April 21, 2020 Last updated April 21st, 2020 1,055 Reads share

The Ultimate Guide to USPs

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

There is a magical element to every business called the unique selling proposition (USP). Understanding what drives people to your brand rather than another is a big part of developing your USP and your branding strategy. If you haven’t thought about what makes your company different than your competitors, now is an excellent time to foster a new approach.

There are around 30.7 million small businesses in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). No matter what kind of firm you run or your location, you likely have competition. Grabbing the attention of your customer base and showing how you’re the better choice requires creativity and a deep understanding of what you have to offer.

Fortunately, developing a strong USP requires only a little of your time and ongoing promotional effort. Here are 12 ways to hone in on what makes your brand one-of-a-kind.

Focus on the User Experience

Put yourself in the place of your typical customer. What problem drives them to your website or store for a solution? Once they arrive, is that issue solved quickly and without much trouble?

Move through every touchpoint in the buyer’s journey and make sure things flow from Point A to Point B.

Think about how many of your users access your website from a mobile device. How can you improve that experience while still sticking to the primary value you wish to provide?

Assess Your Logo

Does your logo highlight your USP? If you sell real estate and you want to be known for the fastest turnaround, then your logo might be a house that looks as though it’s in motion or has wings. Make sure it defines your brand and then use it everywhere, such as outdoor events, on banners placed outside your store and in advertising.

Know Your Benefits

Figure out your product’s or service’s benefits. You can’t highlight your USP if you don’t have an idea of what your best features are. Your USP can also be about your philosophy as a business owner, such as having the best customer service or lowest costs.

Study Your Competitors

Once you have a list of benefits, look at your competitors and what their USPs are. You need something outside the norm, so cross off anything on your list that matches other brands. What is left is what makes your offer stand out.

Review Your Target Audience

Your USP might be one of the most interesting ever developed. However, if your target audience doesn’t care, it won’t do much in the way of increasing your conversions.

Study your typical customer in-depth. Tap into what emotions drive them and how your product’s benefits solve their worries, fears and needs.

Refine Your Language

Knowing what your USP is and being able to define it succinctly are two different things. You should be able to state your unique value in one short sentence. Edit until the words are concrete and clearly outline the benefit, and cut anything that doesn’t provide details about your USP.

Explain Your Guarantee

If you’re going to claim that you are the best at something, be ready to stand behind those words. Do you have a satisfaction guarantee? What happens if you promise fast shipping and the item takes two weeks to arrive?

Think about what makes you stand out as a brand and how you’ve presented your proposition. Then, decide how to guarantee the benefit to your users.

Test Your USP

Some USPs will be more attractive than others to your buyer personas. If you’ve narrowed your choices down to more than one benefit, then test the different options. Conduct some split tests to see which ones your users respond best to and create higher conversion rates.

Consider Brand Image

Consider how you want others to see your brand. If your USP doesn’t line up with your core values, then it must go.

It’s a tall order to find something your audience cares about, is unique from other brands and aligns with your values. You may go through several options before finding the brand image that works for your company.

Get Specific

Your USP needs to be highly specific. Domino’s Pizza offers a good example — its USP is that it delivers quickly, and the pizza will be hot. There are many things a pizza restaurant could say, such as that they have the best taste, use top quality cheese or use a secret family recipe.

Domino’s knows its pizza isn’t the best and it doesn’t have some Old-World recipe from great-great-grandma. What it does have is a streamlined service that gets food to you rapidly.

Decide on One Category

Don’t try to roll several benefits into one sentence. For example, if your USP sounds something like, “Fast, reliable and cheap service,” you’re putting too many categories into your statement.

Instead, focus on what you do best and position yourself against your competitors. Choose price, quality, service, convenience or reliability rather than all those elements.

Get Feedback

Once you’ve considered all the aspects above, run your final USP past your top customers and ask them if they feel it defines your brand. Next, use a focus group made up of your typical audience and run the same presentation past them, along with the USPs of your competitors. Have them choose which they’d give their business to.

You’ll find that the statement doesn’t work for everyone. Gauge how well it works for your intended audience and what percentage says they would convert into a customer. Refine any wording as needed to improve results.

Revisit Your USP Frequently

Over time, the products you offer and your company strategies might change. Every year or so, revisit your USP and see if it still applies or needs revamping. Do you have the same types of customers you originally had?

You should go through all the steps again and study your competition, recheck buyer personas and test any new wording. Make sure your USP still works for you and converts at a high return on your investment.

USP concept -DepositPhotos

Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu

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