In my years of copywriting, I’ve helped many clients create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) from scratch. This is one of the most difficult things to get right because it goes to the heart of what the business is all about. Most times business owners have no idea what it is that makes them different because they’re so busy working in the business.
What’s a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
A Unique Selling Proposition or USP is that point of difference that stands your business apart from the competition.
Let’s say you own a cake business. What’s that one thing you do that makes your cake better than the rest? Do you offer a cake choosing service to help customers choose their cake? Do you offer cake tastings?
It’s what I call “Your secret sauce”. That one thing that makes you better from the rest and helps you stand out in the mind of the customer.
Do you even need a USP?
My answer is yes. Not only will a USP make you appear different from your competition (who probably doesn’t have one), it’ll help to guide business decisions like social media content, branding colours and how you talk to the customer along their touch points.
In this post, I’ll share my tips on how you can create your own USP.
1. Choose brand values to get you started
A brand value is something that you stand for as a company. It’s the foundation on which you build your brand, it directs your content and helps you make the right decisions. For example, a company that defines itself as eco-conscious is unlikely to sell animal products.
Is your brand knowledgeable? (applies if you’re a thought leader).
Here is a list of 200 brand values to get you to start thinking about what your business stands for. Try and narrow it down to around 5-7 words so you have a clear idea of the types of values that define your business. Explain them using a sentence each so you’re completely clear on what you stand for.
2. Brainstorm and list down the core elements of your product or service
Now comes the fun part. In my client briefing calls, I ask various questions about their products or service. What makes it different to others in the market? What parts of their product or service features are unique? For example, if an eco company sells candles, are they made in a factory or painstakingly poured by hand?
How does your product or service make your customer’s life better? Does it help them save time? Does it help them save money? Does it help them throw beautiful birthday parties on a budget?
More importantly – how are you better than your competition and why should they buy from you?
3. Combine the different ideas to create a USP
So following the example of an eco company selling natural candles. If they were to write their USP, it might look something like:
Our artisan candles are made from pure essential oils and natural beeswax only. We help customers enjoy aromatherapy in their homes or offices without any nasty chemical side effects.
A good USP needs to be refined several times before you settle on one. Try combining different ideas to get to the core of what you do. List down all the product features and turn them into meaningful benefits for your customers. Is it something they’ll value highly?
Feature: Our accounting software costs 50% less than what the market leader charges
Benefit: It’s perfect for small business owners who want a smart solution but can’t pay huge fees
Avoid using filler words like ‘that’ in your USP and use adjectives where possible.
Here’s a list of my favourite USPs. Can you guess the company?
- A diamond is forever
- The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand
- Award-winning financial software designed for entrepreneurs
- Buy the world’s strongest coffee
- We’re No.2 so we try harder
Need help in creating a USP for your business?
Email me email@example.com and let’s have a chat about how I can help.
IMAGE CREDIT: Zoltán Nagy from Pixabay