7 Ideas to Help You Differentiate Yourself on Your B2B Website

7 Ideas to Help You Differentiate Yourself on Your B2B Website
Michele Linn - Wed Mar 17, 2010 @ 04:01AM
Comments: 76

7 Ideas to Help You Differentiate Yourself on Your B2B WebsiteOne of the things I mention time and time again is that you needs to be able to articulate how your company is unique - why would someone want to do business with you? While this is something that is challenging in any industry, it's a particularly daunting task when you are selling your services instead of a product where there are not tangible things to compare. It's easy to fall into the trap of saying things like, "I'm experienced" and "I'll get the job done." Yawn.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Dianna Huff, a B2B Website Marketing Consultant, to update some of the content on her website, including her "How I'm Different" page. If you know Dianna, you know that she has extensive experience and a boatload of happy clients; just one conversation with her, and you can see why her services are in such high demand.

But, even then, under the best of circumstances, pulling together the "How I'm Different" page is not a straightforward task. If you have ever struggled to differentiate yourself or your client, here are some tips.

Listen -- really listen -- to all feedback from customers and prospects
Really listen to what your prospective and current clients are telling you. Are there things that they praise you for? Or do they seem surprised when you share some information with them? These are the things you want to highlight. Dianna was great about sending me anecdotes about conversations she had with prospective clients or customers about why they were working with her, which gave me a lot of ideas for the page.

For instance, Dianna edited the bestseller, Inbound Marketing - a job she got from a recommendation from David Meerman Scott. She mentioned that a few people she talked to had brought this up and were really impressed (I know I was), so I knew this unique experience was something I had to incorporate on the page.

Look beyond the website
As part of the writing process, I read Dianna's website thoroughly. I also checked out things like her LinkedIn profile, her newsletter and her blog to get ideas. I constantly found myself referencing this information to make her message stronger.

Consider the competition
I always ask clients for their primary competitors. I don't want to copy what they are doing, but I like to see how others are positioning themselves to get a sense of what prospects see when they are searching for information about your type of service.

Think about what matters to your audience
There may be a lot of things that you do well, but you need to couch them in the perspective of your audience. For instance, I analyzed all of Dianna's recommendations on LinkedIn to see which qualities mattered and impressed her audience most. In the case of Dianna's website, I wanted her "How I'm Different" page to establish her credibility and show how easy she is to work with.

Be as specific as possible
The last thing you want to do to differentiate yourself is to use gobbledygook such as "Industry-leading" and "innovative". Rather, you need to be very explicit as to how you are different. Looking at Dianna's page, she could have simply stated that she is experienced. But, rather, she highlights specific things such as the fact that she has been in business since 1998, she has served over 90 clients and has produced award-winning work. Those types of details are far more powerful.

Make sure this page is consistent with your messaging
Think about the message your website is trying to communicate about your business. An effective "How We're Different" page will tie all of these pieces together. Dianna was re-branding herself as a B2B Website Marketing Consultant, so this was a key point I highlighted on the page.

Get an outside perspective
Oftentimes, it's difficult to know what makes you unique or to say it in a way that makes you stand out. Getting an outside perspective can really help give you a new perspective. This is true for anyone selling a product or a service, but it's an observation that may not be obvious to those of us who do marketing and writing for a living - we think we should be able to figure it out on our own.

Dianna remarked to me multiple times that this wasn't an approach she would have taken - but she loves it. As I have also personally experienced, I have a much easier time giving clients advice than being objective about my own business.

What other tips do you have to help articulate a company's unique place in the market?

Related posts:

About the author: Michele Linn is a B2B content strategist who helps companies create content and think through how their B2B prospects will consume it (from registration to promotion). You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.

Comments: 76

Comments

1. Dianna Huff  |  my website   |   Wed Mar 17, 2010 @ 04:43AM

Michele,

Like you, I tell my clients that having me write for them gives them an outside perspective on their business and services / products.

Of course, I never thought to seek outside help for myself.

For those of you reading this post, having Michele help me communicate what I do was invaluable and it made redoing my Website about much, much easier. I don't like tooting my horn -- Michele tooted it for me. :-)

She also provided a detailed analysis of my site -- again, something I provide for my clients but had never done for myself.

If you're a service provider / small business and struggling to communicate who you are, I highly recommend you get outside help. I'm really glad I did!

2. Michele Linn  |  my website   |   Wed Mar 17, 2010 @ 06:48AM

Dianna,

I agree that service providers and small businesses can benefit from an outside perspective, but I think this advice is as equally applicable to larger organizations, too (perhaps even more so). As I experienced when I was in product marketing, it's so easy to get tunnel vision because everyone on the team is working from a very similar experiences. It's amazing to me how much a different perspective can make a huge difference, especially if the organization is open to making changes.

One other observation I'll add: I started doing a detailed analysis of my own website months ago. It was helpful, but a) it didn't offer me that much of a new perspective; and b) I never finished it because client projects took priority. Another benefit of working with someone else is that it makes you accountable! When I'm ready to update my site, I'm sure I'll find someone to help.

3. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Thu Mar 18, 2010 @ 03:12AM

Great post, Michele!
Coming up with that point of differentiation, or "USP" - unique selling proposition - can be one of the toughest pieces of the marketing puzzle. Your suggestions on how to "mine" for the really good bits are excellent.

I also echo Dianna's advice to seek outside help. It's much too easy to get mired in our own expectations and aspirations when it comes to talking about why people should work with us. Sometimes, it takes someone who knows less about us to easily see what makes us stand out.

Great ideas - thanks!

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