To stand out to your prospects, take your value statement from general to specific
Before you can truly make an impact on potential customers, those prospects must have a clear idea of the value you can provide.
This is more or less the idea behind the concept of positioning, or aligning your business with a specific need that customers already have. But, what does that mean specifically for MSPs who are competing in a crowded market?
The problem small MSPs face here is exactly what positioning aims to solve: currently, end-users already have an idea of what UC&C “should” be, and thus to market themselves small IT businesses must specify their unique value beyond the general concept of Unified Communications.
Yes, you can tell your prospects that you can upgrade their phone systems or provide video calls — but why should they go with you instead of the leading brand for VoIP and video, a company they already associate with high value and performance?
The answer will not come down to a matter of general benefits your business can provide, but rather, down to specific value you’ve already marketed yourself as being experts in.
Moving Away from the Generalist
To explain why, consider the alternative of being an expert, being a generalist: this would mean you do a little bit of everything, trying to tell your prospects that your company is good for any value they could ask for in UC&C.
Although this might seem like the approach to catch the attention of the most customers possible, the truth is it will only hurt you from a marketing perspective. Remember, there are already big names out there that promise total value in UC&C. Not only are they more powerful in their marketing capabilities, they’ve already claimed space in the public’s mind as the preferred solution for general digital communications.
If you try to compete with this point, you simply won’t succeed, because you’ll be trying to dislodge beliefs that massive spending campaigns created.
In this way, being a generalist is not helpful for branding. Not only will it mean you’ll struggle to claim a spot in your customer’s mind, but consider that it also makes satisfying buyers more difficult due to the simple fact that delivering on a general value statement is both difficult and less memorable overall.
Embracing the Specialist’s Role
The alternative, acting as a specialist, solves both of these problems. For one, being a specialized expert makes it far easier to be memorable to customers.
This is because specialization creates a firmer identity for you. Instead of being a general UC&C provider, you become the business that connects multiple office sites, or enables smart working, or brings on international calling capabilities. This pinpoints your value and builds your brand; it emphasizes that you bring measurable value in a way the public can easily remember.
Positioning in this way is essential, because it’s the primary method open to you in finding room in your customer’s mind. Although they are likely already decided on who provides value in UC&C, you can still claim a spot when it comes to who provides value on specific parts of UC&C.
This, not being a generalist, is the way to market yourself in a memorable fashion.
Building Your Base
However, a concern you may have with this approach to marketing is that it will leave you with too small of a base of prospects. What if the value you advertise doesn’t reach enough people?
This is in fact a necessary tradeoff when specializing your value proposition: your pool of likely customers will almost certainly shrink. A general value statement, after all, will appeal to more people than a niche one.
While it’s natural to be concerned about missing out on potential buyers, this is not anything near a deathblow to your business. Remember that, from a marketing perspective, reaching more people isn’t worth the investment if most of them won’t respond well anyway. If you act as a generalist, most of your leads will have little reason to respond to you; your business isn’t one they recognize as a provider of general UC&C value.
On the other hand, building a base of customers that need your niche value is an approach with enormous ROI. A loyal customer base, even if they’re small, will bring you constant income as a result of consistently going to you for value and support.
Also, these earnings will be measured against the expenses of advertising to a smaller group of in-target leads, reducing the money and effort spent on this process. This in short means more money earned versus less spent in total when compared to marketing to fair-weather generalist buyers.
How to Specialize
All this said, the question then becomes: how do you actually complete the process of specializing?
The answer will come down to what your business does well. What are you already experts in? What value are you most capable of providing? Whatever the answer is, it’s important that you invest not just in delivering it, but in telling in-target leads it’s your specialty.
This process is key to winning over prospects because, again, it’s the best way to be memorable. The generalist is a role that’s already been taken up by big names; the fact is, reclaiming it will usually take more investment than its worth.
Specializing, meanwhile, ensures you can achieve the most targeted positioning possible. On top of reaching customers who are more in need of your services, you’ll simplify the process of pitching your services, because your prospects will already have a strong sense of your value.
Finding the specifics of your value in this way will generate greater success, through the simple foundation of greater understanding — and greater appreciation — from your customers.
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