A Quick Guide to A Unique Selling Position — The Backbone of All Marketing Efforts

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There’s one thing you must do before you create an ad for your business, draft a script for your sales team, or write one word of copy on your website.

This one step is the backbone of every single piece of your online AND offline marketing.

Not having a universal and compelling message for your business is like driving into an 8-mile, long and windy tunnel with your headlines turned off.

To make sure you stay on target, get significantly positive results from your ad campaigns, and have a team that increases conversions in all parts of your business, you need a unique selling position (USP).

A well-thought-out USP allows your…

–    Sales team to know exactly what to say to generate interest during calls.

–    Customer service department to best communicate your company’s strengths.

–    Website to generate leads and sell products and services.

–    Offline marketing efforts to get attention, fill seats, and make the phone ring.

–    Entire business to stand out and attract more customers than your competition.

Is a USP a “magic wand” for your company?

Not quite!

But a USP will communicate the main benefit you provide to your market, and show your past, current, and prospective customers why you’re the better option over other businesses in your industry.

Now you might be confused about what a USP is.

Let’s set the record straight here, once and for all:

A Unique Selling Position Is NOT a Slogan

A slogan is a catchy phrase that is indirect and non-specific. The problem with slogans is they often can attach themselves to any business in any market.

For example, let’s look at a typical slogan:

“You Deserve Quality, So We Deliver Results”

 You see the problem with that, right?

The slogan doesn’t communicate anything beneficial to the prospect, nor does it speak to a target market. “You Deserve Quality, So We Deliver Results” could be a slogan for a mechanic, grocery store, yoga studio, or casino — it’s way too vague!

On the other hand, a USP is a summary of what you offer to your market that no one else offers.

Crafting a USP takes an investment of time and resources to figure out why your customers come to you. It also means having a clear understanding of what special benefit you provide for people who buy from you.

Most companies lack a USP because it’s hard to examine your own business. Why? Because there is too much emotional attachment to what you do. As a copywriter, I can write a 2,000-word story about someone I just met. But ask me to write about myself, and I’m lucky to end up with 250 words after an hour.

Consider consulting with a professional marketing company when writing your USP. The benefits are worth it. When you can communicate what you do in a clear and compelling way, you will attract customers.

If you’re already thinking about your USP, you might be wondering how long it should be…

The Unwritten Rules of a USP

There are no “set in stone” rules when it comes to USPs, but there are some guidelines you should follow.

We call them unwritten rules because, at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you.

Use these quick tips to find your USP:

–    The 90-word rule. Try to keep your USP under 90 words. If you find yourself writing more, your USP is likely not as specific it you could be.

–    The short and long rule. It’s likely you’ll need a long USP for phone calls and internal use, and a short USP for headlines and other quick attention-grabbing messages. It’s okay to do both.

–    The nothing’s permanent rule. Over time, your USP will change. This is just how the market works. You may have something unique to offer, but over time your competition will catch on and also offer similar benefits as you (which is one of the reasons why “Free Shipping” is now more common).

Your USP is the most important thing when it comes to marketing. Having a USP means you have “fuel” for your marketing efforts. It lets you turn your messages from…

“We’re the best!”


“We’re the best because we offer [something really awesome]. And because we value you as a customer, we make sure we [do something else awesome] every time your order. No other business does this (we checked).”

As you can see, backing up your business with a “reason why” makes a sales message much more appealing. Your customers don’t care about you as much as they care about themselves (sorry!).

You’re wired for survival. When you examine an opportunity, you’re looking at what’s in it for you. Your customer does the same thing. They want to know how they can benefit from your business. With a USP, you will get more business.

It’s that simple.

If you want help creating a Unique Selling Position that gets you more business, let us know.

Photo Credit: nickwheeleroz

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