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How to create a unique selling proposition (USP) for your business

19 December 2017 Small Business Advice

What’s a unique selling proposition?

It’s a statement used to sell your products and services – a unique selling proposition (USP) should summarise what your business stands for and why it’s different. If customers don’t understand your USP, it becomes tougher for them to choose your businesses over others. A USP can be used as a company slogan and can be incorporated into all of your marketing activities. Follow the steps below to help define your own USP.

Step 1: identify your customers

Think about what your customers really want. By building profiles of your current customers, you can better appeal to their needs. Try asking them to fill out surveys – learn why they might purchase other items in your market. This work can also help you identify new customers.

Step 2: analyse your competitors

While researching your market, take a look at competitors’ ads, websites, and marketing materials. See what space these businesses occupy – notice how their USPs define their marketing strategy and which customers they attract.

Step 3: consider your advantages

This might be your product, service, a story or even location. Focus on one thing rather than man, this will help strengthen your marketing and fine-tune your USP. This is where your competitor analysis puts you in good stead – make a list of your competitors and see which needs they’re meeting.

Step 4: reflect on your values

Consider what values and causes your business believes in – this could be your USP. Perhaps you’re passionate about a certain charity or social movement like fair trade. Sharing these values can help attract like-minded customers.

Step 5: make a promise

It’s important to make a pledge to your customers. This promise can be implied or spelled out, either way, it should underpin the USP and your marketing campaigns. Try writing out your promise, then stick it on a wall where you and your employees can clearly see.

Step 6: write your USP

Consider all of the above when writing your USP – this could be the responsibility of a copywriter. Come up with a strong statement that conveys your USP, be specific. Try different options and see which resonate most with your employees. Once you’re happy, edit the USP so it’s as concise as possible.

Step 7: use your USP

Once you have something in mind, see how the world reacts. Try using your USP on your website, email newsletters and advertising campaigns.

Step 8: fulfil your USP

For example, if you guarantee 24 hour delivery, make sure you’re on time. Failing to carry out your USP can harm your customer’s confidence in your business. If you consistently fulfil your USP, collect testimonials to back up your claims.

Step 9: review your USP

This helps keeps your marketing fresh. Several factors could lead to your marketplace changing, so you may need to adapt you USP. Your competitors’ approach might change or they could catch up with you. Perhaps your customers’ needs may be different in the future.

Your USP checklist

Once you’ve followed the above steps, try asking yourself the below questions to check if your USP is strong enough.

Does is meet customer needs? A USP helps provide a solution to your customer’s problems and help make their lives easier.

Does it connect emotionally? Your USP should tap into your audiences’ frustrations and concerns – this could be the final sales push your business needs.  

Is it memorable? Your statement should stay with customers before they commit to business. Keep your USP short.

Is it different? Your USP should be different from others in the marketplace. Remember, the whole point of a USP is to help your business stand out.


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