Actually the answer is pretty simple. You haven’t given me sufficient reason to choose you over your competitors. Today’s customer has more choice, more knowledge, and even tabbed browsing to evaluate you and distinguish you from all of your competitors. In the few seconds they’ll invest in your website, if they can’t decide why you might be the solution to their want or need, they’ll close that tab faster than your Flash promotion can ever engage them.

I just returned from SES Toronto. One of the sessions I moderated was the PPC (define) ad and landing page clinic. A common mistake we saw: companies failing to position their value relative to their competitors.

So how do you avoid this mistake?

First, position yourself in your ads. The typical searcher is evaluating your ad compared to three to five others. Then, of course, position yourself on your landing page, but don’t forget every other page on your website. Buyers rarely see only your landing page. Give people a reason why they should choose you.

Don’t use flaccid, sugar-coated copy. If I could have a nickel for every unsubstantiated superlative I see in PPC ads and on websites, my great-great grandchildren would never have to work a day in their lives. No you aren’t amazing, the best, most innovative, number one, etc. At least not until other people say it and you can document it with facts. Two examples from the clinic come to mind. I won’t give the specifics to protect the guilty, but enough that you will get the idea.

The first example was from someone who sells used cars. Their ads sounded exactly like everyone else’s – “search from our extensive collection.” Extensive, according to whom? Is that an extensive three cars or 30,000? So, the first thing we asked the person from this website was – why should anyone buy from you? He replied that they were the biggest. The biggest what? According to? He said they had the largest inventory. That’s a great benefit for someone searching for a used car, but superlatives and hyperbole don’t help your visitors choose. Use specifics. Say something like “search from over 36,000 used vehicles in our collection.” If you could say “search from over 300 Acura TL no older than 2006” that would be even better. Get it?

Another example was a company that sold leadership training. Their ad sounded just like Charlie Brown’s teacher: Wa wa wa wa wa wa. Every ad on the page sounded exactly the same. When I asked what they do differently and what was their goal, they responded that they were rated number one by a major publication and that their goal was to get people to come and get evaluated. I recommended they change their ad to suggest they were top ranked and that they should register to see if they qualify. They had to be sure that on the landing page they documented their number one ranking. And by telling people they may not qualify, being a bit exclusive could help their positioning.

People are bombarded with sales messages all the time. If you can’t cut through the clutter immediately to offer them something that has obvious value, they’ll be long gone to someone who can.

Nowadays, a lot of prospective customers have very short attention spans and even shorter memories, and they’re jaded.

You must make your value proposition or campaign proposition – strong, simple, quick, and clear – immediately, when prospects first hit your site. If you don’t have a strong value or campaign proposition and don’t state it clearly right upfront, you’re sending your traffic elsewhere instead of drawing them deeper into your own sales funnel.

Need help figuring out how to do that? Write down every possible reason you can find why someone should want to do business with your firm. If you want real results, involve your entire company in a high-energy brainstorming session. If you don’t find at least a few dozen reasons, either you aren’t trying very hard or you have a very boring company. Don’t be afraid to get professional help. Your survival can depend on it. Afterward, review the list and eliminate everything that is also true of your competitors. Nothing should be allowed to remain on the list that can also be claimed by a competitor. Here are some quick guidelines:

  1. What is unique about your business or brand vs. your direct competitors?
  2. Which of these factors are most important to your prospects?
  3. Which of these factors are most difficult for your competitors to imitate?
  4. Which of these factors can be most easily understood by your prospects?

Now create a memorable message out of these unique, meaningful qualities about your business or brand. And make sure it’s a message that speaks to the need your prospective customer feels, not some self-centered stuff about you.

You should also watch this video.