How you present yourself on your website can make, maim or kill your business. But before you can even consider placing a word on your website, you need to establish a brand strategy. Good to Great’s best-selling author Jim Collins calls this the Hedgehog concept (based on the philosophy great companies know one big thing). He insists you need to grasp three intersecting elements: # What you can be the best in the world at # What drives your economic engine # What you are deeply passionate about Establishing your core and knowing what you stand for helps you differentiate yourself from your competition. To be sure, in a sea of more than 100 million websites, you need to stand out from the crowd. The key, per the words of branding expert Rob Frankel, is: “Making people understand why your brand is the only solution to their problem.” How are you different and what value do you offer? Demonstrate value in your product or service by explicitly telling prospects how they’ll benefit from investing in your business. But be different in your solution and approach. For instance, a client in the medical x-ray services field had their web copywriting communicate vague statements like: “We’re dedicated to providing you with the highest level of professional service possible.” That’s not a hook. Any business can state that on its website, and most do. Some basic research revealed the client is the only business in its region that owns and operates some of the most advanced medical equipment available in their industry. As a result, they can provide the most accurate x-rays on the same business day. That differentiated our client, and became a large part of their selling proposition. No competitor could make the same claim in their market. That’s conveying real value. How can you differentiate your offerings? What’s different about your approach? Perhaps you can leverage your: * Selection * Experience * Knowledge * Credentials * Expediency * Style * Technology * Geography * Alliances * Tools * Customer service * Or one of many other factors There's no value in everyone knowing you if they don't know what you stand for and what you can do for them. Plus, the more reasons you give people to choose your brand, price becomes a less important purchase decision factor. When shaping your brand, strive to be distinct.

About the Author

Rick Sloboda, Senior Web Copywriter at Webcopyplus, has been writing for websites since 2001 for some of the world’s largest service providers (Cingular, Scotia Bank, etc.). He speaks frequently at Web-related forums and seminars.