A unique selling proposition (USP) is something we hear a lot about in marketing. But why bother coming up with one in the first place? And how should you create yours? The USP is one of the first things I look for when new clients approach LeapGo, and I always recommend coming up with one. Here are a few of our recommendations for USPs.
What Exactly Is a USP?
A USP is essentially the thing that make your business different from all the others. That special quality that you provide that the others cannot. It should often be condensed into a single sentence of a few words—but it should also be reflected in everything that you do.
Why You Need One
People are bombarded with messages all day, every day, and they need a way to filter those messages. They want to know in an instant why they should choose your company over your competition. When confronted with a range of companies that all seem identical, how should they choose one? Which solution is the most deserving of their time, energy, and money? The decision is especially difficult for customers who are new to the solution you are offering. Coming up with a clear USP that spells out very simply and boldly why your solution is different will help them. A USP will therefore often include a clear benefit—but the best USPs are also memorable.
In a competitive marketplace, it is all about differentiation. You want to make your company different from the others and stand out in the marketplace, so a memorable USP can help you to do that. Yes, an amazing product is essential—but you often need more than that. Being memorable for the right reasons will give you a competitive advantage.
How to Create Your USP
So, now you know why you need a USP. But how should you go about creating one? I won’t lie—it’s not easy. Rather than something that you will come up with in a free hour this afternoon, it’s likely to be something you’ll need to work at over time before you get it right. First of all, you must have a deep understanding of your target audience. Why do they purchase the types of products or services that you sell? Do they want to save time? Save money? What is it that they really want—and how do you provide them with it?
Next, you have to come up with what makes you different. How are you better than the competition? Why does your company exist in the first place? Why should people choose you over the other similar solutions? Are you just doing the same thing and trying to compete? What makes you stand out?
Look at your competitors. What do you do that they do not? Where do you stand out from them? Do they promise something that they do not deliver? Come up with a list of your key benefits, which could be numerous. You may have five or 10 clear benefits that your company provides. Once you have this list, focus on the two or three most important.
Try to focus on the most specific benefits. Rather than just saying you are the best, focus on the money you can save, or the time, or the results you can provide—something that is specific and measurable. At this point, you may have a few USPs listed down. If so, that’s great—but now it’s time to work out which one is the best.
Which one resonates most with your target audience? This is often difficult to know. One way to find out is to ask them. Just ask your existing customers in a survey. Or create different Facebook ads around the various USPs and find out which ones resonate the most. Don’t try and cover everything in your USP. You may have many products and services, and you may have many benefits. But the best brands are known for doing one thing really well, and that’s what you should try and narrow down. At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of relying on hype. If you can make a promise in your USP, that’s great—but only if you can follow through with it. Look at the famous Domino’s Pizza 30-minute delivery promise—if they didn’t live up to it, it would not be much of a USP.
Once you have come up with the main benefit or stand-out feature that you want to be your USP, you will need to refine it. That means editing it down into a short, sharp sentence, ideally one that takes no more than a few seconds to read. Short, clear, concise, and memorable—that’s what you’re aiming for. It may take a while to get it into shape, but it is imperative that you can communicate it clearly and simply in a few short words. Be creative if you can, but don’t be gimmicky. Being catching is great, but primarily it should be clear and informative.
Types of USP to Use as Examples
USPs are rich and varied, and yours could literally be anything. But if you need some inspiration, here are a few angles you could consider:
- The best support—do you provide 24/7 support where your competitors are only available during business hours?
- Amazing customer service—do you go out of your way to answer questions and keep your customers happy?
- Cheaper—do customers choose you primarily because of your prices?
- Higher quality—or do they choose you for your more expensive but higher quality products?
- Fun brand voice—do you have a fun and quirky brand voice that makes you stand out in a more serious or reserved industry? Your brand personality can be an effective USP, but make sure it aligns with your products.
- Reputation—if your industry does not have a great reputation, you could highlight your trustworthiness.
- Charity—you could even do something charitable, like donating one product or a percentage of the cost for every product you sell.
One You’ve Got Your USP, Use It!
It is no use just coming up with a USP and leaving it there: Now you must use it. Use it to direct your marketing decisions. For example, when you are launching a new landing page or publishing a blog or sending out an autoresponder series, take your USP and make sure you communicate it effectively. You don’t just want to state it as a headline or slogan. Instead, let it be evident in your design, your content, your social media updates, and everything else you do.
Benefit from a Strong USP
If you cannot answer the question “What is your USP?” in a few words, you haven’t got one. Use this info to start working on your own USP. Take your time going over your benefits, what makes you different, and experiment with different USPs. Once you have yours, use it—and take advantage of the benefits having a clear USP can bring.