A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Shortly after I came online at the end of 2008 I realized that I needed a personal website because it was not enough to use the company’s website to be successful. At that time my focus was on Skin Care and Image Consulting with a well-know Direct Sales company. I quickly realized that I needed my own website to create a blog and allow people to get to know, like, and trust me so they could decide if they wanted to do business with me. One of my first mentors connected me with a web designer and the first question he asked me was what was my Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? ‘My what? What is USP?’ I asked. I had no idea what he was talking about!
Today I get those questions from many of my clients when we first start to work together. Some may have been in business for a while offline, while others have been both offline and online, but never gave it serious thought. Let’s take a closer look at what is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), why you need one, and what are the essential elements of a USP.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that explains what makes your business unique; how it’s different from everyone else in the marketplace. It tells your customers how you can better meet their needs and what makes you special. Is it easy to do? Not really, because you have to take time to analyze your business and yourself. You may have been doing the same thing for quite some time and been successful at it, but never stopped to consider what specifically is contributing to your success.
In Reality in Advertising, television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves defined the unique selling proposition. Two of the three parts of that definition are:
- The proposition must be one the competition cannot or does not offer. It must be unique—either in the brand or in a claim the rest of that particular advertising area does not make.
- The proposition must be strong enough to move the masses, i.e., attract new customers.
Why Have a USP
Having a unique selling proposition is important to your success. By taking the time to do some analysis you’ll be identifying your strengths as well as any weaknesses that could affect your position in the marketplace.
Why are people buying from you, or using your services rather than someone else? What do you do for your customers that create loyalty so that they buy from you again and again, and refer their friends and family to you? What is it you do that’s different from anyone else who is doing the same thing?
Identifying what you do that’s different from other’s in the market will take time to measure as it will likely involve studying whomever is considered your competition, analyze what they’re doing, and determine what you do differently. It must also be of strong benefit to the customer so that current customers can readily recognize this, and prospective customers will be able to determine what you do that others do not.
Once you’re able to clearly identify what makes you different, you can continue to build on that as the business owner, but you can clearly bring it to the fore so your customers and clients think of you first when they need your products or services. Your USP helps to establish your brand in the minds of your customers and creates top-of-mind-awareness.
Two Essential Elements of a USP
A good USP is memorable. To be effective it has to stick in people’s minds so that you’re the one they think of when they need your products or services. This means that your USP has to be condensed to convey your uniqueness without being too wordy. It must say a little but convey a lot. It’s important to recognize, however, that you USP is not the same as your tagline.
It must connect with your buyers emotionally. Good USPs speak to the fears, worries, desires, and frustrations of your target market. It also tells them how you can solve these concerns.
Creating your USP through careful analysis and research is essential to your business success. At the same time being able to articulate an amazing USP is not enough to ensure success in the marketplace—and a crowded one at that. Your products and services must live up to the promise(s) you made in your USP as failure to do so will have a decidedly negative impact on your business causing you to lose customers and clients, and damage your reputation.
If you’d like to receive help with creating your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), you’re invited to schedule a complimentary Business Breakthrough Session with me via email at yjones [at) mysuccesscircleonline [dot] com with “Business Breakthrough Session” in the subject line or through my contact form on http://mysuccesscirclemarketing.com.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42931449@N07/5342954678/