Every business has something that makes it stand out, something that sets it apart from all the other businesses in the area. We like to think of it as a fingerprint, something that only you’ve got to offer your visitors. Because it’s unique to you, highlight and celebrate it to drive your business forward. Here’s how:

Figure out your unique value 

We know it can be tricky to figure it out. After all, you’re working in your business every day, so it can be tough to consider it from a visitor’s perspective. But maybe that’s exactly how you can approach it — what do your visitors comment on? What do they love to buy? What brings smiles to their faces more than anything else? Bingo! That’s the unique value that you offer. 

Here’s an example: We love shopping at a local home goods store. They usually have what we’re looking for, and it’s just plain fun to wander the aisles and see what’s new. For us, that’s a huge part of our experience — finding what we need and knowing that we might find something unexpected that we just have to have.

That’s their unique value proposition: a wide variety of items that allows customers to find what they’re looking for, as well as providing the thrill of a treasure hunt. Every visit is a new experience.

Social listening can help identify your unique value

Pay attention to what visitors write on social media and review sites and let that guide you as you determine your unique value. You might be surprised by what you learn, and that’s just fine. Taking your cue from what visitors are saying is the best way to ensure that whatever you promote as your unique value is authentic, and that’s critical for success.

Woman shopping local

Set expectations 

You want your visitors to be satisfied when they leave your business, and a huge part of that is meeting their expectations. Here’s the key: set their expectations in a way that sets up your business for success. You’ve figured out your unique value, now share it by promoting it on your website, printed materials, emails, and newsletters. Customers will know what to expect, and you know that you can deliver that value with every visitor interaction. Boom: happy customers, successful business.

Fully embrace it so everyone understands your unique value 

Don’t just promote your unique value, lean into it. If you exclusively sell local, handmade items, let people know by sharing it on your website and telling them when they visit. If your staff knows more about your industry than anyone else around, let them shine on social media by sharing their passion. If you’ve got the most charming historic architecture in town, post pictures and mention tidbits from the building’s history. Maybe you sell tasty items made from an old family recipe that’s been used for generations. You don’t necessarily need to post it (that’s top secret!) but let everyone know that your business is the one to visit to get food made the old-fashioned way. Use your imagination — the sky’s the limit for playing up your unique value and embracing it fully.

We recently visited a local gift shop with out-of-town friends. And even though we were shopping in our own hometown, we were delighted by the tremendous selection of local items that celebrated our area. Bite-sized items made fresh with local ingredients, kitchen goods emblazoned with local flora and fauna, and bright pottery vividly shining with all the colors of the sunset, it was a feast for the senses and strongly reflective of our region. Leaning into your business’s own special value ensures that visitors can fully enjoy it.

Local produce

Your business has lots to offer visitors, and the best way to bring them in is to showcase all the ways you provide unique value. First, define exactly what that unique value is, and then set expectations around that value so visitors know what they’ll get when they visit you. Finally, go all in — fully embrace whatever makes your business stand out, and customers will respond to that.