If you’ve read my blog before, you have heard me talk about how important it is to be able to express to your potential customers what you do, and why you are better than your competition. (Check out my post on “What’s your superpower?” for a refresher.)
I want to share with you an exercise that I have done with a couple of my clients.
- Go to your website and go to your “about us” page, or your “what we do” page or the equivalent.
- Highlight the text and paste it without formatting into a word or text document.
- Now do the same thing for your top three competitors.
- Go through each of them and take out any specific reference to the name, owner, or any other kind of demographic data that could specifically identify your company or your competitor.
- Print them out, and go to your employees (if you have any) and then to people outside of the company. Go to your neighbors, friends, and family.
- Ask them which one is you your business.
If they can’t tell, you’ve got some work to do.
It typically will mean one of two things (if not both):
You are using terms that everyone else is using, and they are too general.
You are intentionally general because you don’t want to scare off a potential customer.
These are both mistakes that will hurt your online presence. (If you do this same thing in person, it will have the same effect.)
Let me give you an example. I have a client that is an occupational health department. They have two major competitors in the area. Here are the main parts of two of their websites. (I’ve condensed these down and removed the bullet points and white space so you can better compare the words.) The third competitor’s site was very much the same thing, so I won’t make you read through a third one.
Conveniently located in ________, we serve businesses of every size. We have clients representing a broad range of industries including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail and the public sector. We also serve people through our OEM Clinic exposed to chemicals/toxic substances or who have experienced on-the-job injuries. These patients are often referred by primary care doctors, lawyers, unions or insurance companies/agencies. Customized plans to meet the unique needs of your company or organization. Urgent Care, Minor lacerations, Contusions, Strains / Sprains, Minor fracture, Eye injuries, Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Hand Hardening, Occupational Therapy, Chemical Exposure, Specialty Care, Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE), Case Management, Disability Management, Independent Medical Exams (IME), Repetitive Stress Injuries, Travel Medicine, Exams and Regulatory Evaluations, Pulmonary function testing, Pre-placement physicals, Drug and alcohol testing, Immunizations/vaccinations, Hearing testing, Medical surveillance (OSHA Required), DOT Exams, Police/fire physicals, Fit for duty exams, Back injury prevention, Annual physicals, Immigration Physicals, Prevention and Assessment Services, Job Analysis, Orthotics/Prosthetics clinic, Ergonomic workstation evaluation, Safety/hazard identification, Corporate wellness,
______________ Occupational Health Center is devoted to preventing, evaluating, and managing conditions that are commonly or uniquely experienced by workers exposed to hazards in the workplace. We understand the functional requirements of any given job situation, and help individuals achieve maximum ability. We use our knowledge and considerable experience to effect a successful, timely return to work. __________ Occupational Health Center is dedicated to: A collaborative partnership displaying enhanced communication with our client, A Board Certified Occupational Health Physician led team which provides appropriate care with a return to work focus, Expedient access to the highest caliber of musculoskeletal specialists the region has to offer, from orthopedic surgeons to Spine Center physiatrists, State-of-the-art employee health services that comply with all current regulations _____________ Occupational Health Center is dedicated to helping our clients and their employees stay safe, healthy and productive. Our team has been helping companies like yours address the costs of workers compensation and the indirect costs associated with it for over 15 years.
________ Occupational Health Center offers a comprehensive portfolio of services including, Pre-placement and post injury physical examinations, Fitness for duty evaluations, Injury management, Coordination of health care and referrals to specialists, Work hazard identification, Coordination of post-injury return to work, Workers’ Compensation evaluations and hearing testimony, Immunizations, Medical screening, Dedicated occupational medicine physical therapy center, Hand therapy, Medical surveillance, Federal regulated DOT drug testing, On-site employee health services, Consultation on health-related issues, Injury case management, Spine Center, Hand Center, Physical Therapy
Now, an employee of any of these facilities could spot the differences and know which was theirs. An honest employee would admit that they would not be able to tell the difference if they didn’t work there.
I’m currently working with this client to re-write one of these to find a way to say what they do differently, and more simply so that people not in the industry understand it.
Do yourself a favor. Do this exercise. If someone unfamiliar with your company can tell you the difference clearly and concisely, then you are on the right track. If not, get your notebook out and start working on it. It will put you far ahead of your competition!