My friend Darrell is always telling me, “you need a niche.” I believe him.
He has made a living doing digital marketing for copier dealers across the world. His niche is pretty solid.
He knows the industry inside and out. He knows the problems they face and how to solve them.
I have no problem with his reasoning.
Often, it takes time to have that kind of insight to a niche.
What he has done is touched on a larger strategy of business, differentiation. He has differentiated himself from other digital marketing companies.
As he would always tell me, he almost always beats other website developers or digital marketing companies when his clients come calling, because he knows their industry.
A specialist will be a generalist almost every time.
As WordPress entrepreneurs, we can stand out among a crowded field by differentiating ourselves and our services.
With the internet being powered by WordPress more and more, people are flocking to be WordPress consultants, developers and more. Differentiating can help you stand out.
Three ways you can differentiate your business
Niche or specific industry
Just like my friend Darrell, one way to differentiate your business is by targeting a particular industry or niche. Many people will use the knowledge they have in their background to do this, but really, all you have to do is to choose an industry in which you are comfortable.
Several WordPress businesses have done this.
AgentEvolution has targeted the Real Estate Industry. They build theme and plugins to help real estate agents and brokers operate from a WordPress install. Additionally, they built their own real estate WordPress theme framework called Equity. AgentEvolution is a fantastic example of targeting a niche industry.
Another way a WordPress company can differentiate itself is by producing a product. A heavily used product can lead to that company being a leader in their industry.
An example of this is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is undoubtedly a leader in the world of eCommerce plugins. Over time they have developed the best e-commerce plugin to help business owners run an online shop.
Gravity Forms has become one of the top contact form plugins for WordPress. They have built a product with easy drag and drop functions for creating a form. As a result, Gravity Forms is a plugin that has dozens of integrations.
What is a productized service?
I learned of the idea of a productized service from Brian Casel. Casel is a WordPRess entrepreneur and built his first productized service when he founded Restaurant Engine. He has since sold the business and now runs Audience Ops.
Brian says on his website,
“It’s your best opportunity to level up. A productized service involves little risk, low barrier to entry, and a proven path to scalability. You’re simply converting something you already do into a value-added service that can scale.”
Examples of a productized service include WPCurve and WP Theory.
WPCurve was founded by Dan Norris and offers small WordPress fixes for WordPress website owners.
WP Theory was started by Adam Clark and offers to launch a WordPress website in a day.
The idea is to take a repeatable service that you can systemize, create a product that can be purchased. Of course, this will not cater to those needing a complete custom product.
Differentiation can be used to build out a Unique Selling Proposition, or as some call it, a Unique Value Proposition. Some say Value Prop for short.
What is a USP?
So, what the heck is a USP anyway? According to the Small Business Encyclopedia at Entrepreneur.com, a USP is,
“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.”
Basically, it is the reason one buys your product or your service.
At the Kissmetrics blog, USP is defined this way:
“A unique selling proposition is what your business stands for. It’s what sets your business apart from others because of what your business makes a stand about. Instead of attempting to be known for everything, businesses with a unique selling proposition stand for something specific, and it becomes what you’re known for. “
How you differentiate your WordPress business is literally written into the DNA of your business using a USP.
Why it’s important?
- Helps you know your audience
- Helps you identify your competitors
- Helps you craft your copy
- Helps you build your elevator pitch
- Helps you identify your benefits
A USP can help you identify all these things as well as inform the copy of your product of your service.
A USP is the very foundation of the copy of your business. From your USP, you will be able to identify benefits and features of your product or service and weave them into your the copy on your landing pages, service pages, and much of your content marketing.
How do I write a USP?
It is important to note that reading one blog post will not help you be an expert in USP’s. In fact, writing the blog post doesn’t make me an expert in USP’s. That being said, here are three things to consider when writing a USP.
Find your difference
The first one is pretty obvious, find what your difference is going to be.
Sonia Simone of Copyblogger shares some insights on finding your differentiation. Simone identifies three ideas for creating a USP and sums it all up by saying,
“At the end of the day, the only reason you need a USP at all is to answer that question. Why you?”
What is your remarkable benefit?
In another post published at Copyblogger, over ten years ago, the author talks about having a hidden, remarkable benefit. This fantastic post talks about finding a story among a company background and using it to leverage of a remarkable benefit.
In the post, you will learn where Pecan Cakes come from. Here’s a hint, you will probably looking for them in the next few months.
Use this formula from Joanna Wiebe
When it is time to put it all together, or, just getting started, you might benefit from using this copy formula that Joanna Wiebe talks about at Copyhackers.
All you have to do is connect your company, service or product to your benefit (not feature) using “the one that.” This is a terrific exercise.
This is an easy way to begin putting it all together.
Wrapping it up
I understand that finding your differentiation may not be the easiest thing to do. Frankly, it may take years of trying different things. You may have a vision of something you want to do before you ever come up with your target audience.
Additionally, your differentiation may change over the years. You may start with an idea to do one thing and change your focus to something else when you find you have more success.
Differentiation can be as much a process as anything else. Rarely is differentiation abundantly clear?
As entrepreneurs, we solve problems. If we are constantly surveying the business landscape for problems need to be addressed, it can help us move towards that differentiation.
We may know, for example, that we want to work with WordPress or some other kind of tool or product.
There are enough problems to be solved in the WordPress ecosystem to keep us busy for a while.
We do well as entrepreneurs to always be evaluating our business.