Pick me, pick me, pick me. Stop getting lost in the crowd by identifying your Unique Selling Proposition!
A Unique Selling Proposition (also know as a Unique Selling Point or USP) sounds like an unimportant acronym, but this often overlooked marketing term is a vital element in creating a business that customers love.
Importantly, it allows your business to compete on an aspect other than price. Many SMEs find themselves in price wars with larger, more price resistant competition despite the fact that price is never the only reason people buy. Find a USP that addresses your customer’s needs and then building your marketing strategy around that feature, and you will rarely have to compete on price again!
WHAT IS A USP
A USP is what makes you special and unique. It should promise a clear benefit to consumers, offer them something that competitive products don’t, and be compelling and memorable. Here are a few famous examples of great USP marketing:
- Domino’s Pizza: You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30-minutes or less…or it’s free.
- M&M’s: Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
- Hervey Bay: The Whale Capital of the World.
- Qantas: Our Australia, Our Airline. The Spirit of Australians – Home Grown, Home Made.
Very few businesses are truly unique. Look around you: how many motels, clothing retailers, hardware stores, or electricians are unique? On the flip-side, they may offer a particular service or product that is distinctive in their market, i.e., the Electrician is the only nearby 24-hour service electrician or the Motel is the only motel in the region that is pet-friendly. The key to success is identifying and communicating those unique attributes.
Struggling to find your USP? Sometimes when you get too close to something, it’s hard to notice what is special. CC is here to help! It’s impossible to give one-size-fits-all advice, but, there are 6 key steps that you can take to help you discover what makes you extraordinary.
1. FEATURES, BENEFITS AND WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT
Firstly, make a list of the unique features and benefits of your business, your product or service, and your people. What is your unique story?
Next, check out the competition. To identify what sets you apart, search Google and compare your features/benefits with your direct competitors.
- What aspect differentiates you? What do you do that no one else does?
- What is not being offered by your competitors – is there a gap in the market?
- What aspects of your product or service is unable to be imitated by your competitors. Put a tick against anything that cannot be easily reproduced, or copied.
Example: If you are a restaurant owner, stating you are the ‘Best Restaurant in your town’ is subjective, considering the various tastes of consumers. Instead, identify you are the place you must go for __?__. We’re the only place you can get it!
This will help you to establish your competitive advantage, i.e., what your business is really good at and the edge you have over your competition.
CC NOTE: Find your competitive edge is critical, but beware of being unique for its own sake. Being the only business who sells thongs in the snowfields makes you unique, but it doesn’t mean there’s a market for your product.
2. UNDERSTANDING AND APPEALING TO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
A USP is not a USP unless it appeals to your core target audience or Ideal Customer.
What do you know about your ideal customer and why do they purchase or use your service? Get inside your Ideal Customer’s head – are they looking for prestige, time saving, expertise, convenience, adventure, trust, luxury, relaxation or something else?
Too often, we fall in love with our business and forget the customer’s needs. Suppose you own a cafe. Yes, customers come into your business for food. But is food all they want? What could make them come back again and again, and ignore your competition? The answer might be quality, convenience, price, reliability, cleanliness, or customer service.
Answer these questions; ideally, survey your customers and potential customers:
- What does your perfect customer want, what drives and motivates them (their emotional and physical needs)?
- How can your product or service solve their problem(s)?
- Why would they purchase your product or service – what is the main reason your customers buy from you?
- What can you do to match or exceed their expectations and get what they want?
- Why do your existing customers choose your business over your competitors?
- What is happening in your marketplace i.e., consumer trends that will affect your future product offering and ideal customer?
3. CREATE YOUR PITCH
Now you have identified your unique, competitive points that appeal to your Ideal Customer; it’s time to articulate them. Select one to three to focus on.
For each, develop phrases that are short, clear, and concise, and if you are feeling inspired, create a slogan. The catchier, the better, because you want your customers to remember it. Also, bring it to life with image ideas.
Your USP pitch needs to not only motivate your Ideal Customer but answer their primary question: “What’s in it for me?” State the benefit, why should they buy your product, what problem does it solve.
4. MARKET RESEARCH YOUR USP
Test, test, test. Present your USPs to a focus group of both new and potential customers. Their feedback should help you chose the best marketing positioning statement for your business.
Double check that you have the perfect USP. Does it convey one strong benefit? Is it memorable? Is it clear who the brand is targeting from the USP? Can you deliver what it promises? Is it unique – or could a competitor claim the same thing?
5. COMMUNICATING YOUR USP
Now, implement it into everything you do! Your USP should drive the development of your company and your marketing strategy, whether you are creating a website, interior refitting your business, or embarking on an online advertising campaign, your USP should be the core focus. Example: if creating ad copy, your USP should be in the headline or first line of your ad.
Communicate it clearly and often. You have to constantly remind people what you stand for and why your business is different.
6. REGULARLY REVIEW
It’s not advisable to change your USP too often, but it is important to review it regularly. Watch out for any shifts in trends or competitors – your marketplace may change; your competitors may catch up with you, or your customers’ wants and needs may be different in the future.
Reviewing your USP, and adjusting it, if necessary, will help you to keep your marketing fresh and viable.
Your turn – tell me about a business you love that stands out from the competition with a USP.
Images: Parliament Films