Web positioning is the place your website occupies in the mind of a customer and how it is perceived as being different from other competing websites. Don't underestimate the importance of positioning your website or brand correctly, it should be considered early in any website development process. This article looks at the web positioning process and the types of positioning that you can use.
Who is your typical customer?
Your typical customer is the type of person who is likely to buy your product most often. You'll have some clues if you've done online market research, but you'll now want to dig deeper and really get an idea of who that person is and what's going on inside their head.
You might have an idea of who you customers are but it's a good idea to solidify this image. Create a typical customer profile where you actually write out a description of what is a typical customer for your website. Actually, write a few paragraphs that goes into detail of what they're about. Their age, gender, what clothes they wear, what they look like, how they speak, what they care about and are interested in etc. Most importantly what their problems and motivations are. Even give that person a made up name.
The key is to create a character that, informed by your market research, accurately represents the type of person that you'll be selling your product to.
For example, if you were selling a membership for vegans looking to lose weight, then one of the typical customer profiles that you create would end up looking a bit like this:
Name: Hippie Heather
Hippie Heather is a mid-thirties female who has been following a vegan lifestyle for several years now. She really cares about the environment and animal's rights and has even adopted a cat from an animal shelter. In her free time she also does yoga. Her weakness is emotional eating where she ends up eating a lot of chocolate/pizza when she's feeling low. This has caused her to gain a lot of weight but she's now motivated to lose it as she wants a new boyfriend. A potential solution might be to offer her a vegan diet and work out program that strictly followings the vegan lifestyle but will help her lose weight as it's gluten free.
Also, if you know your market really well then you might want to create other characters to represent different segments of your market. Continuing with the same example, you might also have Conscientious Kate, a vegan that is super organized and is into her fitness and healthy living routines, or Geeky Gwen a vegan that wants to lose weight but spends too much time physically inactive using online message boards, social networks and videogames.
What is your customer's motivation?
Now that you know what is a typical customer for your product, think about who it is that they're trying to become and just as importantly, why? This is the customer motivation.
For example, a skinny man that works out in the gym might idolize someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why? Because Arnold represents the strength, confidence and success that this man would like to be.
You want your website or product to embody the qualities of the person that the customer wants to become. That's why a men's muscle building supplement would contain strong bold fonts and bright colors that scream "attention", whereas a chilled out herbal sleeping supplement might contain soothing greens and soft curvy text.
Your competitive positioning strategy
Now you know what is a typical customer, what their problems are and what their motivation is.
The next stage in web positioning is to make it so that when a customer is looking for a product to solve their problems, your product is stronger or different in one certain aspect compared to the other products on offer. This is the competitive advantage that your product will have.
If you've done any online market research, then you can have a look at the competitor research and examine what position you occupy compared to others within the market (this is called doing competitive positioning analysis).
If your competition is too strong, don't fret. Your strategy doesn't actually have to involve being better than the competition, you just have to be different from the competition. One of the best ways to out-compete your competition is by focusing on your core strengths.
What are your core strengths?
What are you strongest at? Everyone is naturally better at some things over others. These are your core strengths (also called core competencies) and this is where you should focus your marketing efforts so that you out-compete your competition.
If you were looking to promote a membership website via content marketing, which one of the following core competency examples would you say you are strongest at?
- Writing (articles, checklists)
- Speaking (podcasts, audio training programs, PowerPoint slides/video talks)
- Visuals (infographics, diagrams)
- Presenting (video blogs, video training)
- Programming (software solutions)
- Personal interaction (webinars, member forums)
So if you're setting up a membership site, choose one of the above core competency examples that you feel most comfortable with and emphasize this in your web positioning of your product offering.
What is your unique selling point?
Your unique selling point (USP) is what makes your product different or better than the competition. You need to identify what your unique selling point is so that people will be willing to choose you over the competition.
If you look at your core strengths, these are a good indicator of what you should emphasize as your unique selling point.
The importance of a unique selling point becomes apparent when a customer is at the stage of searching for a product to solve their problems. If you have a strong unique selling point, then your product will stand out from the crowd and grab their attention. This uniqueness and product differentiation will allow you to out-compete your competition, making your product bought more often by certain groups of people in a market.
Unique selling point ideas
Your unique selling point can be a number of different things:
- Whilst your competition makes the best pizzas in town, you might make the cheapest.
- You might sell the "organic, 100% natural diet" instead of the "diet filled with gluten, preservatives and genetically modified plants".
- Your competition offers some online software with more functionality and complexity, but with your web positioning you offer online software that is simpler and easier to use.
- You offer a video training course whereas your competitors only offer articles/audio training.
- Your price is different as it is lower or more convenient (e.g. a smaller monthly fee instead of a larger one off payment).
- Your guarantee is different as you offer a 60 day money back promise vs no guarantee at all.
Not everyone has to like you
Remember: Don't try to appeal to everyone.
When you try to make your product appealing to everyone, it appeals to no one.
You want to have certain groups of people loving your product, even if it means other groups hate it. Just think of the British brand 'Marmite' that prides itself with the slogan "Love it or hate it".
In fact, if your product polarizes people then this is usually a good sign that your product is going to be successful.
Take action now
If you really want your web positioning to be effective, I recommend writing down notes on each of the following:
- Figure out who your typical customer is.
- Understand the customer motivation.
- Uncover your competitive advantage and decide upon a competitive positioning strategy.
- Discover your core strengths.
- Figure out your unique selling point.
- Don't try to appeal to everyone.
Now you've got a better idea of how web positioning affects a membership site, you're ready for the next article where you can decide which membership site ideas will work best for you. Plus don't forget to check out the previous article on online market research if you haven't already done so.