You have heard of the term USP – unique selling proposition. It’s what makes you and your brand unique – the reason why people should choose you over someone else. Claro.
But what the heck is the SMP ?
Well, it can stand for a sub-machine pistol, a deadly weapon that hits people automatic-style.
But there’s another SMP that that’s just as dangerous…
and it’s the single-minded proposition - the most important thing you can say about your brand or product. It’s the reason why it exists in the first place – the most important value it provides to me as a customer. It can be summarized in the following question:
What value does your product/brand bring for me ?
It’s usually the core benefit that improves my (business) life in a considerable way.
So, why the hell do you need it ?
Well, a good SMP is like a good logo – it’s your brand essence compressed into one concise from that’s memorable and spreadable.
If you need a whole paragraph to describe what value you offer, it’s going to be sooo much harder for people to picture and spread it. But if you nail it down in one line – you have a pitch that everyone gets.
BTW – most online entrepreneurs (and even bigger brands) suck at single-minded propositions – they try to cram every offer under the known universe:
I’m a graphic designer and offer the following design services: brochures, ebook covers, prints, web-apparel-logo and xzy design.
Zzzzzzzz. Wow. A gallon of sleeping pill milk would keep me more awake than this crap line.
It’s generic, lacks focus and feels more forgettable than a new Simpsons episode.
The goal of a grrreat and effective SMP is to NAIL your offer in one clear & concise line.
I hate hate hate to refer to Apple again, but this example of a kick-ass single-minded proposition is simply TOO good:
Back in the day, when most mp3 players boasted with data features and facts, Apple chose the unconventional way and promoted it’s first iPod with one single line:
One thousand songs in your pocket.
It’s simple + visual = sticks in your brain like super-glue.
No abstract data of mbit storage that no one can picture – noooo, a THOUSAND fucking songs in your pocket.
But enough with the Apple example – how about my friend Miguel.
He runs a little online media studio called Grumo Media and promotes it with the following SMP:
“We create awesome demo videos”
Nothing that blows your head into epic proportions, but it’s clear like a crystal in the sky:
you know EXACTLY what Miguel’s studio offers.
Remember, clear beats clever ANYTIME. If your SMP makes me crack up, but DOESN’T tell me what your value is, you have blown it. Confused people don’t buy.
Also – in the examples above, the single-minded proposition also serves as the tagline. This is double-effective, because a tagline or slogan is usually the first line of text that you see associated with a brand or service.
Now that we learned why a SMP rocks socks off – it helps you easily get your value offer across – we can create YOURS…
How to create an effective single-minded proposition :
1) Umbrella term. Think about everything your offer product-and-service wise. No matter how different they are from each other, you probably can find an underlying line that sums it all up.
- If you’re a designer, what’s your speciality / style ?
- If you’re a writer, what’s the underlying link in all of your books ?
- If you’re a marketer – which part of marketing do you focus on ?
For me, it’s standing out online and breaking through the clutter. So all the services and products I offer – whether it’s visual storytelling design or consulting/eguide, fall under that motto of standing out, breaking through the clutter so you can reach the right customers that luv to buy your stuff.
The line below is sooo important I had to use ALL-CAPS:
IF YOU CAN’T SUM UP YOUR BUSINESS OFFER IN ONE LINE, IT’S NOT CLEAR ENOUGH.
Specifically, remember the following points :
2) Clarity. Ahh, like the astral projection of a zen monk, you want to be crystal-like-clear with your SMP. No ambiguous word choice, no confusing spelling or grammer. “A thousand songs in your pocket” “I help you stand out online” “We create awesome demo videos”. A clear bullet that rips through your prospect’s brain. Burrrrn.
3) Simplicity. The MORE you have to pack into your SMP line, the less effective it will be. Using a line like “Our food is sustainable, healthy, freshly-baked and tastes delicious blah blah” is messy and generic. No one’s gonna remember that and care for what you stand for. Aim for ONE, single-encompassing offer that includes everything you offer. Yeah, it’s hard-as-hell, but come on, you’re a fucking entrepreneur.
Soo, what’s your SMP going to look like ?
And share this post with your peers that need to hone theirs !
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