How To Develop Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your USP is the essence of what your business does and should be so compelling that you can use it to sell your product or service. You should develop your USP before creating any marketing material.
We’ve found this process useful to develop USPs:
Know your target market
Why do they buy what you offer - what is important to them - time saving, some expertise, a trustworthy supplier, or something else?
Find the biggest benefits you offer:
Clearly describe the 3 biggest benefits of buying from you. Don’t waffle about best price, quality or service – everyone does that – why is it important to prospective clients. Think about what you do for your customers and what results they are looking for – how will they feel before and after using your service or buying your product? Don’t stop till you have written 3 benefits down.
Explain why you are unique – what is your competitive advantage:
What separates you from your competitors? What do you do differently? What about you would make it obvious to a prospective customer that they should buy from you?
Write your USP so it creates desire and urgency. Use positive words that instantly create pictures – unique, simple, new, gives you etc. Think about your product description, marketing offer and any guarantees you offer:
Product – a unique tool that gives you the ideas you need to grow your business in less than 30 minutes
Offer – Simple to use, saving you time money and effort
Guarantee: If you don’t get any actionable recommendations we will refund 100% of your money.
Write down as many ideas as possible.
Write down what issues, problems or challenges you product or service solves:
This is all about knowing your customer and their needs. Normally it is a need that others are meeting, but not as well as the market wants. Think about situations where there is a performance gap.
As an example, Dominos Pizza used the "Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free" USP to become wildly successful. This worked because of the need or "gap" in the market - After a long day at work parents are too tired to cook. But the kids are starving and don't want to wait an hour! They want pizza NOW. Call Domino's.
What are the most frustrating things your target market experiences when working with your competitors? Make sure your USP shows how you remove that pain – write down all your ideas (but make sure you can deliver on any promises you make!)
Be specific and provide evidence wherever possible:
We are all sceptical about claims made in advertising, so you need to prove you can do what you are claiming.
For example: “90% of businesses who used our tool saw turnover increase by 20% within 3 months”. Again, write down as many ideas as possible.
Now the hard bit – take all that you have written down and create one short, clear sentence:
Each word you will either generate income by selling your product or service or it will cost you income by putting prospective customers off. Keep working at making your sentence shorter and simpler. Ask other people to review it – do they understand it? Is it too long? Would they buy?
When you are happy you have your USP, build your marketing around it:
You should use versions of your USP in all marketing material such as:
- Advertising and sales copy headlines;
- Business cards, brochures, flyers, & signs;
- Your "elevator pitch", phone, and sales scripts;
- Letterhead, letters, & postcards;
- Website & Internet marketing.
Most importantly – deliver on the promises you make
Be bold when developing your USP but make sure you can deliver. Your USP should have promises and guarantees that capture attention and compel prospects to respond. Having a strong USP can make your business a big success, or a big failure if you don't deliver on it.