to Instagram, as the user experience is very different
  8. Use hashtags on Instagram. Consider adding relevant hashtags (include popular hashtags) as a seperate comment on Instagram to keep your photos looking clean (you can use up to 30!)
  9. For good-looking photos, consider photo-editing apps like Snapseed. You should consider adding text to your photos with WordSwag to create memes
  10. Create a fan page or business page on Facebook for your personal brand.
  11. Your brand should feel accessible. Snapchat and Instagram Stories are a candid way talk to your audience. Use them to show your day-to-day activities, workouts, etc. Snapchat and Instagram Stories are a great way for personal interaction with your audience.

Building a Personal brand? Don’t drown in the social media ocean!

social media fishThe social media landscape can be overwhelming, so make sure you have a strategy before you get started. Envision how you can use social media sites together to effectively promote your personal brand without duplicating content.

After you have an established website, consider getting started on just one social media site, so you don’t spread yourself too thin!

When you are ready, remember that “low-tech” marketing tools like business cards are still relevant in the 21st Century, and should include a link to your website or Facebook page.

We can help you save money with coupons for companies like Vistaprint. You don’t need to spend much, as they now offer 500 business cards for only $10!

Good luck! 

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