As a salesperson, you probably use something called a “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP) to explain the key factors that separate your product from the ones your competitors make. Competition drives productivity in business, this is especially true for e-commerce brands as they don’t have just local competitors to consider. For customers, it is a matter of having a reason to trust your product and stay loyal to you, instead of a competitor. For a company, having a clearly defined and easy to articulate USP is an asset for both sales and marketing departments.
Here’s how to identify your USP:
What Makes a Good USP?
What does a USP look like and how does it work? There are many great examples to choose from when it comes to effective USPs used by SaaS (Software as a Service) and e-commerce companies. Here are some of the basic elements you should keep in mind when creating your own USP.
- Products or Services What are the products or services that you are offering your customers?
- Benefits What are customers getting from you that they can’t get from competitors?
- Target Customers Can you identify who your target customers are?
- Solution What problems are you solving for your customers.
How to Craft a Strong USP
Basic USPs are good starting points, but compelling USPs are those that can stand up to scrutiny. If you want to have a strong USP, it would be good to include these additional elements.
- Be memorable. You can easily copy a statement like “products built to last that meet your expectations.” But it’s too generic to have any lasting value. A USP should effectively communicate benefits that can’t be matched.
- Focus on what matters to customers. If your offering isn’t something your target customers will value, then it won’t succeed. Your offering shouldn’t just be about what customers want 75% of the time. They should want it 100% of the time.
- Be tangible. Back up everything you claim your product or service does in your message. Your message shouldn’t just sound pleasing, but it should also be consistent in action.
- Go beyond a slogan. While slogans are catchy and can communicate your USP, your message should also be something that includes other parts of your business; ranging from customer suggestions and return policies, to product reviews and monitoring your supply chain.
It is important to keep in mind that while you can include these elements in your USP, you shouldn’t put an emphasis on any one specific feature like: a 20% discount, free shipping, 24/7 customer service, or your return policy. These features can be included in your USP, but your core message shouldn’t be just about them. These features can be easily copied by your competitors because there is nothing new or novel about them.
Examples of USPs
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
This claim made by FedEx is both bold and memorable. The company is promising that they will deliver packages as soon as possible. This USP is also strong because FedEx’s claim is backed up by its network and infrastructure, which allows its delivery service to send packages to their destinations on time. Lastly, this USP focuses on the needs of customers, this is a part of FedEx’s service that customers truly value. If you need a delivery service that works faster than the United States Post Office, FedEx is one service that addresses the gap in this specific market.
“Millions of businesses of all sizes – from startups to large enterprises – use Stripe’s software and APIs to accept payments, send payouts, and manage their businesses online.”
In Stripe’s USP the target customers are clearly defined. Developers and business owners who want to have better control of payment processes can use Stripe’s software and APIs (Application Programming Interface). With the help of Stripe’s services, the issue of bringing multiple systems together is gone. Stripe separates itself from PayPal, and other online payment services, because it offers payment infrastructure for the internet. As a company, Stripe can filter out customers that aren’t right for their services and bring in those that are.
“They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”
At first glance, this is a very assertive tagline for a company to use. However, Saddleback Leather is conveying the unique value its products carry with this sentence. This USP takes on the tone of a product being built so well that it will last well past its owner’s lifespan. Saddleback Leather has a 100-year warranty on their products, which is the direct reference this USP makes. There is a need in the market for leather products that last for years, and the warranty is very positive to customers.
“Empowering the world to design.”
Creating vector graphics should be an easy task for both experts and novices, and that is what is being conveyed by Canva’s USP. This online design and publishing platform offers a free product for anyone to use, both to create and share vector graphics. Canva’s design tools reflect the simplicity of graphic design. It stands out from competitors like Adobe PhotoShop and ProCreate, which are tools created mainly for experienced artists. These other tools have a steeper learning curve that many people may not have the time for. Canva fills a gap by keeping doors open to novices who just want to design images, fliers or documents quickly.
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“Investing for everyone.”
In the world of investing, it is important to know how the financial system works. Robinhood is an investing platform that welcomes anyone that is interested in investing in stocks. Robinhood offers users to invest as little as $1 via smartphone, even if they don’t have any knowledge of the markets. Therefore, it has a slogan that reflects how simple and accessible it is for anyone to use their platform. It is possible to let the product you offer guide the USP. Robinhood successfully bridges a gap in a market that normally doesn’t allow access to the Average Joe or Jane.
“For everyone, everywhere, for free”
Customers that are eager to start their own podcasts now have the ability to do so with the help of Anchor’s services. Anchor is a platform that allows you to set up your own podcast the way you want, without any hassle; and it is a free platform to use. If you’ve ever had an idea for a podcast that was truly novel, and you wanted to showcase your creativity in presenting that idea, then Anchor gives you that freedom to do so. You are not limited by any unforeseen caveats or catches. What you see on Anchor is what you get.
“The classics you love, but better for you!”
Popcorn is a snack that you can easily buy at the dollar store, in either the kernel or pre-popped variety. While it promotes itself as being pre-popped “mini popcorn”, Pipcorn also gets specific about what it offers to customers, putting focus on the benefits of its products. What you will read on a bag of Pipcorn are phrases like “small batches”, “all natural”, and “whole grain”, and their website goes into detail about health benefits like antioxidants, non-GMO, and gluten free. Pipcorn tailors its USP towards current health-conscious trends, which helps them to attract specific customers and sell their popcorn as a unique kind of product.
“ConvertKit helps you find your audience, turn them into true fans, and earn a living as a creator with our audience building and email marketing software.”
There is a difference in how ConvertKit does business as opposed to its competitors like MailChimp or iContact. An SaaS brand that makes over $2 Million in revenue on a monthly basis; ConvertKit has a thorough understanding of its target audience. Independent creators are given email marketing tools for their businesses, which is at the heart of what ConvertKit focused on when the company launched. Its USP has a purpose and niche, and it demonstrates that not every USP has to be read like a news headline. ConvertKit’s message delivers a strong statement by outlining what email marketing should be about.
“We design new products. You crowd fund them and save 20%. Our planet takes on less waste. We deliver them when they’re seasonally appropriate. Everybody wins.”
Crowdfunding may be frowned upon by some consumers, but it is an integral part of Taylor Stitch’s USP. New clothing products are created by Taylor Stitch through crowdfunding efforts, and in return a new kind of demand emerges in the clothing market. The “why” behind them crowdfunding new products is highlighted, and the promise of customers saving money when they purchase these products cannot be ignored. While this business model appears to be unconventional, Taylor Stitch manages to turn a risk-filled pre-order process into a very convincing marketing strategy. Taylor Stitch is an example of a company that takes different avenues to make the products that fulfill the specific needs of customers. (image here)
“I got you live on the first call. When you hire us, we’ll teach your sales reps how to do the same thing.”
Sales training is a tool that carries a lot of value among industry executives, and Hoffman leads the way. Hoffman puts an emphasis on technique over method, and you are given a rundown of how to start, work and close a deal the professional way. Honesty, authenticity, and strategic awareness are all promoted by Hoffman, and they offer free webinars every Tuesday to help you generate more sales. This USP is simple in structure, and its core meaning is to the point. As a company, when you are shown how to properly hire employees, the process of actually hiring them becomes effortless.
Conducting Research and Testing Your USP
Before you submit a USP to the market for customers to think about, conduct research on every possible angle of that USP. Without knowing each component that makes up your USP, you probably won’t be able to put it to the test.
For starters, you should research your competition. Their USPs should be reviewed and you should try to identify any potential weaknesses that you can solve with your product or service. Even if you have the same product as a competitor, you can still position that product much differently. For example, hats can have an emphasis on either durability, comfort, or style.
The growth of both your company, and your competition, when selling similar or identical products, should be monitored. If it turns out that both you and the competition are performing equally well in the marketplace, then you are in a good position. However, there are also potentially dangerous pitfalls with this position. It is important to know the differences between you and the competition, and to understand why customers are making specific choices.
Things to Consider
Consider convenience, customer service, price, and reliability as parts of your research. Can you change any of these elements to separate you from your competitors? Also, think about researching your target customers to get an idea of what they think, and why they think that. What motivates them to buy certain products? Why do they buy these products? When do they make purchases? And where?
One more important part of your research is to get an understanding of your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Be prepared to have competitors take advantage of these soft spots when they promote their products or services. If there are aspects of your product that you know you can’t change, then brainstorm ideas to cover those weaknesses as best you can. Whatever your product or service is best at, which is a strength, should take center stage. All weaknesses should stay hidden behind the curtain.
A USP presents itself as something that customers need. What it offers is something that is not only relevant to the customer, but something that should last. If you can to show proof of what your USP claims, customers will believe, and trust, your product or service.
The most effective USPs evoke certain feelings, emotions, and memories, and they are strong enough to keep customers thinking about them long after they have seen them. One question to ask yourself and colleagues is: “What can our company do that no one else can copy?” Once you can identify how to answer that question, your USP can start developing.
If you have more questions about how to create a strong marketing stance, please contact us here or through the form below.
Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More