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The Two Sentence Value Proposition

Ah the value proposition. Stuff of legend, cure for all ills and generally most overlooked tool in the marketers box. At its simplest, your value proposition needs to show how your product/service benefits your customer from their point of view.

Two, well thought through sentences, is all it takes. The first should show the value of your offering and the second puts that value into context, positioning it so the customer understands what's in it for them and how that compares with the other possibilities open to them.

Sounds simple enough, but let me break that down further.

First sentence - Why what you've got to sell matters

a) Who is it for?

b) Why do they need it?

c) What's your product service called

d) Statement of benefit

Second sentence - Confirmation that your customer is making the right choice

e) Position your product against your main competition

f) Show what differentiates your product (what makes you unique/what makes you different?)

g) State how this is money well spent/prove that benefits can be delivered

E.g. For a)start ups who need b)a marketing resource to increase their visibility in the market, Marketing123 is an c)online, 24 hrs a day network of d)marketing professionals and self help resources who can answer your questions and provide fast solutions anytime, anywhere.

e)Marketing consultancies generally involve long term contracts and take time to show return, but Marketing123 f)lets you pay by the hour as and when you need us and gives a 100% money back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied. g)We've already helped over 700 start ups this year and 99% of our customers would recommend us to their friends as a one stop shop for all your marketing needs.


Value propositions are a great way of ensuring you and your employees are all clear on who your company is and what you do for your customers.  I would urge you to write one for each of your products/services.

One final tip. Once you've crafted your value proposition apply the 'so what?' test. Ask yourself whether what you've written describes real customer benefits and clearly states how you help customers solve their main problem. If not, keep tweaking until it does.


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Why bother with social media?

We've all been sucked in, one way or another, to the brave new world of social media. For most small/mid sized companies, having a social media presence is generally top of their list, as both the problem and the solution to all their woes.

Before you rush to join the huddled masses though, make sure you know what you're trying to accomplish with social media, so you can measure your success or lack of it and hone your outreach accordingly.

So what should you be monitoring/doing to make the most of your social media push?

Facebook

- Wall posts
- Comments
- Likes

The more people who interact with your wall posts, the more visible and potentially viral, a post becomes. You should aim to both react to relevant posts in your business newsfeed and get your wall posts featured in other influential newsfeeds.

Twitter

- Look for relevant questions about you/your company/industry
- Reply to requests for information and support about your industry
- Monitor for complaints and feedback
- Look out for competitor mentions
- Follow influencers (find who they are via Wefollow)

Where possible say thank you, retweet, save to favourites, reply and connect with your potential clients.

LinkedIn

- Check LinkedIn Answers at least once a week
- Join relevant groups and contribute to their discussion groups

This tool is still primarily friend to those selling B2B, but everyone needs to network so don't rule it out if you're not in that space.

Google+

- Search keywords, product names etc to see what people are saying about your brand
- Ripples let you see your posts spread across Google+ who's sharing and influencing?
- Use the social analytic reports to measure +1's
- Watch out for new tools that Google+ adds around analytics

The jury is still out, but love it or hate it Google+ has a following and your potential customers are likely to be part of it.

Pinterest

- Use tools such as PinReach and PinPuff to view engagement and influence levels
- Use it to build a community around your brand
- Ask for repins (add a price tag to your pins and a link back to your website)
- Add your website link to pins to boost your SEO

As the newest, yet fastest growing social media site people you can benefit from showcasing the personality behind your brand.

Blogosphere

- Track relevant blog articles
- Read the comments and jump in if you have something valuable to add
- Do any of the articles written about you link back to your website?

Blogs are here to stay and now that RSS feeders condense what people choose to read, the opportunity for pinpointing your ideal customer or target market, is huge.

As ever, knowing who your customers are and which social media tools they use will help you to build the right presence in the right place.

Happy tweeting, pinning, liking etc. etc. etc.

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10 principles of great content

  1. It's not about you
  2. Pick a hot topic and stay relevant
  3. Be independent 
  4. Support your story with facts, preferably data, better still if you generated the data
  5. Use real life customer stories and reference third parties
  6. Share what doesn't/didn't work. Negatives are news
  7. Empathy and honesty with your audience at all times
  8. Write with confidence but remember that credibility matters
  9. Make it good enough to share
  10. Keep it simple.  Communicate one idea at a time

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What's trending on twitter today?

Social media guru Alicia Cowan recently tweeted that twitter trends could make good blog posts. What a great idea, I thought and then I looked to see what the twitter gods might inspire me with.

In London the tweeting public care about

#NickiNewAlbum
#CommonTattoos
Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Are DATING
#takeoveruk
Simon Cole
Happy Easter
We Love Gaga's New Car
Bustin Jieber Is Our Everything
Canning Town
Jim Marshall

In Glasgow it looked more like this

#asktherisk
#10ThingsThatILike
#TheApprentice
Samantha Brick
National Tell A Lie Day
Easter
RIP Jim Marshall
Kurt Cobain
CVA
D&P

A few hundred miles apart but thankfully Easter and Marshall amp appreciation provides common ground.

As the farside cartoon says 'same planet, different worlds.'
Happy Easter!

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