Here’s a quote at the very core of your marketing: <Show Quote>
The more clearly you can state what you do, who you do it for, and how it’s better – the more people will seek you out.
Business success is about focus. Have it, and your odds of business succeeding are high. If you don’t, all the money and marketing efforts in the world will likely lead to a busted business.
Let’s break down that quote. It has three components:
- Your product or service
- Your target audience,
- What sets you apart from all the other offerings out there – or USP.
All three work together. As for the first two, you likely started your business with a product or service and sought an audience for it. But at some point – perhaps right from the beginning – you realized there are a lot of businesses offering similar products or services.
That’s where your USP – or Unique Selling Point – comes into play. You need to differentiate yourself from all the other businesses like yours. You need to communicate why a prospective client should choose you instead of somebody else.
Here are 10 ways to do that:
- Make a list of all your best features & benefits, then narrow it down to what is most unique – Start by making as complete a list as possible. Then cross out the ones that are common with you and your competitors. See if you can keep crossing off items until you’re down to the top 2 or 3 features & benefits that are unique to your business.
- Analyze your competitors, then compare your offerings to theirs – Eliminate the features & benefits that are the same. You’re looking for what’s unique. You can take it a step further and see if you can find a market gap – an opening for an offering the markets needs, but that isn’t being met yet.
- List the things about your product or service that your competitors cannot replicate – Do you have a proprietary formula or system that only you do? If so, and if it’s a key part of your product or service, that could be your USP and a way to differentiate your business.
- Determine the emotional need your product or service meets – We are somatically driven beings. We tend to buy a product or service based on how it makes us feel. What pain, desire or “itch” does your product or service fulfill? Does it reduce overwhelm, free up time or eliminate confusion? How does your solution make them feel?
- Ask your customers why they think your business is unique – It’s always good to get another perspective – especially if it’s from somebody already using your product or service! Ask them what they believe is unique about your product or service. Why did they choose you over other offerings?
- Analyze what’s working well with your best customers – They might be the ones who you enjoy working with the most. And they might also be the ones your product or service helps the most. What’s working so well with them. See if you can find your Unique Selling Point in there, then go find more customers just like them!
- Analyze your WORST customers! – It’s possible your worst customers can help you find your USP by showing you what doesn’t work – and where you shouldn’t go. Is there something you offer or do that is actually bringing you lousy customers? If so, cross those qualities off your list, fire those customers, and stop marketing to others like them!.
- Narrow down your target audience – “If you try being all things to everybody, you’ll end up being nothing to nobody.” If you’re having a hard time getting specific, perhaps you’re appealing to too broad of an audience. Drop in and feel what it’s like working with the best client you can imagine. Then describe that client in great detail. Once you’ve done that, determine what’s so special about working with them. What do you provide that is especially unique? That could be your USP
- List your strengths and weaknesses – This is especially true if you’re a consultant, coach or professional, but could also apply to your business if YOU are an integral part of it. It’s very likely that some combination of your strengths makes you unique. For example, perhaps you cost more, but you also provide better service and training.
- Use your personality and expertise – Very often your personality combined with your expertise can be what sets you apart. There may be a lot of people that have a similar expertise. But perhaps you have a capacity to explain or implement it better, or you’re also a great public speaker and can deliver the content in ways that the audience can understand.
Come up with a catchy tagline that defines your USP — Once you’ve narrowed down the list to one or two USPs, then it’s time to tie it altogether into a tagline that becomes your USP. But I’ll save that for another post.