Marketing Basics: Creating Your USP

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Creating a USP (unique selling point) for your business is essential to your success. Your USP is what separates you from the competition. It’s the main benefit that customers will enjoy if they do business with you. In short, it’s the thing that hooks customers in, keeping them from going to your competitors.

Unfortunately, a lot of the businesses I provide copy for don’t know what their USP is. It’s one of the first questions I ask them when outlining their copy. More times than not, the answer I get starts with “That’s a hard question to answer. It’s difficult to pinpoint one thing that makes us better than the competition. Hmmm…”  Now, I’m not saying it’s a breeze to come up with a USP, but the simple truth is you better figure one out or else you’ll never gain any ground on your competition.

So, before we talk about how to create a USP for your business, let’s first identify what is NOT a good USP.

Examples of Poor USPs

•    We provide great customer service—Every company says they care about you, the customer. It’s a hollow statement that carries no weight with the consumer.

•   We’re #1 in our industry—Again, every company says they’re the best. It doesn’t provide a tangible benefit for the customer to grab onto.

The reason these USPs are ineffective is because they don’t answer the only question the consumer truly cares about: What’s in it for me? Your USP needs to let the customer know exactly how they will benefit from doing business with you.

Examples of Good USPs

•    Domino’s Pizza—You got 30 minutes—Back in the day, Domino’s used to say “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free.” Of course, this created a hazardous situation where delivery drivers were barreling through the streets at breakneck speeds to make sure the pizza got there in time. Despite the fact that the 30-minute delivery is no longer a guarantee, the current USP is still effective. When you’re ordering pizza, you want to know that it’s going to get to you quickly and on-time.

•    Burger King—Have it your way—This is another simple, highly effective USP. Burger King promises to let you customize your burger exactly the way you want it. It puts you in control, and it helps make certain that you get a product you enjoy.

•    RAID—Kills Bugs Dead—This USP works really well because it tells you exactly what the product does. You see “Kills Bugs Dead” and you know that if you buy Raid, you can get rid of those pesky bugs and roaches once and for all.

So, what do these great USPs have in common? First off, they’re all very simple and easy to understand. A good USP is clear and to the point. So, while it might be tempting to list everything you think your business does so well, you have to figure out a way to simplify it.

Most importantly, the other thing these USPs have in common is they answer the “What’s in it for me?” question that all consumers ask. So, above all else, when creating your USP, make certain it lets the consumer know what’s in it for them.


Questions to Ask when Creating Your USP

I’ll finish this post by leaving you with a few questions to ask yourself to help you create your USP.

1.    What do my products or services do?

2.    What do I offer that my competitors don’t?

3.    What unmet wants or needs does your target audience have?

4.    How exactly will your customers benefit by doing business with you? (needs to be a measurable, tangible benefit)

What’s your business’ USP? Share them with us in the replies.

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