It’s Marketing 101 and Advanced Marketing Theory all rolled into one. From the time you decide to engage in online marketing of any type, you’ll begin hearing about the unique selling proposition (USP) and just how vital it is to understand and communicate.
While the concept can seem overly elementary, there are multiple fundamental steps that go into creating a unique selling proposition designed to attract the right customers to your business.
What Is A USP?
Think of your unique selling proposition (USP) as a declaration. The clinical unique selling proposition definition (according to Entrepreneur.com’s encyclopedia) is:
What is your USP? It’s the answer to your customer’s question: “Why should I buy from you instead of all the other options I have?”
How To Write Your USP Following Unique Selling Proposition Examples
My best advice when writing your USP is to visit your local drugstore (chemist’s or pharmacy if you’re in the UK), and shop for a while.
Why did you choose the toothpaste you use? Were you looking for whiter teeth? Fresher breath? Help with sensitivity? Tartar control? It’s pretty unlikely you just walked down the aisle at the store and swiped one off the shelf without thinking. There is almost always a reason for using a particular toothpaste because each one carefully broadcasts why you should buy theirs right on the side of the box.
This is an exceptional way to gather real-life unique selling proposition examples.
While there are now a couple of toothpastes that offer to do it all, most profess a single, unique selling proposition (USP). They do one thing and they do it very well. It makes it extremely easy for people to choose the right one for them.
Take note — that’s also all it takes when you’re creating a USP: ONE way you’re different from or better than your competition. Not a dozen ways, not four ways… just one.
A Single USP?
Most of us are used to discussions about creating a USP for our companies or websites. And it’s true, you need one of those. But recognizing a single USP isn’t the stopping point. Actually, you need a unique selling proposition for *every* site… in fact, for *every* offer.
What makes this new site different or better? How about that product you’re getting ready to launch next month? What makes it different from or better than what currently exists on the market?
You need to consider all of this before you move on to writing the first word of copy. Otherwise, how can you possibly communicate with your customers that you’re the obvious choice for them?
Not A Slogan — A Guidepost
Contrary to popular belief, your unique selling proposition is not the same thing as your slogan or tag line. It’s not a short, catchy little ditty that people will easily remember. Instead, think of it more like a guidepost.
Developing your unique selling proposition is an exercise for your use rather than your customers’. It’s a measuring stick of sorts. It outlines specifically how you are different and/or better, what you’ll offer, how, why, etc. Instead of a one- or two-sentence blurb, it might be several sentences long.
Is Your USP Strong Enough?
Let’s take a look at a couple of USPs and see just how they measure up.
According to Marketing Experiments, “The force of a value proposition can be measured by four essential elements of the offer:”
- Appeal – How much do I desire this offer?
- Exclusivity – Where else can I get this offer?
- Credibility – Can I trust your claims?
- Clarity – What are you actually offering?
The goal is to craft a USP that gets high marks in all four categories.
Put It To The Test
Considering what we’ve talked about above, let’s put a few USPs to the test and see how they come out.
#1: Helping small-business owners get started on the right foot.
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- Appeal? Kind of ordinary. Lots of businesses and/or product offers say this same thing.
- Credibility? There is nothing here that leaps out at me and screams, “These people/this offer is credible!”
- Clarity? So-so. You’re dealing with small businesses, but what, exactly, are you/your product specifically helping them start with? Setting up a 401K? Choosing an insurance program? Developing a website? Could be anything.
What might be better? Something like:
Helping small businesses 1 to 3 years old identify, analyze, and choose a
401k plan using our one-of-a-kind investment calculator.
#2: Making great-tasting ice cream snacks for dessert lovers who know that looking good and staying healthy doesn’t mean a life without indulgence.
- Appeal? It has great emotional appeal in my opinion. (Looking good, staying healthy, indulgence.)
- Exclusivity? Pretty good. There are only a few companies that this USP could fit well with.
- Credibility? Nothing particularly stands out.
- Clarity? Very clear!
Unique Selling Proposition Examples
If you need a bit more inspiration, you can go beyond your toothpaste shopping experience. Check out these companies for original unique selling proposition examples.
Notice this statement on their site isn’t a slogan. It’s a short bit of copy that clarifies what they stand for and offers customers a reason to choose them over Fruit of the Loom or other socks.
By matching customer purchases, Bombas is donating millions of pairs of socks and/or T-shirts every year. Those who shop at this site understand they are getting socks of enormous quality and helping provide clothing for the underprivileged.
The entire Tractor Supply website backs up its slogan, “Life Out Here.” Site visitors can quickly determine their unique selling proposition by looking at the categories they cover: all things dealing with outdoors.
Panera Bread went on a tangent a few years ago and promised America it would only offer clean food in its restaurants. Their “food as it should be” USP helps support the fundamental premise of Panera Bread… to only offer food which is clean, nutrient-rich, and raised responsibly.
Give it some thought — then ask some people for their opinions. Your testimonials, surveys, and other such info are great sources for discovering what other people think your USP is.
Don’t have any ideas or testimonials to draw from? Then just ask your existing customers what they feel your single best attribute is, and why. It will certainly give you a jumping-off point for USP creation as well as some great insight into your customer base.
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Have questions about developing your unique selling proposition? Talk to me below!
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