How to craft a positioning statement for your service business

A XYZ positioning statement is one of the simplest and most effective marketing strategy if you want to leverage referrals and the web in your business.

Do you find yourself stuck in a situation where you want to charge more but can’t take the leap? Or maybe you know that you should work with better clients, but you don’t attract them even though you know you could help them (and get to raise your rates)?

What if a simple exercise could help you simplify your marketing while pulling better leads and referrals towards you?

What if this exercise was just to fill in the missing words in one sentence or a simple quadrant?

Positioning done right is a magic weapon. And while it may sound complicated, some smart people on the internet created frameworks worth following to position your business and your offers to attract and convince your ideal customers.

In this article, I will guide you through the steps to craft a killer positioning statement to work with better clients, charge what you’re worth and enjoy your business.

I credit Jonathan Stark and Philip Morgan for the nice framework. These gentlemen created great resources on their website.

What is positioning?

Positioning - a simple TWO sentences message that states exactly who is your ideal client, what you can help with, who you are and how you are different than others.


I’m a Marketing Automation Consultant that helps Sales Teams double their Sales with automated and personalized lead nurturing.

What did I do here?

I created a XYZ positioning statement of my business. This positioning can become my strongest marketing message.

But why does positioning matter that much?

When you think about it, it is usually something that products manufacturers get right. A product inherently has a target market in mind and people will buy it for a reason.

The issue is, somehow with professional services, especially in the freelancing/consulting/agency world, the possibilities are so broad that we don’t position what we do.

But you can’t attract an ideal buyer in a noisy world if you’re all over the place!

There are several ways that positioning helps you with your marketing and sales:

  1. Your marketing becomes way easierYou can start creating marketing material (blogging, podcasting, videos), advertising, outreach… Now, you can choose the right words and help with specific issues the ideal client is facing.
  2. You can find your clients where they hang outBy knowing who you help, you can leverage a marketing superpower… Go where your target market already spends time (online forums, groups, blogs, offline seminars, …) and help there.
  3. You can create referrable / Rolodex momentsWhen you present yourself and you say “I am John, I help X with Y” you create a serendipity moment. Maybe, the interlocutor will immediately think about someone who might need your help. The specificity helped.

A simple framework to craft your positioning statement

Your goal is to be memorable and create referrable moment and also easily build marketing material that talks directly to your target market.

A great framework to follow:

I help X with Y through Z.

X: Your Target Market

Who do you help?

This is the most important part as it will define which channels you’ll choose to find this ideal client.

Is it a vertical: Realtors, Brokers, Gyms

Is it a horizontal: CMO, CFO, HR

Some quick questions to see if you picked a good target market:

  1. Do I like this target market?
  2. Do I know where they hang out (online or offline)?
  3. Do they have money to spend?

Y: The Expensive problem

Which expensive problem do you solve? In a B2B world, you want to help with business outcomes. The closest they are to the money, the easier they to sell.

Business outcomes are usually:

  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Make more money.

Now an example.

These three expensive problems could mean more money. But there is a hierarchy of an expansive problem:

  1. I will help you build a great website
  2. I will help you double your Social Media Followers
  3. I will help you increase the shopping cart value by 20% on checkout

The first is unfocused.

The second one is actually really specific, but social media followers are only loosely translatable into more time or more money.

The third is specific and can be framed as an investment. “I help you make more”.

Z: The Discipline

How will you help solve the expensive problem? This is your discipline (SEO, Facebook Ads, Automation, ....).

It’s actually less important because once you have a target market and an expensive problem to solve, we don’t really care how (as a client).

It doesn’t mean that you should not specialize in this discipline, it means that is not the most important in your positioning statement.

What to do with that?

Take a piece of paper, and start writing down:

I’m a _________ (Z) who helps _____________ (X) with _______________ (Y).

And fill in the gaps and start communicating with people.

I help “X”, with “Y”.

Start also building marketing materials from this new positioning statement.

Positioning is one of this framework that uses “via negativa”. By removing (who you don’t help, what you don’t do) you’ll actually gain clarity and make it easier on your marketing and sales. It’s part of an effective sales system that doesn’t rely solely on words of mouth.