By Ashton Bishop, CEO at Step Change
Are you selling a product or a service? If you are, then you know that having a selling proposition will make an impact and ultimately make the sale.
However, it is not enough to just have a selling proposition. It needs to be enticing. It needs to be original and clever. And most importantly, the message needs to hit home.
So it should not just be a selling point but a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is what your business stands for.
One of the things we always tell our clients at Step Change is that they can’t be everything to everyone. By having one strong USP, your business gets to occupy a unique place in your audience’s mind, and you can focus all your efforts on creating products and services that your customers would actually love.
How to Approach Your USP
So how do you create a unique selling proposition?
The majority of purchase decisions for consumers are made subconsciously. In fact, when it comes to marketing, about 90% of decisions fall into this category.
Consider the act of purchasing eggs at the grocery store. Most people don’t spend a lot of time mulling over which brand to buy. In fact, they just go to the store, pick up the eggs that meet their requirements (whether its organic, free-range or vegetarian), and then move on to the next item on their list. They rely on their System 1 thinking (fast and intuitive thinking) to make the purchase decision.
Now chances are, whether you’re selling goods or services, you’re not the only one in your industry. Your target customers will have to choose which product or service deserves their trust and loyalty. What that means for marketing is that you have an opportunity to grab some of this brain share. Ideally, you want your target customers to ‘naturally’ choose your product over your competitors.
3 Essential Factors to Remember When Creating Your USP
When it comes to creating your USP for your brand, you should keep these three dimensions in mind.
1. Use your own story and voice.
You don’t want to copy the voice or story of another business or product in the market. To make yours unique, think about what makes your business a standout.
Focus on why your business exists in the first place. Why did you start the company? Why did you create your product? Where did your company start, and what has made it so special? Focus on all of these things to create your USP.
Master telling your story, and help people emotionally connect to your company through this method.
2. Think about what is common in the industry, and then think in the opposite direction.
Think about what your competitors are saying. Now since your goal is to stand out, you don’t want to say the same things that they’re saying. The last thing you want is for your message to drive their revenue.
So as long as it makes sense when it comes to your brand, you should forge your own way and create a new way of looking at the benefits of your product or service. Think of ways you can showcase the benefits of your company or service in a different way.
3. Determine the strength of your competition—and find the weakness that comes from it.
You want to take the time to determine the strengths of your competitor. The best way to do this is by putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. Think about what makes them stand out or why a third party may recommend them to another customer. You want to understand what they are offering beyond what you see in terms of marketing.
Once you know the strengths of your competition, you can then take a look at the weakness that arises from their strength. Use this weakness to clearly inform your USP, because customers don’t usually notice that weakness and they won’t know that your product/service can address that weakness unless you point it out.
Your unique selling proposition is what will allow you to make a dent in the market and actually see your vision become a reality. This has to be something that is truly unique in order to work, however. This is a great start for any business, but like with many things, it must be worked on consistently.
This post was originally published at the Step Change Blog.
Ashton Bishop is Australia’s Predatory Thinker: an expert in pinpointing how businesses can grow by outsmarting their competitors. His niche is in strategy, where he has spent the last 14 years working internationally on some of the world’s biggest brands. He’s a business owner and serial entrepreneur—challenging, sometimes even—but always focused on what gets results.
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