Why Should Customers Choose You? : Defining Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

Scaling / July 13, 2016 / Kristie

One of the challenges of getting new customers is standing out from your competition. In a sea of other designers, photographers, lawyers, real estate agents, or consultants, how do you get people to choose you over them?

When it comes to acquiring new business, celebrating what makes you different is one way to get noticed and engage your customer. This is done by defining and leveraging your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”

–Coco Chanel

Illustration shows a green background with a circle shape in the centre. Inside the circle, three hands holding different coloured credit cards towards the word "unique".

What is a USP?

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. It’s what sets your business apart you from others in the same market. To a potential customer scanning your website or hearing a sales pitch, what can you tell them about your products or services that makes them unique and irreplaceable?

Perhaps it’s the level of customer service and attention you provide about others. Or maybe it’s that your prices can’t be beat. It could be that your competitors “do it all” while you, on the other hand, specialize in a very niche market, and therefore know the needs and wants of your clients that much better than anyone else.

To up your gain against competitors, define your unique selling proposition and leverage it in your marketing efforts. Make it crystal clear to potential customers what makes your business different. Why should they consider your services and/or products from others on the market?

How to define your USP

For some business owners, defining your unique selling proposition is easy because it’s what triggered your business in the first place. You saw a hole in the market and you set out to fill it.

For other entrepreneurs and business owners, defining your unique selling proposition is more difficult and requires some deep thinking. If this is the case, start with researching your competitors. Who are other options your customers could go to? What are they doing? What are they not doing? What are you doing that’s different?

Most unique selling propositions are built around one of the three categories : quality, cost, or service.

Avoid the mistake of trying to do everything. Focus on one thing you do really, really well and dig into what that means for your customers. How do you provide better quality, cost, or better service to your customers? Why is that so important to your business? Why is it important to your customers? What are the measures you take that no one else in the business does?

Some businesses sell bargains, others sell luxury. Some businesses sell speed, while others sell family-tight relationships.

Here are a few examples:

Starbucks’ unique selling proposition is service through personalization. They have a crazy number of different options to make your coffee yours. They even write your name on your coffee – even though it’s usually no where near the correct spelling. Their employees are especially friendly and make you feel special instead of just another customer in line.

Dominos’ unique selling proposition is speed and they put it right in their slogan – “30 seconds or it’s free”. They know their customer is all about speed. Any time I get hangry and I’m craving pizza, you bet I’m calling Dominos because that pizza will get to my door faster than anyone else.

Toms took a unique approach to their USP. Their unique selling proposition is built around improving lives by helping not only their customers, but also those in need. For every shoe they sell, they donate one.

If you’re still struggling to figure out your unique selling promotion, ask your customers. Why do they come to you instead of others? Why do their like your products/services better than any one else’s?

How to leverage your USP

Once you’ve defined what sets your business apart, use that unique selling proposition across your marketing efforts. You know that your business is different from others out there, but to a potential customer that may not be so obvious. When someone comes to your website, sees your Instagram or Facebook page, or hears your sales pitch, is it clear what makes your company different?

Position your business in a way that highlights your unique selling proposition. Leverage what makes your business different in your messaging from ads to website copy and anywhere else that you promote your products and services. Educate your customers about what makes you different and how your differences can solve their problems or fit their needs better.

About the author:
Kristie Holden is an online marketing consultant. She helps startups get more leads by clarifying their message and creating a marketing strategy to attract and convert their ideal client. Connect with her on Instagram.

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