Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your product apart from your competitors. It’s a way of positioning your product, service or even yourself for market success, and it’s critical for building a viable business that drives customer loyalty.
When you have a powerful USP, you’re differentiated from the rest. You know what makes your brand yours, and who you’re targeting. That means you can focus your efforts on selling to those who truly want your product – the “true believers” or the “loyalists.” Yes, you’ll narrow your potential market slightly, but it’s worth it. After all, as the Pareto principle says, 80% of your sales will come from just 20% of your customers.
Here’s how to define your USP – and use it to your advantage.
A Great Product is no Longer a USP
These days it’s not enough to offer a great product or incredible service. There are plenty of companies who do that, and thanks to the internet they’ve all become your competitors. But consumers want you to make it easy from them. They don’t want to choose between dozens of similar companies. They want the decision to be an obvious one.
You can help them by focusing on differentiation. You want your USP to be memorable, unique and obvious. Below are a handful of ways you can go about pinpointing your USP.
Target your ideal customer. Who are they, and what drives them? What are their goals, needs, and desires? Why would they buy your product over a competitor’s? Once you’ve identified them, you can focus on selling solely to them.
Give yourself a personality. Are there competitors with specific voices and personalities in your industry? Assign yourself a personality that goes against the grain or that no one else is using.
Stand for something. Does your company stand for a particular issue, idea or lifestyle? Standing for something helps you be known for that thing – and can help you stand apart.
Be different, not the best. Chances are, you’re competing against others who have positioned themselves as the best. Stand out by being different instead. Why are you what people need?
Solve a problem. Most customers don’t buy products just because. They’re looking for a solution to a problem. How do you solve that problem for them, and how can you succinctly and uniquely communicate that?
Be magnetic. Great branding helps. Sharp messaging, clear benefits and targeted sales and communication channels can all be critical differentiators.
Always Be Selling
A word to the wise: don’t fall into the trap of just creating a fun, immersive brand. Your goal is to create a unique selling proposition. All of those words are should be a critical part of your efforts, which need to be actionable, effective and high-traction. You need to be able to stand apart, inspire your audience to change their buying habits, and provide a reason to believe (ie, a product benefit).
As you define your USP, keep asking yourself whether it’s something that can be used to drive sales. If not, it’s time to stop and reassess.
Getting It Down On Paper
So you’ve figured out the solution you’re selling, to whom, and why you’re the one to do it. Now it’s time to write it down in a short elevator pitch. This pitch can be customer facing if you like, or it can be for internal use only. Either way, the idea is to make sure that you stay true to what sets you apart – and that your sales efforts continue to bear it in mind.
Answer these questions, and pull them together into one short, two-sentence paragraph:
- Who is your audience?
- What do they need?
- What’s your product name?
- What product/service do you provide?
- What problem do you uniquely solve?
- Why do you offer that competitors don’t?
This simple paragraph can help guide all of your marketing, advertising and sales efforts. Every time you create new marketing collateral or launch a sales campaign, check that you’re aligned with the information spelled out in your USP.
Don’t be one of those brands that attempt to cast too wide a net. When crafting a USP, be specific, be unique and be true to who you are – and growth will follow.
Need some help defining your USP? Get in touch!