Developing your USP

You’re unique, and we know it. No matter how crowded your field or industry is (hello to my business coaching people!) you are offering something different – yourself. But how do you tell especially jaded or over-advertised-to prospects that you’re not like the rest?

Your USP (Unique Sales Proposition) is your next-level elevator pitch. A few sentences that focus on what sets you apart rather than explaining what you do in general terms.

But what if you don’t know what makes you special? Or what if what makes you special isn’t an easy selling feature? To develop a USP, that is marketable (and might just make you work at a new level) there are several strategies you can use.

One is to focus on delivering greater value than your competition, such as emphasizing some benefit that your competitors aren’t highlighting. We’re not talking about running negative campaigns focused on what “the other guy” isn’t doing – we don’t think negativity builds community – but rather a focus on something you offer that no one else is marketing. That could be convenience (Book Online with No Waiting!), quality (Money Back Guarantee, but We Know You Won’t Return It!), extra costumer service (We Are Here to Walk You Through Every Step of Purchase and Setup!)

You get the point. Figure out the messages your competitors are sending and focus on a different area of value. And if you can’t find an area of value, then create one. Offer a 15 minute consultation, give away some or all of your knowledge, become the most convenient option for your ideal clients, go above and beyond in whatever way you know you can do consistently.

If your competitors are known for blowing deadlines, offering lower quality than you do, or using unethical production, sales, or marketing tactics, then highlight how you do the opposite without mentioning your competitor at all. We need to know you’re good, we don’t need to know you think others are bad.

marketing tips and design website designAnother is to offer better service than your competition. Similar to creating more value, which often means time or resources being spent without a direct return, offering better service than competitors is something you should be constantly striving for, and once you get it, it should definitely be part of your USP. If you’re a brick and mortar shop, either hire a secret shopper or go through the process of shopping with a competitor yourself. Look with a critical eye (we all tend to be less critical of others than we are of ourselves) and find the chinks in the armour. Are you asked to wait? Offer no waiting time. Do they offer 30 days money back? Offer 1 year. Choose to be the best in one particular area, and then let everyone know. Everyone. Constantly.

A third strategy is to focus on a target market that your competition is overlooking. We often look at ourselves as our best clients because we know ourselves best, but often there are hidden markets we don’t talk to because we don’t know them well. This can be as easy a trap to fall into as an aesthetician offering Botox® to 30somethings and overlooking 50 and 60 year old prospects because they don’t know how to talk to them. Your market is made up of segments and then boils down to niches. Once you figure out who no one is talking to, you can have a way easier conversation. Even if you find that the underserved form a more difficult segment or niche to crack (or to deal with) you can still become the provider of choice and build from there.

If you can’t see yourself and your business being able to dominate and separate in the three options above, a strong brand and strong psychometrics is your place to start. Once you can determine who you should be talking to and what your most important messages are, the rest often flows from there.