Your Business’s Unique Selling Proposition: Why It’s Important, and How to Develop It (Part 2)
A unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes your business stand out from the crowd in your industry. In the first part of this series, we discussed why you need a unique selling proposition. But now that you know how important it is to have a USP, how can you develop it? The task may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. A USP gives you a point of focus, a way to connect with customers, and a defining characteristic of your business, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is find a gap in the market, and fill it! Here are some tips for developing the USP that will help you grow and succeed.
Answer Some Basic Questions
To get started, you’ll want to get back to the basics and do some brainstorming. Ask yourself some questions. What does your company do, and who do you serve? What can you offer your customers? What are your customers consumption habits? Then, move on to more complex questions. What are your organizational values? Why did you start your company? What compelled you to join your industry? Did you see a need for a service that was not being offered elsewhere? Write down the answers to these questions, and make sure you’re confident in your brand and vision before you continue.
Identify Your Target Market
Just as important as figuring out your business’s USP is figuring out what makes your customers unique. In this stage, the first step is to always conduct market research! Who are you targeting? What are their gender, age, lifestyle, and “pain points” (problems that frustrate, irritate, or inconvenience them). You can’t sell to everyone, and your USP should be based around the needs of your primary market. Cater to your ideal customers, whether they’re a busy mom, MBA students or teens, they’re the market you want to serve most! You don’t have to alienate other potential customers (or non-customers), but it makes sense to tailor your business to solve the pain points of your ideal customers.
Figure Out Which Problems You Solve
What do you offer your customers? What problems do you solve for them, or what do you deliver that makes them happy? This question is at the core of your business, and should always be the first thing you describe when you talk about your business. Think hard—are there other problems your customers have that your company can solve? Is there something else you can offer that puts you over the top for your ideal customers?
What Makes You Better…and Unique?
Did you invent a new technology that’s faster than anything on the market? Are you offering better service, faster service, or better value than any of your competitors? Differentiators like lower pricing don’t qualify as USP because they’re controlled by market variables and don’t make your company unique. Go beyond these features and think about memorable solutions that can inspire loyalty—and make a promise to deliver that experience. A USP really does need to be unique and different from the competition, because uniqueness will almost always attract more attention than simply being the “best”. Take the example of Apple—they offer a couple of unique benefits to their customers: a different operating system than the majority of computers in the world, and a sleek appearance that serves as a status symbol. There are so many examples of USPs that work—you just have to get creative and find your own.
Final Steps: Write it Down
Once you’ve done the exhaustive work of developing a USP, it’s time to write it down, and create an “elevator pitch” around it that you can use when discussing your company with others. It may feel a little silly, but writing down a USP statement will help you keep your competitive advantage at the front of your mind—and your team’s mind. By defining the USP on paper, it will help all departments converge around that goal (even if the only department is you at this point!). It will also help you improve your branding, drive marketing strategy, and help you plan your goals. Once you’ve figured out your USP, writing it down is easy—so just get it out of the way and start embodying your business’s unique values!
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