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If you run a small business you know that competition is part and parcel of the experience. It’s particularly challenging for eCommerce businesses because you have local competitors to worry about and online competition too. Customers have never had so many choices and that can be overwhelming. This is why it’s imperative that you stand out so they can quickly understand what sets you apart from the rest. To do so, you need to know how to position yourself. This is where USP comes into play.
What Is A Unique Selling Proposition?
So, what is USP? It is a unique selling proposition, otherwise known as a unique selling point. What does that mean? It is simply a summing-up of what makes you valuable and unique to your audience.
If the question is how does your business benefit customers better than your competition? Your USP is the answer. Your USP is fundamental to the success of your marketing campaigns. It helps you create a focused marketing strategy from top to bottom. A USP should play to your strengths and be rooted in what makes you unique. However, uniqueness in and of itself is not sufficient.
A USP should:
- A USP should focus on what your target audience will value. Unique is important, but only as much as your targets care about that aspect of your business.
- A USP should be bold, but invulnerable. If you make your USP specific you build a case against your competition. The specificity makes you far more memorable than a generic position such as we offer high-end products. The product or service itself doesn’t have to be unique; it’s the way you choose to market it that has to be unique.
- A unique selling proposition is far deeper than a slogan. You can use slogans to communicate your USP, but a USP is much more than a slogan. Your business should embody your USP at every turn, from your customer service to your supply chain and even your return policy. It isn’t enough to talk the talk, you have to walk it too.
It’s also worth highlighting what a strong unique selling proposition isn’t:
- A USP isn’t free shipping, return policies or discounts. While they may be effective ways to market your business, they are certainly not a unique position you can defend. The competition can easily replicate any of these offers.
- A unique selling proposition isn’t just copy for your website. It’s a business position to incorporate throughout your company.
How To Create A Strong USP
Now that you have a clear idea of what a USP should embody, let’s discuss how you can create a strong one of your own.
- Start by making a list of what separates you from your competition. Be as specific as you can and highlight breakout products or services. The best way to market yourself is to learn how to communicate to your target audience that your product or service solves the problem they have.
- You can’t do much about your competition if you don’t first research them. Who are they? What USPs do they communicate? Look for a gap in the market you can take advantage of. You might sell soft drinks, but soft drinks can be positioned in many different ways. You could emphasise caffeine content, taste, flavours, or low calories.
- Who is your target audience? Be specific as you describe your audience. From there, you can answer the question of what needs your target customers have and what do you have to match it?
- With all of the information you have gathered, you can narrow it down to your strongest unique selling point.
- Now that you have it, how do you apply it to your business? If done so properly, you can weave it through every aspect of your business.
- You can use this phrase to put yours together: (Brand) offers (service or product) for (your target customer) to (proposition). Unlike (your main competitor), we (the key difference). While yours does not have to follow this exact phrasing, it might help you nail down the specificity of your USP until you form it properly.
Examples of Unique Selling Points
There is no better way to highlight what makes a great USP than to highlight standout examples.
“A diamond is forever.”
The De Beers slogan is one of the most memorable and is so iconic it has been used since the late 1940s. What is the unique selling proposition? A diamond is as unbreakable as eternal love; both are forever.
“We have the right fit.”
If you ever listen to podcasts, then there is a good chance you’ve heard an ad spot for Third Love. It might be a billion-dollar industry, but the new brand managed to establish itself with a strong USP that put the cat amongst the pigeons. It’s a promise that they back up with half sizes, fit finding quizzes, and their execution has allowed them to compete with legacy brands.
“We try harder.”
Avis spent many years chasing Hertz. So, they chose to take their position as number two and turn it into a memorable USP. In four years, the campaign saw them increase their market share by 24%. They used the tagline for 50 years!
“They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”
Saddleback Leather upped the ante with the famous tagline. It tells you their products are built to last. After all, it has a 100-year warranty.
How To Communicate Your USP With Your Target Market
You have options when it comes time to properly communicate your USP. However, your ability to communicate effectively is what will determine your success.
Marketing can be done digitally, as well as through content and search. In digital marketing, your USP can take pride of place in headers, in the tagline of your webpage, and even on product pages. Content marketing uses a USP to create viral, or compelling, content that talks about why and how they are different from the competition. Search marketing simply means using your SEO to boost search results and increase visibility. You can also use social media and traditional media advertising. To test your USP you can try A/B testing.