A while back I bought this book called “The One Page Marketing Plan” about how to refine what you need and want from a marketing strategy. I started reading it and it brought back an interesting proposition: the Unique Selling Proposition. Basically, this is WHY someone would bother to choose your product over someone elses. It is nearly never price, service, or quality. They list several examples, the one that stuck out to me was the CDBaby “Thank you for your purchase email.” (CDBaby.com is/was? a site that sells physical music CDs and the like). Without pasting in their email, basically it just rubs your ass for 3/4 paragraphs, talking about how they are packaging your CD in gold lined boxes and the whole town comes out to wish your package a safe trip.
Complely non-sensical, but this has apparently been one of the most shared emails, and by extension a ton of free advertising for CDBaby. This appears to be a great example of adding some sort of value to your product without having to do anything extra. It is things like this that put your typical business ahead of the pack, or at least this book would lead you to believe.
So how do you implement this in a different business? I’m always thinking about web hosting, so why not start there. It is terribly easy to purchase a cPanel reseller account from an existing provider, pay the $20 WHMCS licensing fee and install in on said reseller hosting, and grab a free “web host” website template and what do you know, you are a web host! These are typically referred to a “(Summer Hosts)[summerhost.club]” because they come around at the beginning of summer (when school lets out) and are usually gone by the end.
So how do you take this “business” model and add something unique to it? You can’t say that you are going to respond to every support ticket within 15 minutes, even if you are willing and able. You can’t say that you are offering X/Y/Z feature with your service because there are tons of hosts that do that already. Similarly, except for the NoSupportLinuxHosting model (that shit the bed seemingly because they saved money on backups) you can’t price your service any lower; there will always be someone willing to go out of business faster than you. So what, then?
If I had the answer to this I would implement it and be rich. This is something that every business owner, or potential business owner, has to sort out for themselves. The book goes into some detail why just copying another more successful businesses marketing strategy won’t work (e.g. they have an actual budget), and why just buying Google Ads for your company is not the way to go. You have to define who your ideal customer is and literally go after that person. The book does this for a fictional company, they lay out that it’s a small financial firm, that the owner plays a lot of golf and doesn’t like thinking about their IT trouble. They pass those duties of to their assistant, who would rather be shopping than thinking about why this computer won’t work.
It seems silly when you read it, but if you really look at it you can see that this is literally someone you can target with your Facebook marketing or whatever. Male, ages 40-50, likes golf, in the financial industry, and so on. A friend of mine always insisted that I find something unique when we talked about starting a company, which is probably why we never made it very far. It is exceedingly difficult to be unique in a market like hosting, which is likely why more people don’t do it.
So the trick is to develop your Unique Selling Proposition first, then market.