In essence, your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what makes your product or service different from your competitors. It helps to define your company’s unique position in the marketplace. It is an important part of creating pricing power and understanding what it is about your business/product/service that consumers genuinely love. It will also help build your brand equity.
Why is a USP important?
A well identified Unique Selling Proposition that is held at the core of each and every decision made enables your business to stand apart from its competitors and actively focus your energy and efforts on creating things that cater to your ideal customers.
Your USP will help you to drive the decisions and development of your business and your marketing strategy. Whether you are creating a logo, website or marketing campaign, always ask yourself – does this reflect our USP?
How to develop your USP
The first step in writing a USP requires that you take a step back from your business and think deeply about your business goals. Start by answering some of the following preliminary questions:
- What business/industry are you in?
- What products or services are you selling?
- What does your business do well?
When it comes to developing a USP there is no one size fits all approach. However, there are best practice steps that businesses can apply to help in their development. Below are our favourite methods which we have used with many of our clients to support the development of a USP.
Step One: Target Market
Developing a succinct description of your target market(s) will be covered in greater detail in our next email. However, in order for your business to be able to develop a USP, you must first understand who you are targeting. Be as detailed as possible in the description of your primary target market.
Step Two: What problem are you solving?
What issues, desires or concerns are your customers addressing by using your product/service/business? Make a list of what problem(s) your business is solving for them.
Step Three: Competitive Advantage
Identify the one or two things that your business is exceptional at:
- What sets your business apart from your competitors?
- What is your business better at than any other business within your market?
- What are the biggest benefits your customers receive from working with your business/using your product or service that they could not get from working with another business?
Thinking from your target markets perspective, explain why these benefits are important and why they would choose your business over a competitor.
Step Four: Detail your Promise
Write down what you pledge to your customers?
What will they be guaranteed to receive should they decide to purchase your offering?
Step Five: The First Draft and Refine
Take all the information gathered from the details in step 1-4 and combine them into one paragraph. Don’t worry, it won’t be perfect on the first draft.
Review your words and now merge any recurring themes and ideas. Start writing shorter, more succinct statements. Continue refining each version, until it starts to flow and make sense.
Step Six: Completion
Ideally, your USP needs to be one sentence. The lesser number of words, the better. Ten words or less is the goal. Make your USP specific and as simple as possible. If you can’t decide, develop 2-3 USP’s. Test them with staff and customers (at least 10 individuals) to help you choose your strongest USP for your business.
It is important to ensure your USP is memorable. Can it deliver what it promises? Is it really unique – or could your competitor claim the same thing?