Caffeine refers to an addictive essential of certain kind of drugs. In this context, it connotes an ingredient that gets clients addicted to you, your business, it is that core in your offering, perhaps as a core value, USP, or drive that makes customers not get enough.
In business what are the essential values you need to possess to get your customers excited when they have you and in turn gets them very addicted?
A unique selling proposition, defines your company’s unique position in the marketplace, is an often overlooked but very important element of creating a business that customers love.
A strong unique selling proposition lets you to stand apart from competitors and actively focus your energy on creating things that cater to your ideal group of customers.
As Seth Godin put it:
Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”
HOW TO CREATE YOUR “UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION” (USP)
In our highly competitive world, you have to be unique and fill a special niche to be successful in the marketplace. Yet one of the most harmful mistakes small businesses make is not being unique and positioning themselves as the best choice in the market. How do you show that your product or service is the best?
Use a Unique Selling Proposition or “USP”. Having a USP will dramatically improve the positioning and marketability of your company and products by accomplishing 3 things for you:
1. Unique – It clearly sets you apart from your competition, positioning you the more logical choice.
2. Selling – It persuades another to exchange money for a product or service.
3. Proposition – It is a proposal or offer suggested for acceptance.
THE FORCE THAT DRIVES YOUR BUSINESS AND SALES SUCCESS
Your USP is the force that drives your business and success. It can also be used as a “branding” tool that deploys strategy with every tactical marketing effort you use such as an ad, a postcard, or web site. This allows you to build a lasting reputation while you’re making sales. The ultimate goal of your USP and marketing is to have people say to you… “Oh, yes I’ve heard of you. You’re the company who…” – And then respond by requesting more information or purchasing.
CREATING A UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION THAT WORKS
When it comes to developing a unique point of difference for your business, it’s impossible to give one-size-fits-all advice. That said there are certainly some best practices that work across marketplaces and that any business owner can apply to make their unique selling proposition worthwhile.
Below is a list of companies with unique selling propositions. Some good current examples of products with a clear USP are:
Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free.”
FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”
M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
Metropolitan Life: “Get Met. It Pays.”
Southwest Airlines: “We are the low-fare airline.”
Saddleback Leather: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”
TOMS Shoes: The most unique and compelling part of the TOMS Shoes story is that they give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you purchase.
STEPS TO HELP IDENTIFY YOUR USP
Here’s a simple exercise to help you identify your USP:
-Gather together a couple of people from your team, or who know something about your business.
-Put yourselves in the shoes of others in your industry, especially your prospective customers.
-Pinpoint the types of things these others might say about the products, services and companies in your industry. Don’t hold back – include stereotypes and globalism – sometimes even funny ones will help.
-Make a long list.
-Step back into your own shoes.
Now, read your list. What makes YOU or your company different?
Select the most compelling ones that you honestly come by and incorporate them into your marketing program.
WAYS TO USE THESE USP’S:
- Sound-bites or elevator speeches
- Marketing messages
- Value Propositions
- Press Releases
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)
Your USP is the very essence of what you are offering. Your USP needs to be so compelling that it can be used as a headline that sells your product or service. Therefore, since you want to optimize all your marketing materials for maximum results, create it before anything else (such as advertisements and marketing copy). Follow this easy 7-step process:
Step 1: Use Your Biggest Benefits:
Clearly describe the 3 biggest benefits of owning your product or service. Let me be blunt. Your prospect doesn’t care if you offer the best quality, service, or price. You have to explain exactly WHY that is important to them. Think in terms of what your business does for your customer and the end-result they desire from a product or service like yours.
So, what are the 3 biggest benefits you offer? Write them down on a piece of paper…
Step 2: Be Unique:
The key here is to be unique. Basically, your USP separates you from the competition, sets up a “buying criteria” that illustrates your company is the most logical choice, and makes your product or service the “gotta have” item. (Not your competitor’s.) Write your USP so it creates desire and urgency. Your USP can be stated in your product itself, in your offer, or in your guarantee:
-PRODUCT: “A unique baseball swing that will instantly force you to hit like a pro.”
-OFFER: “You can learn this simple technique that makes you hit like a pro in just 10 minutes of batting practice.”
-GUARANTEE: “If you don’t hit like a pro baseball player the first time you use this new swing, we’ll refund your money.”
Step 3: Solve an Industry “Pain Point” Or “Performance Gap”:
Identify which needs are going unfulfilled within either your industry or your local market. The need or “gap” that exists between the current situation and the desired objectives is sometimes termed a “performance gap “. Many businesses that base their USP on industry performance gaps are successful.
For example, Dominos Pizza used the “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free” USP to become wildly successful. This worked because of the need or “gap” in the market – After a long day at work Mom and Dad are too tired to cook. But the kids are starving and don’t want to wait an hour! They want pizza NOW. Call Domino’s.
So, what are the most frustrating things your customer experiences when working with you or your industry in general? Alleviate that “PAIN” in your USP and make sure you deliver on your promises. Write your ideas on paper now…
Step 4: Be Specific and Offer Proof:
Consumers are skeptical of advertising claims companies make. So alleviate their skepticism by being specific and offering proof when possible. Write your ideas on paper now…
Step 5: Condense Into One Clear And Concise Sentence:
The most powerful USPs are so perfectly written, you cannot change or move even a single word. Each word earns you money by selling your product or service. After you get your USP written, your advertising and marketing copy will practically write itself!
Now take all the details about your product/service/offer from the steps above and sculpt them into one clear and concise sentence with compelling salesmanship fused into every single word. Write your ideas on paper now…
Step 6: Integrate Your USP Into ALL Marketing Materials:
Variations of your USP will be included in the ALL your marketing materials such as your…
-Advertising and sales copy headlines;
-Business cards, brochures, flyers, & signs;
-Your “elevator pitch”, phone, and sales scripts;
Letterhead, letters, & postcards;
Website & Internet marketing.
Step 7: Deliver On Your USP’s Promise
Be bold when developing your USP but be careful to ensure that you can deliver. Your USP should have promises and guarantees that capture your audience’s attention and compels them to respond to you. Having a strong USP can make your business a big success or a big failure if you don’t deliver on it thereby ruining your reputation. In the beginning, it was a challenge for Federal Express to absolutely, positively deliver overnight, but they developed the system that allowed them to deliver the promise consistently.
1. “A USP is a Deep Seeded Identity Check to see how well you understand your customer, your business, and the position of your business within the market in which you’re competing.”- Marketing Guru Al Robinson
2. In Short, A USP is a very special way to answer the question…What do you do for a living?- Dalton McCrary
Strategy. Business StartUps and Corporate Restructuring Consulting
Uwaoma Eizu is the lead strategist at Hexavia! He is a graduate of Mathematics with two MBAs and over a decade of experience working with startups and big businesses. His core is in building startups and in corporate restructuring. He is also a certified member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the Project Management Institute, USA. By the side, he writes weekly for the Business Day newspaper.