The problem with positioning your business as a freelance
Every business needs effective positioning to succeed. Whether you are a freelancer offering services to clients or a brand with tangible products, your success largely depends on people's perception of you and what you offer.
How do you present your services? Why would anyone want to work with you and not the others like you? Understanding the importance of strategic positioning could be a great start to standing out from the crowd and earning more money.
In this article we look at the problems with positioning, additionally, we present recommended solutions to them. Read on!
Challenges businesses face with positioning
A major hurdle of all businesses is how to find the sweet spot — unique yet not so different to the point of undesirability or confusion. Every business strives to attract customers and these customers wouldn't come if they feel you have nothing to offer or do not know how to use your product.
Also, businesses want to get into and remain in the minds of their customers— for good reasons. But this can be a challenging task.
Sometimes, you could genuinely have a lot of value to offer but cannot strategically place your business before the right audience.
Effective positioning aims to reconcile all this by creating real value for customers and marketing your business to an audience that appreciates it.
Benefits of effective positioning
Effective positioning contributes positively to your business in many ways, they include:
- Attracts more customers
- Increases loyalty to your brand
- Can help in business expansion
- Enables your business to provide solutions to real problems
The problems with poor positioning
1. Lack of differentiation
A major challenge your business will face is how to stand out, for instance, the freelance industry has about 1.37 billion freelancers according to research, this is a huge number and millions of freelancers abound in whatever niche you consider.
How can a freelance writer differentiate himself from a million others?
Freelance business isn't the only one with strife competition. Other industries too have so many companies churning out nearly identical products.
2. Too broad positioning
When you put your business as a one size fits all solution it sometimes begins to lose credibility in the eyes of people.
Imagine a designer who doubles as a programmer and also does video editing. While this could indicate a lot of skill, most clients would prefer masters in specific roles.
3. Poor research
Before setting out to create a business, adequate research is rudimentary. Your research should cover the audience you need want to target, the product you want to offer and the competition.
Failing to run a research-backed approach leads to offering products and services that have no value or a market.
Impact of poor positioning
Below are a few negative ways that poor positioning can impact your business.
1. Difficulty in gaining customer attention
The modern-day consumer is in haste, this is more true in the digital sphere. There is an overwhelming amount of information and products on the internet.
Therefore, gaining customer attention has never been more challenging. This is why you need a strong value proposition, well-planned and delivered marketing, and an overall positive image.
Poor business positioning will hamper your ability to achieve those.
2. Inability to target the right audience
Let's assume you have a business that offers great value but your marketing efforts are not strategic, all it takes is a couple of more expensive ads and you are out of business.
Moreover, a badly positioned business is bound to get the wrong visitors. With poor positioning, you waste time and resources putting your business before people who have no use for it.
3. Failure to deliver on promises
A lot of business position themselves as what they are not or are not so clear on what exactly they offer. Sometimes, misinterpretation on the parts of the clients or consumers on what they stand to gain.
This confusion, arising from poor positioning, can lead to disappointment and failure to meet promises you made to customers.
Solutions to the problems of positioning
Follow the steps below to avoid the problems that come with poor business positioning.
1. Conducting thorough research
Research is arguably the most crucial step to eliminating the bad positioning of your business. Thorough and insightful research reveals what to do every step of the way in your business development journey.
To create a business that is sufficiently different, narrowly positioned, and targeting the right audience, you need to:
- Find out what potential customers need. What behavioural tendencies and motivations do they have?
- Find out what other brands are doing and how they are meeting these needs.
- Find out people's opinions, through reviews and ratings, about those brands.
- Find out the lapses and where you can fit in — your unique value proposition
Tips for conducting useful research
To obtain any useful data from your research you need to consider a few things:
- Be objective. Try to avoid any sort of bias.
- Be empathetic by trying to understand how customers feel.
- Be consistent in your research method.
2. Creating a unique value proposition
A unique value proposition (UVP) is a statement that presents the unique benefit that a product or service offers to its customers. It is a competitive factor intended to set a business apart from its rivals.
A UVP is how you convince potential customers to choose your offerings over others.
Below are steps to develop a unique value proposition:
- Know your target audience: Understand your target audience and what they need. Consider what motivates them and what problems they are trying to solve.
- Identify your competitors: Identify your competitors and what they offer. Understand their strengths and weaknesses and how you can differentiate yourself from them.
- Focus on your strengths: Identify your unique strengths, skills, and abilities that can help you provide value to your target audience. Think about what makes you different and better than your competitors.
- Define your benefit: Identify the key benefit that your product or service provides to your target audience. This benefit should be the foundation of your UVP.
- Craft your statement: Once you have identified your strength and audience, craft a statement that clearly communicates your unique value proposition. This statement should be concise, easy to understand, and memorable.
A good UVP should answer the question "Why should I choose your product or service over your competitors?" It should be a clear and compelling message that resonates with your target audience and makes them want to choose your product.
3. Focusing on customer experience
Customer-focused products are immensely more successful than those that fail to capture the needs and motivations of users. Most digital products today incorporate best customer experience practices and this has greatly paid off.
User-centric products aim to meet promises, to fulfill the expectations of target users. This helps to properly position your business before an audience that benefits from it.
Steps to creating a customer-focused approach
To create user-centric products there are a variety of frameworks and tools. A popular framework is design thinking. Essentially, most frameworks can be summarised into three main steps:
- Research your users and competition.
- Creatively design solutions based on research findings.
- Test prototypes of your design and evaluate feedback to refine them.
The user experience design industry is one example of an industry that relies on a customer-focused approach to make innovative and useful products.
Bad positioning hurts the chances of growth of any business. You need to invest time and effort in making sure you are in the minds of your target users. Conduct adequate research, create a UVP, and employ user-centric techniques to ensure your business is effectively seen and appreciated.