Find Your USP and Use It to Leap Ahead of the CompetitionTuesday, September 30th, 2008
Message from Michelle
I just returned from an awesome conference in Miami, where I attended the Inner Game of Abundance Mindset Retreat with Fabienne Fredrickson and David Neagle. Needless to say, I’m high on life right now and excited for the future. Already, I’ve begun implementing changes and systems to reflect the vision I have for the future of my company.
It’s impossible to move forward if you don’t know where you’ve come from and where you are now. As I’ve been reevaluating my company, I’ve had to go back to the basics. Specifically, what makes my company unique? What makes my business stand out from the competition? Answering this in detail is so important because, if you can’t answer it, neither can your customers.
In this issue of Your Business Marketing Solution, we take a look at the importance of defining your unique selling proposition (USP) and why it’s essential if you want to grow your business.
Find Your USP and Use It to Leap Ahead of the Competition
Competition. It’s inevitable, but not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, competition can push you to make your products better than they would be otherwise. Have you ever looked around and noticed it seems as if other businesses in your market are doing the same things you are to attract customers–the same type of advertising, the same type of deals, aimed at the same people?
How can you stand out? By having a USP.
A UniqueSelling Proposition (USP) is a short statement explaining how your company or product differs from your competitors’. It informs prospective and current clients why your product or service is the best option.
Many businesses fail to establish a USP, just as they fail to pinpoint their target market. These companies don’t recognize that customers want and need to be led down the sales path. Therefore, they don’t clearly state what makes them distinctive, so customers aren’t motivated to buy from them.
You must communicate a specific, compelling reason for customers to buy from you. If you don’t, you’re just another puppy in the window, jumping around pleading, “Pick me!”
Without a USP, your marketing and advertising will not be as effective as it could and should be. And you are leaving money on the table.
The first step in identifying a USP is to research your competition. Unless you know what else is out there, you cannot properly evaluate or showcase a USP. If you haven’t already, plan to research as soon as possible.
Study the competition’s website and marketing materials, noting each company’s history and mission, product features and benefits, and target market. Why do customers buy from them and what does the market want that they do not or cannot provide? Note gaps in their product or service offerings. If you have difficulty clarifying benefits, list the features and why a prospect requires or desires them. Those reasons are benefits.
The second step is to list and describe the major benefits of your product. Remember, your customer cares about his or her problem and how you can solve it. Pay attention to those benefits that appear distinctive or stronger than the competition’s.
Ask yourself, how will your product or service solve the client’s problem and does it satisfy the market gaps you identified? You should see a unique set of benefits for your product. If you don’t, think about what you could change to make these benefits clearly stand out.
It’s important to remember that you aren’t limited to a single benefit. Try to focus on one or two primary advantages at first. Chances are good your competition hasn’t thought about its USP, which gives you the opportunity to position your company as the solution provider.
You will want to differentiate yourself as much as possible; however, a USP claim must be truthful. Faking or exaggerating a USP will harm your sales and reputation and could cause serious legal or regulatory repercussions.
Communicate your USP far and wide–articles, brochures, press releases–and update your marketing materials as soon as possible. Also, train your sales staff in your USP and how they can successfully deliver your message to clients and prospects.
Want to see more marketing articles like this one? Visit Michelle’s blog, Sumer Blog.
Tip of the Month
The following 6 ideas may help you discover or refine your USP.
Could you decrease prices and be known as the lowest-cost provider? Or increase prices and gain high-end customers?
Pricing and value are two different things. Would adding accessories, related merchandise, or free shipping enhance value?
Is the customer able to compare apples to apples? Does your product or service have integrated features that the competition charges extra for (or vice versa)?
Do you have a superior selection? If not, is it possible to offer additional colors, larger sizes, or personalization?
Can you provide a more comprehensive guarantee or longer warranty?
Companies often focus on sales and ignore service, but customers value premium support. Is your service world-class? If not, make it so.
I want to give you a heads-up about my FREE teleseminar that will happen in November that will skyrocket your online company growth. In this call, I’ll show you proven strategies you can implement now to drive website traffic and increase sales quickly and with ease. I’ll be sending more detailed information about the teleseminar in the weeks to come.
Also, over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you more about how you can make 2009 the most profitable year, using your website to generate clients and cash without spending a fortune. You’ll be the first to know about my upcoming teleseminars and workshops on marketing your business online. So stay tuned!
Michelle Salater is an award-winning writer and owner of Michelle Salater Writing & Editorial, LLC, a copywriting company dedicated to helping small to midsized businesses increase their competitive edge, boost sales, and expand their online presence through stellar copy.
Michelle’s clients benefit from her seven-year experience as a freelance writer and her dedication to each client’s success. With an understanding of the business world, marketing strategies, SEO copywriting, and magazine publication, she offers a variety of copywriting services that address each client’s marketing needs. Her goal is to provide result-oriented copy, including web copy, SEO copywriting, ezines and newsletters, online articles, along with other marketing materials such as brochures, press releases, and ebooks.
Michelle resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with Mama Mia, a gorgeous dog she rescued from St. John, US Virgin Islands. She can be contacted at www.mlsalater.com/contact.cfm or 843-364-2401.