April 16, 2008

How to Uniquely Position a Membership Site for Success

Teaching Sells Free Report

By Brian Clark

STOP PRESS -- Take advantage of your last chance for a $1 7-day sneak peak at the Teaching Sells offering which will no longer be available after noon Eastern Time on Thursday 17 April (that's tomorrow!) Lot's of new member upgrades are planned, so now is a good time to have a look!

Everyone wants to create a cash cow with a membership site. But what you really need to do is create a purple cash cow.

In the Teaching Sells training program, we reveal how to identify a target market and how to spot a learning need that the market has already demonstrated is worth paying for. Once you’re focused like a laser on topics and markets that already show high demand for information and training, the next step is the most important of all.

  • What’s the point of your offering?
  • How is it unique?
  • Why should anyone buy from you instead of the competition?
The way to answer these questions dates back thousands of years to the days of Aristotle. But let’s stick closer to home and only go back 45 years or so.

The Unique Selling Proposition
In 1961, a gentleman by the name of Rosser Reeves published a book entitled Reality in Advertising. In this book, Reeves revealed the secret behind his success as a copywriter and later as chairman of the Ted Bates advertising agency. He called it the unique selling proposition (USP).

Reeves enjoyed great success throughout the relatively languid competitive climate of the 1940s and 50s by pointing out a specific and compelling benefit to the buyer that was unique to that product. The value-added benefit had to be something desirable that the competition did not, or could not, offer with their product.

Positioned in Your Mind
In 1981, Jack Trout and Al Reis released Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind based on a concept the two developed way back in 1969. Moving beyond the USP, Trout and Reis focused not on what you do to the product or service, but what you do to the mind of the prospective buyer.

Jack Trout relentlessly preached the power of positioning into the 1990s with The New Positioning, and into the new millennium with Differentiate or Die. The latter book comes full circle back to Rosser Reeves and the unique selling proposition, as Trout takes to task “creative” advertising that pulls heart strings but gives the prospect no reason to buy.

Purple Cows and Liars
In 2003, Seth Godin gave us Purple Cow , a book that riffs on the USP and positioning, but takes it a step further. Yes, your product or service must be unique, and yes, you must aim to position yourself in the prospect’s mind. But is it something worth talking about? Will your customers market for you?

In 2005, Seth released the essential companion to Purple Cow, and cleverly sought to avoid controversy by calling it All Marketers are Liars. It’s not enough to be remarkable—after all, we talk about distasteful things too. You’ve got to take it one step further and make sure that the story you’re telling is one that people want to hear.

Made to Stick
In 2007, brothers Chip and Dan Heath released Made to Stick. While positioned as an advanced exploration of the ideas contained in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, the book’s core stands on the shoulders of Reeves, Trout, and Godin, but takes it that one critical step forward.

How does something stand out on its own, in our minds, get us talking… and also endure? What determines whether you’ll get 15 minutes of fame or create a lasting impression?

What These Smart Guys Can Really Teach You About Positioning
The topic of unique positioning in marketing has been explored so thoroughly because it’s the most important part of any business that hopes to succeed. These books are wonderful, and I suggest you read them all if you haven’t yet.

But there’s a more immediate lesson about positioning contained above, especially for people selling content. Did you notice it?

Each of these books on positioning is itself an example of positioning.

In a nutshell:

  • Each book is talking about the same thing
  • Each author is building on what the last guy said
  • Each catalyst for the next book is a simple change in context
All of these books are exploring how to stand out in a market, and it all boils down to the same thing, which is to be unique. Trout, Godin and the Heath Brothers owe their success to the thinking Rosser Reeves did over 45 years ago, because at the core, they’re not saying anything he didn’t say.

These gentlemen have just provided a prime example of creative adaptation. They are simply expanding the parameters of the 45-year-old Unique Selling Proposition to fit a new context—an increasingly hyper-competitive and advertising-blind world.

Before you start feeling sorry for Rosser Reeves because he’s not getting the credit he deserves in these later books, well, Reeves stood on the shoulders of giants as well. His ideas likely originated from earlier advertising pioneers like Claude Hopkins and John Caples, and the true root of the USP goes back to Aristotle’s Rhetoric.

So How Does This Work for Membership Sites?
In Teaching Sells, we explore six proven ways to uniquely position your training program, each with concrete examples. You’ll also learn how to make sure you’ve covered the four critical elements of modern market positioning, plus a methodology for working out your market, the existing market need, and how to uniquely position yourself even in the fiercest of markets.
Plus, positioning is so vitally important that we launched an entire advanced course about it. Advanced Positioning and Creative Adaptation walks you step-by-step through the entire positioning process, and then rolls into case studies that provide crystal-clear examples of how to create your very own Purple Cash Cow.

Check out the inside of Teaching Sells for only $1… but hurry, we’ll be ending the “take a look for a buck” 7-day trial period soon. Jump in with both feet and get started today.

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