Every business should have a USP (unique selling proposition), or as Entrepreneur puts it, a reason why customers should buy from your store instead of your competitor’s establishment.
Interestingly, the USP most commonly used by business owners when customers ask why they should buy their product over the competition’s is also the weakest USP: “We’re better.”
Saying you’re “better” is too general and very difficult to prove. Additionally, just mentioning it fosters disbelief in prospects.
So what’s the trick to creating a USP that will get people to buy from you and not the competition? While there are a number of methods you can use, Entrepreneur offers the 3 most effective ones below.
1. Focus on a feature of your product: Use one that’s different or unique, as well as one that delivers an important benefit to the user. For example, the manufacturer of Crispix didn’t settle for “it tastes better.” Instead, they went with Crispix “stays crisp in milk”—a perk that consumers wanted.
2. Narrow your target market & focus on a specific niche: While there are thousands of business owners in the world, all fighting for clients, the smart ones have specialized in one area. What sounds better? A business consultant or a business development consultant for eye doctors?
If you happen to also have experience in the niche you plan to specialize in, it will give prospects that much more incentive to choose you over the competitor (a business development consultant for eye doctors who previously ran a successful optometry practice, for example).
3. Create a winning USP with branding: Once you’ve nailed down your USP and condensed it into an elevator pitch-type statement that’s succinct and persuasive, you need to use it in your advertising.
As WordStream points out:
“It’s essential that your USP is highlighted in your ad copy. Preferably, it should be in the headline or first line of your ad. If you choose to feature your USP in the headline, make sure it’s keyword-rich. Alternatively, if you include it elsewhere in your ad copy, make sure it emphasizes the benefits of using your product or service.”
Many advertisers find it hard to resist the temptation to rave about product and service features right up front. Don’t fall victim to this mistake. Instead, emphasize the benefits of your product or service to place greater value on the emotional payoff of choosing you over your competitors. In this way, you’ll appeal to your prospects’ desire to solve their problems.
3 questions that will help you formulate a winning USP
Entrepreneur suggests asking yourself the following questions to come up with a USP that sells:
- What is different about my product that delivers an important benefit to the user?
- Is there an industry, application, or another niche I can specialize in?
- Is there a way to brand my company or product in a unique fashion that will appeal to consumers?
“If you associate your product with a strong USP in the consumer’s mind, it’s difficult for competitors to take it away from you,” says Entrepreneur.
Take, for example, the old ad campaigns for Wonder Bread which claimed, “Wonder Bread helps build strong bodies 12 ways.” Can you imagine another brand coming out with a similar statement like, “We also build strong bodies 12 ways?” Every time the buyer heard it, they’d only think of Wonder Bread—not the competitors.
“A strong, instantly recognizable USP can make or break businesses operating in competitive markets and niche marketing industries, so it’s essential that you leverage your USP and make it the cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy. Until you know what your USP is, and how to capitalize on it, your business will be just another voice clamoring to be heard.”