Unique Selling Proposition (© Ivelin Radkov / Fotolia.com)
A unique selling proposition (abbreviated USP and also referred to as a unique selling point) is a marketing concept in which a business highlights the unique benefits that its products or services offer customers, and why those products or services are better than a competitors. USP can help businesses establish their credibility, increase brand awareness, and boost their sales.
In this article, we will provide a more detailed explanation of USP.
Even if you have a unique business and you offer excellent products and services, chances are that you still have competition. There are so many businesses out there, and there’s no doubt that there are several that sell items that are similar to yours. That means that your target audience has a lot of options to choose from. How can you make sure that they will purchase your products and services over your competitors? You can do so by creating a USP.
What is an Unique Selling Proposition?
A unique selling proposition (also known as a unique selling point) is the factor or consideration that business owners offer potential customers as the reason why the products or services that they offer are different and better than the products or services that are offered by their competitors.
In other words, a USP is what your business stands for; what sets you (and the products and services that you offer) apart from other businesses and the products (and the products and services that they offer. It’s what makes your business stand out in the crowd; the defining factor or unique characteristic of a company. If a USP is effective, it will become what a business is known for.
A unique selling point should be a vital tool used in all aspects of all marketing campaigns
, including social media marketing, mail marketing
, and so on. It’s particularly important for small businesses
that can easily become lost and not visible to consumers in a sea
of large businesses.
Unique Selling Propositions that Differentiate a Business
Businesses want to offer the best products and services to their potential customers. In order to do that, business owners need to determine what it is that sets what they offer apart from the crowd; why their products and services – and their business, on a whole – is better than what any other company offers. In short, a USP can help to bolster the buying decisions of potential customers.
There are three unique selling propositions that business owners can take advantage of to boost their success. These include:
- Products and services. A USP can help to establish a company’s claim that their products or services are absolutely, positively better than the products and services that their competitors provide. For instance, an organization that sells antique home furnishings can differentiate itself from the competition because they offer items that are unique and consumers won’t be able to find anywhere else. In this case, a business would want to establish that the items they offer are high-quality and one-of-a-kind.
- Prices. Cost is a major factor that consumers take into consideration before they purchase something. As such, prices can be used as a selling point to comparison shoppers. A USP that focuses on prices should highlight the affordable prices that they offer without discounting the quality of their products or services; they should emphasize the value of the items that they offer. This type of USP would appeal to shoppers who are interested in spending less. With this type of USB, the target would be affordability.
- Customer service. Many shoppers seek peace of mind and reliability before they make a purchase. Though the benefits and uniqueness of a product or service, as well as the price, will certainly play a role in their purchasing decisions, excellent customer service can really encourage them to proceed with their purchase. Some examples of excellent customer service that can be used in a USB include return policies, offering support after products or services have been bought, and providing reputable and useful resources. A customer service based unique selling point offers buyers reassurance and lets them know that no matter what happens, they will be taken care of.
How to Define a Unique Selling Proposition and Use it to Your Benefit
By identifying your USP, you can fully take advantage of it and boost the success of your business. Below, you’ll find some tips that will help you determine what your USP is and how to use it.
- Think like your target audience. It’s not uncommon for business owners to be completely smitten with the products or services that they offer and overlook the fact that it is the needs of their customers that they need to satisfy. It’s important to think like your customers. If you own a business that offers a specific service, such as accounting services, obviously, your customers want to know that you offer the best options possible. But is that all they want? Is there anything that you do (other than offering expert accounting services) that would make them want to keep working with you? For example, you might be able to offer them convenience, courtesy, exceptional customer service, and friendliness.
- Find out what encourages the behavior of your audience and influences their buying decisions. In order to be successful, you have to find out what motivates and drives your customers. Look beyond the traditional demographics that business owners often use to analyze the trends of their customers (age, gender, income, location, etc) and think about what it is that motivates them and influences their buying decisions. For the accounting business example, it’s not enough to know that a large percentage of your clients are between the ages of 30 and 50; you also have to take a look at what motivates them to use accounting services – reliability, convenience, etc.
- Discover the real reason why consumers purchase your products or service over the competition. Come right out and ask your customers why they prefer your business and the products or services you offer instead of other businesses. For instance, the accounting business owner could ask his clients why they prefer doing business with him instead of someone else, as well as ask them to rate his performance in regard to the features he provides, such as speed of service, convenience, friendliness, customer service, etc.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you just opened your first business or you have been around for a while, identifying your USP and using it to your advantage can help to grow your business and significantly improve its success.