The unique selling proposition, or unique selling point, is commonly known by the acronym USP. But what does it actually mean? How do you define USP and why should you keep it in mind?
Unique Selling Proposition Definition
A USP is often the neglected foundation of your product strategy. It’s something that sets you apart from all your competitors, an area in which you excel. And this is exactly the point that will convince your customer that it is worth buying from you.
In today’s crowded market, where another hundred retailers offer the same product or service that you do, it’s hard to impress. So try to think about what would encourage you to buy your product. The answer to this question is the selling point.
Take a look at a few examples:
- For a cosmetics company the selling argument could be, for example, that the cosmetics are natural and produced in the UK.
- If you own a restaurant, you shine light on your top chef and the unique design of the establishment.
- Describe your product in a way where the buyer were a fool if he didn’t buy it.
Once you have your sales proposition defined, put it on your website, on social networks, in newsletters and in all other marketing materials. You need to repeat the USP until clients associate it with your brand.
You’d be silly not to use USP in your marketing strategy
Proper use of USP can help you throughout your marketing strategy: from communicating with customers to social network management, branding, and copywriting to positioning. Nevertheless, many companies still ignore USP. Why? They have no idea what sales propositions can do for them. A properly defined USP can bring you new customers or increase sales. So how do you take set up a USP?
Tip: If you are just starting out in marketing, you might find our guide on setting up a marketing strategy useful as well!
First of all, don’t be afraid
You may be thinking right now that you have no idea what you should highlight for your customers. If you own a bakery, you may feel that you can’t improve anything on a croissant. But this is not necessarily true. You don’t have to build your USP on the product itself. You can sell an emotion… you just need to know how.
1. Embark on espionage
You do not have to sneak into any top secret files. But to find out which sales arguments are the right ones, you will need data. One option is market research. The simplest option is often the right one: Just ask your customers.
What brought them to you? Why do they prefer your product? And if they don’t, why not? Another step could be to observe your competition. For example, a benchmark comparison. What marketing strategy do they use, what could you do better, and most importantly, what are they telling customers and what are they actually providing them?
2. What problemdoesyour product solve?
And now turn the mirror on yourself. What’s the foundation for your business plan? What do you really offer to your customers? Nobody is really interested in your company and your efforts, customers are only interested in what they will get out of it. Simply put, what makes your business?
Example: If you own a hairdressing studio, for example, your benefit for the client is purely aesthetic. Customers don’t come to you to get a haircut because they can’t live without your hair salon. They come to cut your hair because they want to feel beautiful, cared for, trendy, or maybe they just need to a change in their style. And that’s what you should try to sell.
Another way to take advantage of USP is to minimize the customer’s fear of using your product. For example, you can offer free shipping or a 100% satisfaction guarantee and money back guarantee. In this case, however, be careful, such an argument is USP only if it is not common in your field and really sets you apart from the competition (for example, “delivered to your door within 5 days” will no longer do anything for you in e-commerce).
Expand on what you learned in the previous step. Add some of the data from step number one and try shooting out ideas. Write down any sales arguments that come to mind.
It’s not always about doing something better. Maybe you’re just doing it differently. Focus on that. You might even be doing the same thing as your competition, they just didn’t think to tell their customers. Take advantage of that.
This part is probably the most difficult, so think of it as a game. What are you proud of in your business? If you can’t think of anything, a USP probably won’t save you.
4. Write out your proposition
If you already know what your strengths are and what will make you shine, all you have to do is formulate it. This can be quite the task. Just remember this can take your business to another level. Take your time and follow these three tips:
U – Unique. What sets you apart? How are you different?
S – Simple. One or two sentences is long enough. Above all, customers need to be able to understand what you are saying, so don’t make it too complicated.
P – Positive. Positive messages are easier for people to accept. Try to make them happy instead of scaring them.
5. Release it into the world
Now you only have one step left – include your USP into your branding. Ideally, your customers should see your USP on the first page of your website. If it’s short enough, include it in your logo. Support it with a new ad. Add it to your Facebook and Instragram. Show the world!
Tip: Also read these 8 steps to setting up your brand.
What NOT to do
Finally, we should emphasize how USP are not made. A discount on your next purchase, free shipping, or a “quality product” may all be selling points, but they are certainly not unique. Any one of your competition could use the same USP. If you think a good USP could help your business, but you can’t figure it out yourself, contact us. We will help you create a business strategy. And, if you want, we will also help you create custom graphics.