A compelling unique selling proposition (USP) can be the backbone of your marketing strategy. The reason for that is because without a strong USP, you’ll find it next to impossible to distinguish your brand and make a lasting impression on your potential customers. Yet, finding something unique about your business that a competitor can’t replicate can be challenging, especially if you’re in a crowded market… With that in mind, in this post, we’re going to walk you through the process of creating a powerful USP step-by-step.
What Is the Meaning of USP, or Unique Selling Proposition?
A unique selling proposition is a short sentence highlighting the competitive advantage that makes your business stand out from its competitors. It should help people quickly understand why they should choose you over another company.
Examples of this could include a lower price, better customer experience, higher quality goods, guaranteed faster delivery, or another unique benefit that your customers care about or need. In an age where a potential customer can use their smartphone to find ten companies offering a similar service, why should they choose you? That’s the question your USP needs to answer.
Step 1: Know Your Target Audience
The first step to creating a powerful USP is to take a deep dive into your target audience. You need to go beyond primary demographic data and really understand the people you want to reach.
- Who are they?
- What do they want?
- Why do your existing customers choose you over your competitors?
- What motivates them to make a purchase?
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to create buyer personas – a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Take a deep dive into your customer data and market research to identify your ideal customer, their preferences, and their pain points and motivations. You can use this handy guide by HubSpot to help create buyer personas for your business.
With a deeper understanding of your prospective customers, you can tailor your USP to your target audience’s specific wants and needs.
Step 2: Clarify the “Problem” You Solve
Every business knows the products and services they provide. But consumers don’t buy products – they buy solutions to problems. So try asking yourself which pain points and problems are your customers trying to solve when they purchase your product or service?
Make a list of the problems your audience encounters and the way your products can provide a solution. This step is about stepping into your customers’ shoes and identifying the specific problems your business can solve. If somebody buys your product, how will their life be improved? The solutions you offer to specific problems can be potential selling points for business.
Step 3: Research the Market
A “unique” selling proposition differentiates your brand from your competitors. And in order to be different, you need to know how your competitors are positioning themselves in the market.
Make a list of your immediate and broader competitors.
- What are they doing to be different?
- Do they deliver on what they promise?
- Are they fully meeting their customers’ needs?
Take inspiration from what your competitors are doing well, and find opportunities in what they are doing wrong. Even if a competitor has a large market share and strong USP, it doesn’t mean they deliver on what they promise. If you can offer something better or more appealing, you can highlight that advantage in your USP.
Step 4: List Your Competitive Advantages
A competitive advantage is a benefit that you offer that sets your company apart from the rest of the market. It’s something that your customers can only get if they purchase from you.
Try making a list of 3-5 of the most appealing competitive advantages.Step into the shoes of your ideal customer and ask yourself “What is the most significant benefit I can get buying from this company that I can’t get elsewhere?” Answering this question will help you to create a short and concise USP that highlights the value you offer.
Step 5: Define Your Brand Promise
A compelling brand promise forms a connection with your customers and brings your company closer to your audience. It can be a benefit or experience that your customers can expect to receive every time they buy from you.
FedEx – “Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed.”
Geico – “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
McDonald’s – “Simple, easy enjoyment.”
By making a brand promise and delivering every time your customers interact with your business, you can increase your brand value and drive customer loyalty.
A strong brand promise should be:
It needs to be catchy while reinforcing the brand’s identity and value in only a couple of sentences.
Never make a promise that you can’t keep. It needs to be achievable and delivered every time your customers interact with your brand.
A brand promise should set you apart from your competitors. You can’t differentiate your brand if you sound like everyone else.
It should be memorable for your customers and your customer-facing staff so it can be used during customer interactions.
Emotion is a key part of why people choose one company over another. An inspiring brand promise sparks emotion and makes a connection with the audience.
Step 6: Combine and Rework
Next, take all the information you gathered from the previous four steps and combine them into a single paragraph.
- Your audience
- The problems you solve
- Market research
- Competitive advantages
- Brand promise
You’ll probably find some repeating themes and ideas keep popping up. The goal is to use all of the information you have gained so far and create a short paragraph that highlights your unique value and resonates with your audience.
Step 7: Cut It Down
Once you have your summary paragraph, you need to cut it down to a single sentence. Your USP should be a specific and simple sentence that highlights your company’s value. Create several drafts, run them by your colleagues, and take your time before settling on a final USP.
Step 8: Test Your USP
As with any marketing initiative, testing is vital. Once you have a strong USP, talk to 5-10 of your customers and prospects to get feedback on the way your USP positions your brand. Does the USP set your brand apart from your competitors? Does it highlight your most compelling benefit? Do you deliver on what you are promising? Use this feedback to rework and tweak your final USP to be more impactful.
You can also test out different versions of your USP on your landing pages to see which performs best. Read our post on how to create landing pages to see how you can use your USP to boost your conversion rate.
What Makes Your Business Better Than the Rest?
It takes time to create a strong USP, but it is a powerful marketing asset for business once you get it right. The companies that successfully communicate their unique selling proposition generate more brand awareness, increased sales, and improved customer retention. They know who they are, what they offer, and why they are different.
If you need help creating a powerful USP or making your brand stand out from your competitors, get in touch with our friendly team of data-driven growth marketers at Ogno.