What sets your brand apart in the marketplace?
Your unique selling proposition (USP) also referred to as a unique value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage as a small business. It clearly articulates why someone should want to buy from you. It’s the #1 thing that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or service or hit the back button. Your unique value proposition should be the foundation of your company’s brand promise. It’s also essential to keep your message consistent across every aspect of your online presence. The most compelling value propositions are those that are concise, highlight quantifiable outcomes and clearly distinguishes the value the seller is offering over the competition. Many small business owners set themselves up for failure, by never truly articulating a compelling value proposition. But you must establish a substantive unique selling proposition if you want go from idea to successful business.
When developing your unique selling proposition answer these questions:
What are you good at?
What is your target customer’s biggest challenge?
What solution are you offering?
How are you better that your top 3 competitors?
- What are you good at?
What Is your magical power or signature service in your business? What do you do better than your competitors? What are your core services? Being able to identify what your company does, and how you’re different from the competition gives you the foundation to develop your unique selling proposition. Be careful as you craft this message, as it’s not a simple a tagline in the header of your website. Whatever your claim is, you must be able to back it up. It’s your brand promise. Also everyone in your company should know what it is and be able to articulate it on demand.
- Identify your target customer’s pain
All marketing starts with identifying your best target customer. You must be able to sell your product or service to a specific audience, otherwise it will simply cost too much to promote it. In order to close a sale, you need to develop a detailed customer profile. To do that you must know your customer’s needs and how you can solve their problems. Focus on learning what keeps them up at night.
- What is your solution set?
It’s not about what you sell, it’s about how long, how quickly or how cheaply it solves the problem. As you think about what you sell, it’s always dangerous to lead with facts and figures about your product or service. Because no one cares about that. But if you are marketing with benefits and stories, you will make some sales, there are folks who love a good story. But product sell themselves when your marketing talks about your products and service with a mix of benefits, results, and stories. That’s when your USP is so compelling that your target audience will pay anything to have what you are selling.
Design a selling proposition around your customers’ needs and drill down your key benefits on whether your USP is cheaper, better or faster. For example, you might hear common complaints among customers. Use your USP as a counterpoint. If your customer is concerned about pricing you can say, “Yes, our rates are high for the industry, but we offer better tech support than any other provider.”
- How to leap over competition?
In order you really have a strong USP, you must know your top competitors and what their USP is so that you can position your business against it. No one is looking for a “me too” brand, so you better be talking about something different. Differentiation is one or more factors that make your business unique in your industry. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, it’s simple to understand, but difficult to execute. In short, it’s the answer to why do people do business with you. You must know your unique factors to stand out in the marketplace. You need to be able to describe your target customer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the competition. Additionally, you might need more than one USP. For instance, many brands choose differentiators for their brands, their products, and even their hiring efforts.
While this might seem to fall into the domain of Fortune 500 companies, it’s actually more valuable for small businesses. Since you’re competing against larger brands, you need differentiation that will steer consumers in your direction.
For example, if you want speed to serve as your differentiator. Your signature service will be that you get the product to market or to the consumer faster than the competition. In the era of Amazon prime, this will be tough if you are a retailer, but it’s a worthy goal. Perhaps you’re not there yet, but once you know your goal, you can adjust your supply chain to get your speed where you want it to be. Once you’re known for a particular USP, consumers will grow to know you by it. You essentially become synonymous with the differentiating factor, which means that your competition will quickly fall behind.
Don’t forget that the most important factor in your USP is YOU! Do not lose site of the fact that you are the core of your business and it’s signature service or delivery. Don’t chase the competition, lead the competition with your unique selling proposition. Stay true to your core principles, train your staff to keep your brand promise and your business will stand out.
No company is born with a USP or differentiating factor. You must create, nurture, and propagate it if you want to reap the benefits. For more insights into small business strategies, sign up for my weekly newsletter. I’d love for you to join our community and use my experience to grow your business.