Once you have formed a solid foundation from your own values and beliefs, your business needs a backbone – and that backbone takes the form of your Unique Selling Proposition.
This single sentence will help you stand out in a crowded market and give potential customers a reason to choose you over everyone else, which is kind of important if you ever want to sell things online.
The thing is, creating an effective USP is not as simple as just writing down what you do for your customers – but it can still be pretty simple, as long as you keep on reading.
Ready to find your Unique Selling Proposition? Step right this way:
Look at what you do, and for whom
Messaging is a landmine in the world of business, and if you get it right, things will really go off (in a good way). The most important shift you can make is in your understanding of the difference between a feature and a benefit.
Sure, the features of your offer – the things you include – are important…
But the benefits – the often-intangible things your customers get in return for their investment?
They sell products like nothing else, so start by defining who your ideal customer is and exactly how your offer will change their lives.
Ask what your ideal customers want
Remember that scene from The Notebook where Ryan Gosling yells at Rachel McAdams to figure out what she wants, dammit?!
This is kind of like that, only it involves you yelling at your computer screen while searching Google for consumer statistics.
This stage is crucial because it helps you avoid spending way too much time and money developing products or services that no one wants to buy – and there are a few different ways you can do it:
- Focus groups
- Good old-fashioned observation (it’s not stalking, but it’s pretty damn close)
Basically, the idea is to get honest answers out of your potential customers and use that information to either validate your ideas or give you the tough love you need to change it up.
Work out who your competitors are
The most important job of a Unique Selling Proposition is to set you apart from your competition – but it’s pretty hard to do that when you don’t know who they are.
What’s more, you might think you know – and if you’re a major business with a huge annual turnover, you probably do – but if you’re playing in the small business pool, things can get a little murky. Your biggest competition might not even be another person or brand, but a tangible product that focuses on the same point.
For example, you might be selling a course on accounting, and find that loads of your customers are trickling out of your email list and into the arms of a brand new Xero app or a book by some guru with a shifty-looking grin.
Don’t freak out – just work out where your customers are ending up and why so that you can market to them and fill their needs more effectively.
Look at what your competitors are doing
Let’s be clear: this stage is not about copying your competition (no matter how tempting that option might be).
It’s about getting your head around what already exists so that you can do something different – and better, of course. This way, you can avoid copyright issues AND give yourself a better shot at carving out your own niche.
Many brands stick their Unique Selling Proposition (or some variation on it) into their slogans, so check these out first, and also take notice of how your competitors define themselves so that you can use different adjectives.
Otherwise, it’s kind of like you’re wearing the same dress to a party. There’s always the chance that you might wear it better, but sometimes you’ve just got to know when to change.
Ask your people what they think
Your team members and best customers are a pool of insights into your brand – the kind that you might not be able to see when your head is buried in the business end.
All you have to do is find out why your customers buy from you instead of your competitors. This can be as simple as a point-blank, “Why do you buy from us and not [insert competitor]?” OR you can take a more subtle approach with word association or questions that consider their whole buying process.
Do they find your product or service more effective than others? Do they like the price? Or do they just love your super-creative pink and yellow packaging?
Ask the right questions – and when you have the answers, fill in the blanks:
I [insert benefit] for [insert ideal customer] by [insert process].
I’ve found my Unique Selling Proposition. What now?
This is the part where you tell everyone you know and, with any luck, a whole lot of people you don’t. Add it on your website, write a blog, share it on your socials – heck, you could even throw a USPP (Unique Selling Proposition party).
Set yourself a goal to gradually create a USP-fueled content strategy that will attract Google searchers, social scrollers, and podcast listeners to your landing page.
Evolve your offers
Being in business means constantly evolving, and your offers should continue to evolve as you do. Once you have your Unique Selling Proposition, focus on bringing the messaging for each existing offer (and any new offers) into alignment.
Keep an eye out for new competitors
Anything unique is vulnerable to copycats, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is a set-and-forget deal. Use SEO content to boost your Google ranking for the keywords you want, and set up alerts to let you know when your site moves in the ranks.
After all of that, you should be feeling unique and ready to sell! We can’t wait to see what you come up with and how it works for you, so send it to us on Facebook or Instagram (@flourishonline).
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