5 Tips for Creating a Unique Value Proposition
Do you know what your best customers would say if you asked them why they keep hiring you?
Would they say it’s because you show up on time and work fast? Or would they say it’s because you consistently offer the lowest quote? Or would they say it’s because you are easy to work with, put on booties before entering their homes and always clean up after yourself?
You may not put much stock in these answers, but they are the key to determining your “unique value proposition,” which marketing gurus say should drive all your marketing.
A unique value proposition summarizes what sets a product, service or business apart from the competition in the eyes of the target customer. It should represent the intersection of what your customers value most and what you do best.
You probably don’t want to emphasize price if general contractors are hiring you because you are well organized, proactive and never miss a deadline. If you specialize in making and installing cabinets in high-end homes, you probably want to emphasize craftsmanship and fine materials over speed and price.
Creating a unique value proposition will force you to decide whether you want to compete on price and speed or quality. That’s a good thing for most small businesses, whose chance of success tends to widen as their focus narrows.
In either case, when it comes to creating a unique value proposition, you’ll want to distill your value proposition into two sentences — three at the most — so you can use it in daily conversations as well as throughout your marketing material.
Below are five suggestions that may help you come up with an effective, if not unique, value proposition.
Cost transparency: One of the biggest hurdles contractors face is earning customers’ trust. Homeowners may have spent hours reading horror stories about botched remodeling jobs and repairs by the time they discover your company. Regardless of how you price your services, one way to extinguish those doubts and distinguish yourself as a straight shooter is to offer more transparency regarding how you set your prices.
Client collaboration: Use apps to give clients greater insight into and control over their home improvement projects. Alair Homes has built its business around an online platform that lets customers review budgets, select materials, consider subcontractors and monitor timelines or inspections 24/7. Many small contractors are sharing 3D renderings created with architectural apps like Chief Architect or 3D Architect with clients to facilitate collaboration.
Express warranty: The fragmented nature of regulation can make it difficult for homeowners to know what their rights and obligations are, so why not state your warranty clearly on your website and invoices? Better yet, offer an express warranty that exceeds state requirements, which tend to be minimal.
Project expertise: Highlight success working with emerging materials or technologies and completing complex or risky projects on time. This could range from installing smart home systems that will save energy to remodeling bathrooms in high-rise apartments and installing large-format tile floors. A handyman might want to emphasize that he is fully insured for, and willing to take on, gutter repair and maintenance, soffit cleaning, small roof repairs and other high-ladder work.
Regulatory expertise: This refers to special knowledge and experience with ordinances, regulations and codes that may be specific to a certain property, neighborhood or town. Carpenters, finishers, plumbers, electricians and roofers in St. Augustine, Florida or Savannah, Georgia might want to emphasize expertise in restoring historic buildings. In South Florida, a remodeler might want to highlight his experience working in high-rise condominiums governed by homeowner associations. If you specialize in installing fences or building decks or outdoor kitchens, you might want to emphasize your familiarity with restricted covenants prevalent in large gated communities.
The foundation of brand building
Creating a unique value proposition will lay the foundation for all your brand building and marketing efforts because at the end of the day, a brand is essentially a promise to the consumer.
So don’t get hung up on the word “unique.” Try creating a unique value proposition that differentiates you from your most immediate competitors. Make sure it’s authentic and practical. In other words, don’t promise more than you can deliver.