Have you ever heard the term Unique Selling Proposition (or USP)? It’s one of those Marketing terms that we were never taught in school. I know, I know. Nothing makes Creative Artists break into hives faster than Marketing Jargon. We don’t NEED marketing! Our work speaks for itself!
Here’s the thing though–there is a lot going on in this world, and information comes at us so quickly and changes by the minute. How many performances, new books, productions, podcast recommendations, and Netflix series have you learned about in the last 24 hours?
A lot, right? And most of it grabs your attention…..until the next thing comes along a few seconds later.
Most clients come to me for the first time without ever having thought about what it is that makes them stand out–what makes them memorable. What it is about their art that makes their work stick in the minds of the people hearing about it:
What is unique about you? (And by unique, I don’t mean that you are the only violinist who plays Bach. I mean you are the red-headed violinist from Kentucky who knows a ton about Bach and gives incredible lecture performances of his music.)
Why Should people choose you over someone else? Do you have years of experience? Proven results? Do you always give some portion of the proceeds to charity? Do you create a cool experience? Do you love to communicate with your audiences? Tell them all the juicy gossipy BTS info about what they’re about to see or hear? Or are you known as aloof and formal, a hermit who rarely mixes with the public? What do you do better than most people around you? How do you do what you do differently than others?
Instead of promoting the basics of your event, you can highlight what makes it special, because you KNOW what makes it special. Is it an ultra-exclusive, invitation-only, high-end event? Or is it a casual, come-as-you-are-and-bring-your-friends throw-down in the neighborhood? Using the same words and concepts in your publicity over and over again might seem like overkill to you, but it’s what people will remember and start to associate with your name. When they need a particular thing. A violinist who can do an all Bach program for a bunch of CEOs? Our redheaded Bach expert in Kentucky is going to get the gig.
When you are clear about what you do, you’ll attract the people you want to attract. If you want to bring in a full cross-section of the community, but you show a photo of a fancy concert hall with everyone wearing black tie, then some people aren’t going to come. If you promote the fact that everyone is welcome, there’s no dress code, and you don’t need to know anything about the topic/genre, then you’ll get the audience you’re looking for.
This is especially important for teachers. I have had so many clients complain about the fact that they want to be working with advanced students, but keep getting beginners instead, or the awkward middle schooler who will quit once they decide that soccer is more their thing. If you talk about your advanced students and show that you only teach advanced students, then that is who will come knocking on your door.
Without a USP, they are choosing amongst many, and you consider yourself lucky if they choose you. WITH a USP, they KNOW you are the right person to help them, and that THEY are lucky if you have the room/space/time for them. The dynamic shift is palpable.
Over the years, I have often been asked by non-musician friends for recommendations for music teachers for their young children. At any given time, I probably knew at least 30 people who taught whatever instrument they were asking about, and most of them probably taught all ages–including beginners, but I always recommended the person who specialized in young beginners. It was clear to me that they loved it, were good at it, and would be a great fit for this kid.
You’d think that the more generalized someone is–the more they do– the more opportunities there are for referrals. Teacher for a 3-year-old! Teacher for a middle schooler! Teacher for an advanced high schooler, Adult Students! But no—that’s never how it is.
The more specific you are about what you’re good at, the more referrals you will get. You’ll be the Go-To person for THAT specific thing. And if that specific thing is the specific thing you WANT to be doing? Win-Win.
It’s one thing for us creatives to do marketing and promotion for ourselves. It’s necessary, and it can also be time-consuming and sometimes it feels cringey. So when OTHER people want to promote us by writing an article, having us on their podcast, or even just talking about us to other people, we are super grateful for the boost.
One way to make it easy for people to do that is to have a clear story for them to tell. This person does THIS THING, for THESE PEOPLE, in THIS WAY for THIS AMAZING REASON.
Go ahead and craft that story by answering those questions for yourself:
As for me?
What? I help creatives to follow through on their big ideas to create legacy-building programs, projects, and events.
Who? Successful mid-career creatives in the fields of Music, Dance, Drama, Art and Literature.
How? Through my blog, Tales From The Lane, my Signature group program, Creatives Leadership Academy, and 1:1 private coaching.
Why? Because getting these programs and projects into the world, and showing them that it’s possible, creates positive ripple effects on their lives, their communities, and their industries.
You’ll notice that it’s very clear who I work with, what I work on with them, how people can work with me, and why I do it.
As a Coach to Creatives, What is unique about me is that I have walked the walk, and have both the learned coaching skills, the business and marketing know-how, and the lived experience to help guide a person through just about anything they might want to do.
I am living proof that anything is possible, and that’s what a person is looking for when they book their first discovery call with me. Maybe they are thinking about making a bold career move or pivoting towards something new. It usually involves some kind of legacy-building project.
My USP is that Nothing sounds crazy to me.
And ever since I’ve gotten clear on my USP, work has been falling into my lap–because the right clients find me, they come to me for the right reasons, and I am exactly the right coach for their situation.
Now it’s your turn. What is your USP? Drop it in the comments so we can start sending you those referrals!
Interested in taking your career as an artist from Good to Great? Grab a copy of my free workbook “10 Habits of Successful Artists” today, and make this your best year ever.