How to use a unique selling proposition

The unique selling proposition (USP) was first developed in order to help companies create better marketing campaigns. A USP helps businesses determine whether or not they stand out from the crowd and, if they do, why. If you already have a unique product or premise – like, say you’re the only supplier of fish-shaped hats in North America – then you’re ahead of the game. But if you’re one of many people selling kitchen appliances, what’s the reason that a customer chooses to buy your product instead of someone else’s? Is there something about your company that’s different from all other suppliers? And, if so, how do you get that uniqueness across to your clients?

In order to craft your business’s USP, take some time to think about your ideal customer. Don’t just have a vague idea about your general audience, decide exactly whom you want to be selling to and why. Ask yourself what your perfect client truly wants and likes and what influences their buying decisions. Why do they choose you over competitors? Most importantly, how does your service or products solve their problems?

Once you’ve figured out who your ideal customers are and what problems their problems are, you can personalise your business’s marketing campaign to directly target these customers. Let them know that you understand them and can help them with whatever their problem is. Some businesses do this by making their customers an unbeatable guarantee, such as FedEx’s “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” or Saddleback Leather’s 100 year warrantee, which they suggest you mention in your will because “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead”. This kind of over-the-top guarantee will help your business stand out from the crowd.

Others do this by appealing to their customers’ aesthetic, such as Mast Chocolate. Mast is a chocolate company run by two brothers who make every bar themselves, dress like they’re from the 19th century, and ship their supplies by sailboat. While there are a million chocolate bar manufacturers, there aren’t any that can claim that kind of dedication and craftsmanship, which makes Mast Chocolate one of a kind – it also means they can charge a premium for their products.

After you’ve decided on your USP, formulate it into a quick and catchy tagline that you can use to brand your company – an elevator pitch, if you will. Going back to Saddleback Leather, their “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead” is a great example of a perfect tagline. It’s short, it’s attention-grabbing, and it sums up their product all in less than ten words. Your tagline should aim to do all that as well.

Finally, once you have a tagline that sums up your USP, use it (and everything else you’ve learned about your perfect client along the way) as the basis for an unbeatable marketing campaign. Because, at the end of the day, that’s the main goal of a USP: to make your business irresistible.

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