In order to make your business stand out you need a ‘hook’ or unique selling point (USP). Why would I go to you? What do you have to offer that somebody else doesn’t, maybe cheaper, maybe you are just closer.
It’s actually far more simple than people think to appear above the organic listings on search for local business. This guide is for all the independants out there.
None of these kebab houses in a small borough of North Bristol have their own websites, but if you are on a phone the reviews will lead you to the closest or most reviewed – 106 reviews is significant and is a USP in it’s own right. If you are looking for takeaway 106 5* reviews is enticing, and they make a damn good kebab which is the best hook.
They received this feedback simply by asking face to face- ‘do you have a Google account, it is easy to leave a review, please do‘.
When confronted like this people are highly unlikely; first to say no, and second to leave a bad review. It’s basic human nature paired with a CTA. That said if you don’t ask for reviews you get something like Charcoal Grill’s listing. They are also good and I personally would review them at 5* but they are more expensive than other takeaways and there is a flashier fish and chip bar next door.
Finally dolphin has bad reviews. Their food is frozen and it is a very standard takeaway staple which costs a lot because of its location. On top of that there are probably about one hundred eateries on that road alone (it used to be the longest row of independent businesses in the country). One shuts and another opens seemingly overnight.
It is that simple make your niche – location is as (or more) important offline than a URL is online. Even if you don’t have a URL you can still rank in above the organic listings and in a first world country most people have a smartphone.
So what is the hook: In these cases the hook is their location and the quality of their food, along with how they treat their clients. It works with all businesses which aren’t purely online. ‘Reel ’em in like a fish on a hook’. You may hate a client but always be courteous. All it takes is one bad experience to ruin a reputation.
Applying The Hook to Generic Online Services
Let’s imagine for a second I ask you what your your unique selling points are – as I do with all my clients – and you can think of literally no reason why I should choose you over your competition. Maybe it’s a big market and you just want a slice. How do you approach that.
I’ll start by using a generic marketer as our subject in this case study. They are pushing their product(s). Often they don’t know what they are doing and offer no ROI, but I digress read my about page if you are unaware how many leeches there are in this business. You can find examples of my many unique selling points too if you like ;).
Our marketer can blog about what they do day to day. That may build a following, if they explain simply why the do what they are doing better than others in the market; exponential growth is possible.
This is SEO at its most basic, but many self proclaimed experts don’t get past telling their clients ‘make a blog then push it on social channels and email’. For this method to work you have to have a mix of luck, skill, personality and time. Luck and time are the strongest factors for our marketer, but that isn’t true in every business.
It is much better explaining how people can perform your service themselves, I would place that under personality because you are being seemingly selfless however give and you shall receive.
To the average reader of my blog SEO is tricky – they haven’t had lots of practice and don’t know what works for them and what doesn’t yet. Your potential client will realise that a DIY bodge job and a professional job are completely different worlds but they can still make improvements if they are willing to put the time in. The choice is theirs and maybe you will get a bookmark, follower and eventually a customer if they go DIY.
Applying The Hook to a service which also operates a website
Let’s take a local plumber who also offers do it yourself advice for free online. A mix of the previous two examples. Chances are their followers will either give a great review if they fix their issue themselves or make more of a mess for you to clean and increase your return on investment in both cases.
This sounds immoral at first but you are telling people how to do things correctly and safely. Clearly state that they should use a professional if they have no experience and then it is completely up to your visitor to judge their ability. By showing your honesty you build trust before you have even spoken to your client.
Often people search for a DIY service because they have seen it done before and think that they are able to do it themselves. On investigation they may well find they can’t, and you may well find you have a client.
Be creative with how you market. There are always ways of improving user experience for both brick and mortar and the online market. Give a man a fish and he is full for a day, teach a man to fish and he is full for the rest of his life and might ask to learn spear fishing. That’s the hook.