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Unique Selling Proposition: How to Create one for Your Business

Regardless of your industry, it’s important to have an identifiable slogan and a resonant, simple message that allows you to market the unique benefits of your offerings. This combination defines your unique selling proposition, or unique selling point. Marketing built around your USP can provide a basis from which you can grow your business and increase brand awareness. Learn more about unique selling propositions and how to write one that elevates your brand.

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What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling proposition, also called a USP, is a slogan that businesses use to make themselves stand out among competitors within their industry. Typically, a unique selling proposition is used to describe one or more products or services a business offers that makes them better than the competition. What’s more, businesses can use their unique selling propositions to aid their marketing efforts and brand campaigns. You can even include your selling proposition in commercials, on packaging and in your customer service protocols.

What makes a unique selling proposition important

Crafting a USP that’s unique, memorable and distills the essence of the value your business offers not only helps convince customers. Doing this also helps guide your product improvement and marketing efforts.

Your USP should rapidly underscore the most fundamental thing that your customers and your employees need to know: what makes you unique compared to your competitors?

You can use this to refine your company’s strengths and to develop your creative edge. It will also help you define exactly what specific benefits you bring to your customers. A catchy USP isn’t enough by itself, it should reflect a genuine value proposition you’ve created.

A unique selling proposition can also give your business an identity that consumers interact with and acknowledge. Furthermore, you can use your business’ selling proposition to determine whether its current practices uphold the promises implied by your proposition.

For instance, your firm’s process for creating job posts, evaluating applications and selecting candidates takes close to two months. Because of this, you may need to look for ways to streamline the process to uphold the “timely solutions” portion of your selling proposition. Therefore, a selling proposition helps you stay accountable for all areas of your business practices.

What a good unique selling proposition needs

Your USP can be developed with all kinds of factors in mind, but to be compelling, it usually needs to develop in a way that makes it:

  • More than just a catchy phrase or slogan: Your USP has to be simple and memorable, which means that it can be a slogan, but you need to back that slogan up with reality, so that customers believe it when they recommend your products.
  • Defensible and confident: It usually isn’t enough to have a USP that just claims you sell great products. You should defensibly and confidently be able to assert what makes them good and why they’re better than alternatives. This will make your USP more memorable and specific.
  • Focused on providing specific value: You should base your USP on a specific kind of unique value that your customers care about. The message of your USP should assert this value proposition.

Reasons for creating a unique selling proposition as a business

There are many very important reasons why having a unique selling proposition is useful, or even vital, for growth. Here are a few ideas that you may want to keep in mind for motivating yourself and your team when crafting a unique selling proposition for your business:

Increase customer retention

A unique selling proposition can help your business create a loyal customer base as buyers start to associate your business with the promises you outlined in your proposition. You can also increase customer retention by creating a selling proposition that becomes a recognizable symbol of your brand.

Differentiate your business from competitors

When there are countless other companies within your industry that offer the same products or services, you can use a selling proposition to give your business its own unique characteristics. Done correctly, your selling proposition can help you stay very memorable to your target market.

Help your business stay focused

When you first start your own business, you may try to highlight too many marketable aspects at one time. This confuses consumers and makes it hard for your business to stand out. For this reason, it can be helpful to create a very simple selling proposition at the start of your business and use it as a focal point for your most essential offer.

For example, by marketing your coffee business as fair trade, low-priced, locally owned and a great place to read, it’s easy to forget all the marketing mumbo jumbo as opposed to using something simple like, “Where bookworms meet for their caffeine fix.” The latter is much easier to remember and specific, especially to bookworms who love to read over coffee.

Provide a strategy for growth

Your business can use its selling propositions as a focal point for internal company direction. For example, a company that prides itself on great customer service can make it an objective to create an intensive training program and hire candidates who display the right traits.

How to support and fortify your USP

Several factors can show how a business lives up to its USP. Here are a few ways to make your business stand out that can also complement your selling proposition:

  • Incorporate an honest guarantee into your selling proposition to entice customers to purchase your products or services. For instance, “99.9% effective in reducing hives,” implies that your product most likely eliminates hive-like symptoms.
  • Donate to a charity or implement initiatives into your business practices to promote sustainability and fair-trade operations.
  • Expand your current selling proposition to include new products or services.

Create a content channel to engage with customers in a more casual environment. For example, create a blog, podcast or a video content and social media engagement channel that highlights your values.

Steps to writing a unique selling proposition

Here are six steps to help you write a unique selling proposition:

1. Review your products or services

This provides a basis from which to generate ideas for your selling proposition. For example, if you own a software company, you may identify your key products and services as software installations and business communication systems.

2. Research your target audience

Your main audience or customer base can provide you with insights into the tone displayed in your selling proposition and the words you use. For instance, a local ice cream parlor that caters to families may benefit from a proposition like, “A flavor for everyone in the family.”

3. List what you think your business does well

This allows you to get more inspiration for your selling proposition by looking to the areas of your business that provide the most value. Good customer service, low prices and quick deliveries are a few examples.

4. Look at selling propositions of your competitors

By comparing your competitors’ selling propositions, you ensure that you create one that’s different from theirs while still maintaining the same quality.

5. Get input from your employees

You can do this by sending out a survey with different options to choose from or by meeting with department heads to gain their perspective.

6. Don’t be afraid to revise your selling proposition over time

Your selling proposition should evolve with your business, so be sure to refine it over time. For example, if you’ve been in business for five years and you want to revamp your brand, a new selling proposition can be helpful.

Unique selling proposition FAQs

What is a unique selling proposition example?

Here are a few examples of unique selling propositions:

  • Grocery store chain: “Fair-trade, organic produce at an affordable price.”
  • Jewelry store: “Diamonds without blood.”
  • Accounting firm: “We fight the IRS for every right you have.”
  • Hotel chain: “Comfort and relaxation for your budget.”

What shouldn’t a unique selling proposition include?

The point of creating a USP for a business is to convey your essential, unique value proposition. It shouldn’t be used as a platform for specific, temporary product or marketing offers. In other words, don’t use your USP on things like discount offers, free shipping, 24-hour customer support and return policy descriptions. None of these are unique or highly defensible.

Can my USP include humor or even dark humor?

Absolutely, if that represents your brand. More than anything else, you need your USP to be memorable and one of the best ways to achieve this quickly in your message is by saying something memorably funny or even uncomfortable. Brands that have pulled this off achieve a kind of marketing magic.

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