A unique selling proposition is what gives your brand a personality and makes it different from others.
But unless you are lucky enough to operate in a market with few or no other direct competitors, it will take a bit more effort to create and pitch an outstanding unique selling proposition that is genuinely ‘one of a kind’.
So to help you get there, we have gathered 5 tips that will guide you through creating a killer USP.
A unique selling proposition is not a slogan or a headline
A common misconception is that a USP is equivalent to a catchy headline or a slogan. Think L’Oreal’s “Because you’re worth it” for example.
This couldn’t be furthest from the truth. A unique selling proposition is not a clever tagline created for advertising campaigns. These do nothing to clarify why a customer should buy from you or why you are better than your competition.
It is a clear explanation of what your company does, how it solves the user’s problem and what differentiates it from the competition.
A good headline statement or slogan can be a part of your overall USP, helping build your unique message to the world. But before you reach this point you need to do the following:
Define your target audience
A key component of crafting a successful USP is defining your target audience.
A lot of companies that are just starting off, make the mistake of trying to be a solution for everyone. But if you try to be appealing to everyone, you risk being generic and unmemorable.
Your USP should address your specific target audience directly – not your competitor’s audience or who you ‘think’ they should be. Research your audience demographics, habits and individual characteristics and narrow it down.
Another useful idea is reaching out to your audience through surveys or questionnaires to gain valuable insights. After all it is them you are trying to impress!
For example, take Kissmetrics. It has clearly defined its audience as the data driven marketer and therefore its USP is built around this specific target customer:
Explain how you can help
Once you have understood who your target customers are, talking to them becomes simpler. .
Your USP should convey how you can solve their problems and help them overcome the common hurdles they are facing. You need to explain this in a simple and straightforward manner.
Avoid using too much industry jargon and exaggerating statements – speak to your audience in their own words. All effective value propositions address their respective audiences using their customer’s “terms”. This is important in order for customers to identify with the product being offered and make a personal connection with your brand .
For example Basecamp clearly states how it will help its core audience (small businesses) overcome major pain points with its project management platform:
Convey your unique benefits
Your USP is your chance to make your product or service truly shine by stating its unique benefits. Pay attention though! You don’t need to go through every single benefit you provide to users. Just mention what matters the most.
What your value proposition needs is the “unique” factor. That could be a single feature or benefit that only you offer or what you do better than everyone else.
Your unique benefits are what will convince a potential customer to chose you over A or B alternative, it is what will make your users love you and advocate your product.
For example, take Toms “The one for one company”. Their shoes may well be stylish and original, but what puts the U in their USP is that they donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased! They have also expanded on this unique characteristic, creating a whole “tribe” as they call it – a community of people who are dedicated to giving back and making the world a better place.
Keep it simple and short
The average website visitor has a very low attention span, giving you about 10 seconds to convince him to stay on your page.
This is about how long it should take for someone to absorb your USP and understand it, or else you will be losing customers to competition.
You need to make an immediate impression on your visitors and grab their attention instantaneously! Create a compelling and concise unique selling proposition and optimize it through testing so you end up with a version that converts more users.
Don’t bore your visitors with mundane details or too much information, simply give them the essence of what you offer and why they should care.
If you are confused about what you should include in your USP, Kevin Keller’s POPs, PODs and POIs concept will help:
- Points Of Parity: Common features that make up both yours and your competitor’s product. Your audience need to know you have them but won’t choose you over them.
- Points Of Difference: The benefits that set your brand apart from the competition – what you need to focus on.
- Points Of Irrelevance: The complete list of your features and benefits that your users don’t really care about.
Display your USP prominently throughout your website
Your USP needs to be put on show on your website. It should be the first thing someone sees on your homepage.
Usually, a USP is made of the following parts:
- A headline and sub-header: Your headline is where you put your showstopper – your unique offering or benefit that will dazzle visitors. You then have a supporting sub-header where you can elaborate on what your product does and how it provides value to its target audience.
- A strong visual element: A good USP goes nowhere without some form of graphic element (eg hero image) or video to make its message clearer and stand out on the page.
- A list of major benefits: This is where you give your users the important benefits they will get from choosing your product and major features that shape it.
- A tagline or slogan: Often, a USP is accompanied by a powerful tagline that makes it more memorable and catchy.
What do you think makes a Unique Selling Proposition? Share your favourite examples with us!