Competition in business is fierce. Don’t you agree? On an ongoing basis, you might find yourself clawing your way out of imposter syndrome and feeling like your business needs to be original, while also racing to be the product or service of choice amongst your “rivals.”
But, as Steve Jobs once said,
“You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.”
That said, competition is, however, an inevitable part of the entrepreneurship and overall business world. But, it can be completely beneficial to you and the success of your business.
So, go ahead and do yourself a favor and use it to your advantage while thinking about what it is that will make your product or service different from the rest. Meaning, what will make it a real-life unicorn amongst a herd of horses in the eyes of your ideal customers?
I know what you might be thinking: “Easier said than done, Monica. How will I ever tackle that?”
By uncovering your unique selling proposition (USP). I’ve briefly touched on this term in a few blog posts in the past. Therefore, I figured it was time to lay it all out for you, dishing out all you need to know on what a USP is, why you need one, and how to reveal yours ASAP.
I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Let’s get started!
What is a unique selling proposition? And, why do I need one for my product or service?
To make a long story short, a unique selling proposition is defined as: The factor or consideration presented by a business owner as the reason that one product or service is different from the competition.
Most importantly, it’s not a slogan or a catchphrase. Instead, it’s a block of text that helps you get super specific—identifying what the one thing is that you want your product or service to be known for. Because, often, many business owners just starting out make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone.
That’s a giant no-no. Why? Well, as Kissmetrics explains, “When you attempt to be known for everything, you don’t become known for anything.” It then becomes increasingly difficult for you to gain long-term customers and traction when marketing online. And, there’s your answer to the second question of this section—Why do I need one for my product or service?
Having a strong, clear USP in your business toolkit will help your ideal customers quickly understand what your product or service offers them, and why they should choose you over others in the industry. Just take a look at these winning examples from across the web:
Domino’s Pizza: Free protection for your most delicious asset. If damage occurs to your carryout order after you leave the store, just bring it back and we’ll remake it for free.
Dropbox: Dropbox keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.
Zappos: If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase from Zappos Luxury, you can return your item(s) for a full refund within 365 days of purchase.
Bam! Now, are you sold? I knew you would be. That brings me to the next most important question you’re probably asking out loud right about now…
How can I uncover my unique selling proposition ASAP?
Simply follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to having a USP that you can use in your sales materials to reel in more customers.
1. Understand your ideal customer.
If you’re a regular on the ScriptDoll blog, you probably feel as if I keep repeating myself on this particular topic. And, yes, you’re right—I do talk about this. A lot! But, it’s only because it’s critical to the success of your product or service.
Simply put, you need to truly understand who your ideal customers are, what motivates them, and what they’re looking for from you. If you need help getting started with this, check out this popular post I wrote.
No matter what, however, just be sure you don’t haphazardly breeze through this to-do. You need to put some serious thought and time into understanding your people so you can set the stage for the creation of a memorable USP that speaks directly to them.
2. Take a peek at your competitors and industry trends.
Make a list of the top competitors your product or service is up against, and start doing some digging to find the amount of inspiration you need to steer your USP in the right direction.
You should be scouting out their key differentiator (what they claim to be solving for their customers), which should be on their website. Also, dig deep to find out how well they’re doing at meeting their customers’ needs, which can be found via any testimonials they have published on their website and across their social accounts.
Following your research, use all the facts you’ve gathered to identify how you can set your offer apart from your opponents. Ultimately, focus on how you can do it differently than them.
You can also choose to take it a step further (which I highly recommend!) to look at trends within the industry you’re serving. For example, any needs your customers have that aren’t being met by existing products or services—aka something people are downright hungry for. This will allow you to identify ways you can expand your USP.
3. Get to list making.
Now, it’s time to get organized! Put all your thoughts, product or service characteristics, and research findings down on paper. Write down what you know about your target audience, the needs your product or service can meet, the compelling benefits of your offer, and consider answering the following questions:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?
- Why do repeat clients and customers like you?
- What makes you different from your competitors? (This question, in particular, will help you avoid creating a USP that’s already in use.)
This is a simple step that shouldn’t take much time on your end. And, those three questions should be relatively easy for you to answer. So, once you have everything down on paper, it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out to uncover your very own unique selling proposition.
4. Think of your USP as an elevator pitch.
You might be wondering what in the world this has to do with today’s topic of interest. But, in fact, crafting your elevator pitch has everything to do with unveiling your USP. After all, you have mere seconds to capture your audience’s attention and prove to them your product or service is worth investing in. Not to mention, following the previous step, you probably have a lengthy list of talking points.
All that said, we’ve got to cut things down! So, think of your USP like an elevator pitch. (Fun fact: a key component of an elevator pitch is actually tossing in your unique selling proposition.) Your ideal customer has just a few seconds to spare to listen to what it is you have to say.
Therefore, keep in mind that a strong differentiator is made up of an actual fact that’s independently measurable—rather than a disputable claim and your opinion. Basically, it should never be based on YOUR emotions. To put it bluntly, your people don’t care about those.
Instead, use that list you created to get laser focused about the message you want to share—all while focusing on the dos and don’ts (thanks again to Inc.com) to briefly explain your USP.
- “We’re industry leading and best-in-class.” (According to whom, exactly?)
- “We can save you money faster than the competition.” (Says who?)
- “We provide the best service in the industry.” (Who cares?)
- “We have a patented method that delivers materials the day they’re needed.”
- “Our system holds the industry record for most money saved.”
See the difference? When you say something that’s not only brief and easy to understand, but also unique about your product or service that can be proven, you give your ideal customer a reason to jump onboard with you.
5. Refine for success.
Again, your USP is based on an actual fact that’s independently measurable—not your emotions or personal opinions. Thus, as soon as you have a brief line of copy down on paper that explains your key differentiator, don’t just call it a day. Rather, start refining it for success!
While you’re analyzing it over and over again, keep in mind the following things:
- Limit your USP to one powerful sentence that captures the essence of not only your differentiator, but also your customers’ ultimate need.
- Focus on one thing your product or service does really well versus trying to turn it into an “everything” machine. For example, how does your offer provide better quality, assistance, or even value to customers?
- Don’t make it about you. Ensure the focus solely remains on your people.
- Cut any unnecessary fluff and filler where you can so you can keep your USP clear and concise.
- If you find yourself seriously struggling with honing in on your key differentiator, look to existing customers (if applicable) and ask them why they use your product or service over everyone else’s. Their answers alone can help you tremendously.
What do you want your product or service to be known for? Use the tips shared here today to uncover your unique selling proposition. And, as soon as you do, don’t be shy about tossing it into your upcoming sales pieces—from your email sequences to sales pages, Facebook ads, and so much more. Leveraging what sets you apart from the herd of horses will only bring your business success!
Your USP isn’t the only thing that’ll spice up your sales copy, however. Learn the other factors you can inject into your next piece by grabbing a FREE copy of my eBook, Pack on the Sizzle in Your Copy: How to Create Features and Benefits, Bonuses, and Induce FOMO to Devour Some Serious Sales. Just enter your email address into the box on the right side of your screen, and I’ll send it to your inbox right away!
Have you crafted your own USP already? Let me know the steps you took to successfully tackle the task on your own in the comments section below.