In Search of a More Immediately Quantifiable Value Proposition

One of my first ideas was “Copywriting Packages” and I believe this option continues to be the best value for money and effort spent for my potential clients

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, considering and consolidating recently and have some big adjustments to make on my website, which will include removing (or reassigning) Small Business Excellence and replacing it with an Insight section that will serve as a new small business marketing education resource –

Something similar had of course been my intention with SBE, and I hope to be able to return to this initiative one day, but right now it has been recommended (by one of the authors whose work I’m currently reading – Dave Holloway, Wonder Leads) that providing educational and informative resources for visitors to view and gain value from is indeed part of the way forward.

I also intend to focus my efforts on providing a more immediately quantifiable value proposition, “Increase your brand influence online”, as opposed to any synonym of “boost your business” –

Because it is easy to discover the rough amount of web space (including social media and 3rd party space) which one business possesses – it is harder to track their paid online advertising but those such as Google and Facebook ads are also easily discoverable…

  • I can research the sales landscape/ industry which a particular small business is seeking to make an impact and make gains within, assess which competitors have the strongest and most effective marketing campaigns, and build a marketing strategy to cut through such competition.

When I started my business, one of my first ideas was “Copywriting Packages” and I believe this option continues to be the best value for money and effort spent for my potential clients.

But making gains and keeping gains will require clients to make a commitment to producing great marketing material and content, and for new businesses and those on low budgets, such a commitment to up to date marketing and content material may appear like an unaffordable investment, at least to begin with –

But this is why all my services are currently free (no strings), I want prospects to be able to Try Before They Buy, and this trial will consist of a significant sized digital marketing/ copywriting package: The first step towards gaining and maintaining brand authority online.

I very much need to change my Information and Services page especially in order to focus around this better quantifiable product, “Increase your brand influence online”, and personal proposals to business owners all need to be focused around this more specific value proposition too.

I have my first lot of business cards, my “keys to the county” South Yorkshire travel pass! And I have the other stationary I need to create and hand deliver personalised product offers –

It will be a slow process, but as we know, a year has already passed, and to give up on patience or not to trust the process right now would be foolish.

In the meantime, I have a pilot podcast episode to analyse and edit! I recorded it sat at Doncaster train station several days ago, and in between train station noises, wind plus turbulence, and me being unsure how close I should hold the microphone, there might be some salvageable pieces to make into a short podcast –

I certainly hope so anyway as this is another avenue I’m seeking to use to build trust (through dialogue, even if only one way…) Podcasting is another form of media creation digital creators/ small business owners are encouraged to embrace! Plus, I enjoy listening to a good podcast (usually something paranormal, but that’s besides the point) …

I’ve had the choice between concentrating on unemployment or self-employment and small business-ing for podcasting, and although focusing on building small businesses will theoretically earn me an audience closer aligned with my prospective target audience, I feel a great solidarity with the great many who are unhappily unemployed, and want to acknowledge and encourage those individuals too –

After-all, “ungainfully self-employed” and “unemployed” amount to the same thing. So, maybe I’ll just have to start two slightly different podcasts, but again, the issue of productivity, efficiency etc arise – How can I create valuable, up to date content, read relevant materials and conduct research, create pitches/ proposals, and complete a variety of other business tasks, AND stay on top of everything?

I need more voluntary experience and I need clients, so unless an activity does not positively improve my prospects of such, then I will need to reassess if it’s necessary.

There’s plenty more to say but even more to do, so –

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What Would Grant Cardone Do?

I need a new angle, a new idea, a better way to communicate my value…

“Terms of Ill-Endearment” has closed the chapter on my first attempts at gaining interest in my products –

The bottom line is that I’ve little clue how to introduce myself in a way which effectively communicates my value.

At the job centre, they tell me not to draw attention to the length of time I have been job searching: I ask them, Isn’t it better for me to acknowledge it openly, rather than attempt to hide or lie about it to a potential employer or customer?

Whichever one of us is right can be disputed, but it cannot change the fact that on paper, my years of unemployment and health problems means that I have very, very little to recommend myself with.

No matter how skilled, competent or qualified a writer I am, I still struggle to come across as inspiring or trustworthy –

I’m still a stranger. So, can I draw people’s interest in another way?

I have spoken about this before, but what if I lead my business ambitions with teaching English to foreign learners –

I only need to prove I’m a native speaker, and my copywriting can prove my strength at written language too. I may even gain work writing English language marketing material for foreign companies this way, or proofreading English marketing or documents…

Whatever I choose to do, I cannot continue along the trajectory I’m on currently on of trying to build trust with British companies in the way I am doing.

My confidence wavers every time I have to mention my current situation as a long-term unemployed person (known colloquially as a “benefits scrounger”), and I fear I may be becoming less and less convincing with every attempt at confidence.

I need a new angle, a new idea, a better way to communicate my value –

And a new audience.

Perhaps it is not scientific to seek to change so many variables at once, but the only element of my business model which is strong is my product itself.

This product needs to be presented to someone with a reason to trust me – such as a business owner abroad with a need to advertise in English.

I’ve spoken often about the law of averages/ LoA, and my need to simply speak to a lot more business owners –

But the LoA requires the basic business pitch and value propositions to be sound, and from the lack of interest in my product so far, it’s reasonable to conclude that my pitch and value proposition are not sound.

What Would Grant Cardone Do? He’d sort it out, then begin relentlessly pitching again.

So I need to Sort it out… And begin pitching and pitching some more.

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Ineffective Marketing Material Used Too Infrequently

FATE would have it that the least qualified person in the world’s BEST chance at reasonable employment is to sell words.

Yesterday was an interesting day for critical self-appraisal and for sampling Ben and Jerry’s Banoffee ice-cream (which was also interesting) –

The truth is, my qualification in copywriting means almost nothing. It means a great deal to me, as I learned a great deal studying copywriting, and I earned my certification. 

But in the real world of customers and sales, new copywriters may frequently be bought by means of who they know, not what they know. And with a long history of unemployment and introversion, as I have already shared – I have no network, and no professional network.

My attempts at networking and seeking both voluntary and paid work have been choppy, and this can be blamed on a few things:

  • I’ve never set up a business before and have had some great advice but mostly I’ve had to wing it 
  • My value proposition is obviously all over the place (lack of confidence, experience, connections, business knowledge – I can’t really pin point one reason for this humongous problem)

And most importantly:

  • I haven’t sought to rectify the “Its not what you know, its who you know” problem with MASSIVE action (as Grant Cardone would have insisted)

But like I said, I hadn’t realised the extent of this failure until just recently.

“In times of economic decline [or just super hard times] MASSIVE ACTION is needed”

I’ve spent A LOT of time just trying to sort out this website (I had designed a whole other website which was trash so had to start again from scratch) –

And still, there’s plenty to fix on this, my online home. And on my similarly, semi-constructed social media.

BUT those aren’t the real issues! The #1 issue is my NETWORK –

Its my lack of network which is ensuring my lack of prosperity:

I’ve failed to apply the law of averages appropriately with a strong value proposition – I’ve used ineffective marketing material and I’ve used it too infrequently.

Last night, I started firing out audio messages on Instagram – something I completely forgot was possible. It’s quick but you only have one chance to say what you have to say, and if like me you are good at mumbling and getting words wrong when speaking, you can end up sending an audio message with at least one error in it. I think half my messages included me messing up my words a little even when I was reading them. 

So perhaps this isn’t the most effective way to communicate either, BUT, it is more personal than sending a written message,  and it is a lot quicker than recording and sharing many video messages –

But still I know that video messages, introductions and presentations are deemed the most effective, second only to face-to-face meetings.

On RuPaul’s Drag Race, contestants are tested on a variety of skills including choreography, stand up comedy, singing and acting. I’m yet to see any contestant conquer them all, although there are many excellent, highly skilled individuals who may just have one weakness –

My main strength is my copywriting. Everything else is a huge challenge, ESPECIALLY networking. The one thing I need to do well.

Imposter syndrome came yesterday and told me that because of this, I was, in fact, the LEAST qualified person on the planet to be a copywriter.

How inconvenient it is, therefore, for peace on Earth that Ruth Klempner DARE bring chaos by means of farfetched schemes and BLATANT overambitiousness?

It is the hand of fate. 

FATE would have it that the least qualified person in the world’s BEST chance at reasonable employment is to sell words.

I responded in various ways to this scary conclusion, but none of them have included throwing in the towel.

I know exactly what I’ve done wrong and why after almost a year, my business has still not started.

Its not that I can’t do it, its that no one knows me enough to trust or vouch for me. And how many times have I already admitted to that in this blog!

SO – MASSIVE ACTION IS NEEDED!

I need to pull on my best and brightest personalised messaging and marketing pants (with matching hat of course) and with a Value Proposition which makes irresistible sense and which works, I need to find my clients…

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

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Let’s Discuss Value Proposition

Customer loyalty is earned, not owed

I was recently corresponding with a small business owner about her frustration in losing business to a larger, and cheaper competitor.

To be frank, I will say that this small business owner appeared to be very entitled.

For the sake of discussion, let’s call her “Anna” (not her real name). 

Anna believed that because she spent time discussing her product with a customer that it was “unfair” when this same customer had then chosen to get the same item cheaper elsewhere.

Informing her of their expressed decision, the customer left and took their money with them.

Our correspondence took place via social media, under a post proclaiming:

“McDonald’s can mess up your order 1000 times and you still support them. A small business owner makes one mistake and you bash them for eternity.”

My immediate response was as follows:

“So what is McDonald’s doing right which many small businesses are not? Providing a quick, cheap satisfying service. This is not a feasible business model for most small businesses, so how else can small biz owners provide an irresistible service? If customers are not returning following a mistake then that is not the fault of corporate giants, but of small businesses themselves not offering irresistible value or service. 

This is a problem which can be rectified by increasing value and improving service. So how can small biz owners increase their value and improve their service?

Great question! And some excellent food for thought for all small business owners, including myself.”

Refusing to share any more information about her business (other than that she charges £5 more for one of her products than her competitors), Anna reasoned that her terrific reviews prove that she provides excellent customer service, and that there is nothing she can do to improve her value proposition to customers.

“In the last 2 weeks I’ve had to give customers my knowledge that they can’t get in the big stores only for then to say I can get it £5 cheaper and go buy from them which is very unfair of a person when you’ve spent half an hour giving them your time and knowledge” – Anna

When challenged to share a quick fix for her problem and the problem of many small business owners with big corporate competitors, I explained that Value Proposition can only be increased with:

  • Thorough and informed study of the small business, its products, its competition and the industry and therefore the customers it serves

I asked if losing business to bigger completion was a frequent problem for Anna – which would indicate a great need to increase value proposition for her – and she replied that actually her business is doing well, but that she was thinking more about small businesses which were not doing so well.

It is true that you can have a wonderful small business with excellent reviews and still lose custom to bigger business – in truth, it happens all the time.

“Supporting small businesses” is a practice which is apart from regular bargain hunting.

  • The very choice to support a small, local business owner and therefore to support local economy is part of the value proposition of a small, local business itself
  • Supporting local businesses gives many customers a sense of loyalty and pride

But purchases need to be worth the extra investment, and often “pride in supporting a small business” does not bridge the price gap between large and small companies and their price differential –

Without any further information about Anna’s business, except that it is generally “doing well”, it is likely that she presents a good quality sales environment, and that she provides helpful customer service. 

The customer who took their business elsewhere may simply have rejected the notion of “supporting local business” as a given obligation (this relates back to my sense of Anna’s entitlement to local customer loyalty) –

And despite Anna having kindly offered her time and expertise to describe the product and its uses (a free courtesy you could expect from any proud, small business owner), the customer was not bought.

Perhaps there was:

  • An addition service Anna could have offered with her product e.g. a valuable guarantee?
  • Another improvement she could have made to her sales environment (did it communicate value, welcome and expertise?)
  • A special offer for future purchases granted upon purchase of this initial product?

Without more information about Anna’s products, competition and industry, it is hard to say. But it should be clear to all small business owners, including myself:

  • We are each responsible for the value propositions we offer to customers
  • Customer loyalty is earned not owed
  • There is ALWAYS room for improvement with a small business and its products
  • Blaming big business and their cheap prices does not remove the responsibility a business owner has to present a competitive (not a cheaper) alternative to customers
  • There is usually no “quick fix” – dedicated small business owners must be prepared to assess their business models critically in order to improve them

Understanding Value Proposition is essential to every small business owner’s success.

I will continue to discuss this topic in further posts.

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