Positioning Your Business in the Mind of Your Customer

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Describing and positioning your business accurately, honestly, and concisely makes it easy for your customers to choose you and then to recommend you to their friends.

Al Ries and Jack trout came up with this idea twenty years ago. It still makes sense today.

Positioning solves your customer’s problem of too much choice and too little time

The idea is simple. When your customer needs a product or service, they have many businesses to choose from. They need an easy way to choose the right business.

So, the customer has a problem (blocked drain, leaky roof, car needs an MOT or they need flowers for an anniversary etc) and they have a list of businesses that solve that problem.

Positioning: McDonald's positioning is easy to understand. It's The Low Cost Family restaurant.

McDonald’s is…

The Family Friendly Low Cost Restaurant.

See how easy that is to understand?

How do they choose the right business for them?

They make a list on paper or in their mind, ranking each business from best to worst choice.

It’s your job to make sure your business occupies the top position in that list. It’s a battle for your customer’s mind.

How do you get to be the number one choice for your customer? You position your business as the number one choice in your customer’s mind.

How positioning works

First you clearly state…

The customer can now decide if your business is worth investigating further.

If the customer’s problem and your solution match, they want to know…

  • Can I trust you?
  • Are you a local business or a national chain?
  • How well established is your business?
  • Where do you fit in compared to the businesses they already know?

To understand this second part of positioning your business, let’s see how Google positions your business in it’s Google My Business listings.

Google ranks your business using these factors…

  • Relevance
  • Proximity
  • Prominence

Relevance
If someone searches for emergency plumber. And your website includes the words emergency plumber. Goole thinks your website is useful to that searcher. If your site uses the word plumber, but not the word emergency, your site would be less useful to someone searching for emergency plumber.

Proximity
How close to the searcher is your business? In your Google My Business listing, you can list the areas you cover. And Google knows where the searcher is located by positioning data it gets from their mobile phone. So, if someone who is in Greengates Bradford uses their phone to search for plumber. Google displays results showing plumbers that list Greengates Bradford as one of the areas they cover. So Google might list you higher in their results page for that searcher, if your business is located in, or covers, Greengates Bradford. Because you cover the area the searcher is in.

Prominence
There’s another part to this puzzle, your prominence.

Google searches the internet looking for trust factors related to your business.

Trust factors include…

  • Being listed on many listing sites, such as Yelp or the local chamber of commerce website.
  • Online reviews are another trust factor Google considers.
  • Trustworthiness. If Google thinks your business is more trustworthy than a competitor. It will regard you as being more prominent in the business community. And that can result in your business ranking higher in the search engine results page.

Google has now positioned your business in it’s listing.

Google will position your business higher if you are relevant to the search query. Your business is located close to the searcher, or you list their location as an area that you cover. And your business was prominent, trusted and well respected.

You could use this same system to position your business in the mind of the customer

Imagine you’re telling a friend what you do.

You wouldn’t use fancy words or be manipulative. You’d try help them understand what work you do, and which people you work for. You wouldn’t pretend to be a much bigger business than you are. Nor would you say you cover every city from Edinburgh to St Ives.

Customers want to recommend you to their friends and family.

So you need to describe your business accurately, honestly, and concisely. This makes it easy for your customers to choose you and to recommend you to their friends. But if you use fancy words and complicated explanations to look bigger or more important than you really are. You’ll confuse everybody. And nobody knows if you’re the right business for them.

They’ll know at a glance

If you position your business well, potential customers will be able to tell immediately if you’re a good match for them. It will also reduce the number of calls you get from people wanting jobs doing that are of no interest to you. Take care, get it right, then go forth and prosper.

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