Competition is a natural part of any business venture. Knowing how to position yourself and what you sell in the best way can mean the difference between standing out and blending in.
This guide will help you find your unique selling point (USP) by covering the following:
- What a unique selling point is
- Why unique selling points are important
- How to create a clear and unique USP message
- Where you can communicate your USP
What is a unique selling point?
A unique selling point or unique selling proposition (USP) refers to what makes your product or service better than your competitors. Defining your USP also helps you focus your efforts on creating something that caters to your ideal group of customers.
USPs are usually a single sentence or ‘tagline’ that summarises the main benefits a business offers.
Why is a unique selling point important?
With so much choice out there, customers might struggle to set you apart from your competitors. It’s your job to help them by making your USP obvious and memorable enough to show them exactly what your business has to offer that others don’t. The clearer you are, the more likely it is that customers choose your brand.
On the other side of the coin, a USP also serves an important purpose internally since it forces you to think about your company’s strengths and mission. Running a successful business requires focus and dedication. Defining why you do what you do and what sets you apart from other companies allows you to focus on tasks that will help your business grow.
As a business owner, consider who your solution is for and create a plan for how you’ll tell your audience about it. Your USP is the reason your customer will buy from you, so it’s important to get it right.
How do I create a clear and unique USP?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all USP (because every business and industry is different), a good USP should always be:
- Confident: you can’t convince customers that your solution is great if you don’t believe in it yourself.
- Specific: a good USP says more than “we sell high-quality products”.
- Value-focused: communicate how you add value to customers.
- Expandible: While a slogan is great for communicating your USP, you should also be able to expand on it.
These criteria can serve as guidelines to help you construct an effective USP message. We’ve also listed some steps you can follow to help you find your USP:
Step 1: Make a list of your product’s strengths
A great way to start is to write down all the ways your brand and what you sell might be better than your competitors. Get specific, listing benefits of every product or service, your processes, customer service, vision, mission, and so on. List anything that comes to mind!
Step 2: Research your competitors
You can’t determine what sets you apart from your competitors if you don’t know anything about them. Do some research to find out who your competitors are and what they list as their USPs. Look for gaps in the market where you can position yourself and present your brand offer differently.
Products in the same category can be presented in various ways. For example, shoes can be durable, comfortable, fashionable, reasonably priced, exclusive, and so on.
Step 3: Consider your audience
Think about what your ideal customer might be looking for that’ll make them choose your company. What problems might they need you to solve? Think about your strengths and compare them to your audience’s needs. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you write a USP that will grab their attention.
Step 4: Add it all together
Next, you want to compile all the information you’ve gathered and use it to find your strongest USP. The ideal USP lists the benefits your ideal customers crave that your competitors don’t have.
Step 5: Apply it to your business
Once you’ve written your USP message, it’s time to think about how you can apply it to your business. When applied properly, you can weave your USP into different areas, from your brand name to your return policy. Highlight your USP wherever you can (without exaggerating) to reinforce the idea to your customers.
Where can I communicate my unique selling point?
How to best communicate your USP will depend on what method you choose to promote your business. Here are the most common methods companies tend to use:
- Advertising – both traditional and digital advertising methods can be an effective way to get your brand in front of your target audience. Make your USP punchy and to the point to grab potential customers’ attention.
- Social media – Social media is great for driving brand awareness for many companies. Being active on platforms your ideal customers use can be a way for you to communicate your USP.
- Content marketing – producing and publishing content can be an excellent way to communicate your USP. Cover topics that allow you to showcase your skills, professionalism, and expertise to demonstrate to customers why they should choose you.
- Website – the best place to put your USP is as the tagline on the top of your home page. You can also expand on your USP in a bulleted list on your product or service page.
- Search engines – Improving your website’s SEO (search engine optimisation) and ranking for key terms in search engines is another good way to get visibility and guide users to your website –– where your USP is the first thing they’ll see.
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