Do you know your unique selling points – those things that make you stand out from all of the others trying to share, sell, or otherwise catch the attention of the audience?
As any seasoned marketer knows, you can’t write killer copy or craft a winning digital campaign without knowing your unique selling points (often referred to as USPs). Identifying your USPs is a great way to differentiate yourself from other companies and nurture a loyal customer following.
If you’ve never considered your USPs before and feel a little out of your depth, we’re here to save the day. Below, you will find a comprehensive guide to understanding and articulating your USPs, as well as some helpful examples to inspire you!
What is a unique selling point?
A unique selling point or proposition is a business-wide attribute, product, or service that consumers won’t find elsewhere. Contrary to popular belief, no business can outdo its competition in every way possible – there’s a reason why some sectors are full of many thriving players! It is possible to have more than one USP, but most companies will not be able to identify more than two or three.
In short, then, your USP is an aspect of your offering that you spend considerable time and energy perfecting. By differentiating yourself with a USP that offers measurable value to clients, you can grow profits and reduce customer churn rates.
Of course, some businesses find it easier to identify their USPs than others. For example, if you provide a niche service that no other company in your locality offers, the service itself is your USP. If, on the other hand, you sell popular goods available from a vast array of competitors, you will need to think more carefully about what sets you apart. Perhaps you offer unbeatable shipping options, premium-quality items, low prices, or personalized shopping experiences. When you think you find your unique selling points, just remember that you must be able to back up your claims with evidence.
What are the benefits of unique selling points?
Consumers often have difficulty making decisions. When confronted with a saturated market, many consumers weigh their options using available marketing materials such as landing page copy. If you want to gain the money and trust of potential customers, you need to assist them in their selection process by clearly emphasizing your company’s USPs.
As well as driving leads and conversions, differentiating yourself with a USP can reap several rewards, including:
- You can ensure your promotional materials cohere under a single message.
- Your sales team will know how to persuasively sell your goods and services more effectively.
- You are likely to develop a loyal following of customers.
- You can use unique selling points to beef up your value proposition, encouraging customers to find out more
How should you identify your unique selling points?
Are you struggling to find your unique selling point? Don’t worry – this issue is much more common than you think and doesn’t mean your product is unoriginal or doomed to fail. Here are just a few techniques for identifying what makes your brand the sparkly unicorn you know it to be:
1. Identify your ideal customer
It can be difficult to identify your USPs from an insider’s perspective, so try to create a few user personas that align with your customer base. This will help you to identify their wants, needs, and pain points.
Developing effective customer personas may take a little time and effort, but it’s not rocket science. Our top tips include:
- Base your decisions on real-life data: You can’t create user personas out of thin air. You must base them on vital user metrics such as average age, sex, and income. You may also wish to examine metrics such as common job titles, personality traits, motivations, and goals, as well as preferred brands and marketing channels. The more data you have, the more effective your user personas are likely to be.
- Use analytics programs: Tools such as Google Analytics offer value demographic reports that can be useful when creating user personas. Reports may be broken down by several metrics such as gender, age, affinity, location, and more. It may also be helpful to study social media engagement analytics.
- Use customer surveys: Customer surveys represent one of the quickest and cheapest ways of collecting large quantities of valuable user data. Of course, you may need to offer people incentives to get involved, such as the chance to win a prize or a small discount on their next purchase. Just ensure the participation process is simple and fun!
- Conduct thorough in-person research: Got time and money on your hands? It may be worth conducting more comprehensive research to aid both your USP research and your wider marketing strategy. Studies could take the form of product testing, user interviews, or diary tests.
- Don’t be afraid to create multiple customer personas: Do you serve a wide range of demographics? Account for this diversity by creating several different user personas. This strategy will help you to come up with more inclusive messaging surrounding your USPs.
2. Ask key questions
Once you know who your ideal customers are, you can begin asking questions such as:
- What does your ideal customer want from your company?
- What are their key priorities? Cost-effectiveness, product quality, customer service, or something else entirely?
- What single factor could encourage them to make a purchase?
- How does your product attend to their pain points or unaddressed needs?
- Why should customers choose your business over competitors?
Don’t try to guess these answers if you haven’t created detailed user personas beforehand – your natural biases may hinder the process and produce disappointing results.
If you choose to conduct customer surveys or in-person research, you may wish to include the above questions to maximize your chances of success. Please be aware, however, that this approach works best with large sample sizes.
3. Start putting your USPs into words
So, now you know which problems you need to solve and how you can solve them, it’s time to start selling yourself. One way to approach the task is to follow a USP template. Let’s say, for example, you own a cosmetics company and want to sell a makeup brush that uses cutting-edge technologies unavailable elsewhere. Here’s a template to help you piece together a concise explanation of your USP:
- For [influencers, makeup artists, and makeup lovers]
- Who [strive to apply makeup flawlessly]
- [Company name]
- Is [selling amazing brush technology]
- Unlike [all other cosmetics companies on the market]
Once you have filled in this template with your own answers, you can start crafting concise copy that drives engagement. Don’t be too scientific about it, however. If your USP is not immediately obvious, try to sell a lifestyle or culture that resonates with your key demographics. A cosmetics brand, for example, may wish to highlight the confidence-boosting qualities of its products, while a high-end restaurant could emphasize the luxury provenance of its ingredients.
4. Make a few promises (if you can keep them)
Promises and guarantees make for fantastic USPs, so long as you can stand by your word. Appealing promises could include:
- We guarantee next-day delivery.
- We promise complete satisfaction or your money back.
- We offer a 10-year warranty on all products.
- If you find the same product for a lower price elsewhere, we’ll match it.
- We will refund all late deliveries.
- We promise to offer service with a smile.
Of course, it is all too easy to create attractive guarantees without fully considering the consequences. Make sure your marketing messages are realistic and chime with your wider business operations.
5. Use the elevator pitch approach
Are you struggling to convey your USP concisely? We’ve all been there! Writing is hard work, and it can be difficult to string words together in a way that makes sense and sounds elegant. To help you condense your messaging, it may be worth attempting the elevator pitch approach. This involves articulating your USP in 30 short seconds and using this pitch to write a few short sentences.
The most effective way to use this approach is to ask several colleagues to try it during a team meeting. The best pitch can then be used to inform your decisions!
6. Test your USP
Congrats! You’ve managed to come up with a USP that sounds great and should catch the attention of key demographics. The work doesn’t stop there, however. Testing the results of your USP is just as important as writing it in the first place.
One of the easiest ways to test your USP is to conduct customer surveys and interviews. Present them with one or two USPs and ask whether your brand promises are helpful and convincing. If the results are negative, you should return to the drawing board to make a few tweaks.
Another way to test your USP messaging is via A/B testing. This technique involves testing two USPs across a pair of different landing pages to determine which one resonates most effectively with your target audience. You can collect your results using an analytics tool such as Google, leaving the two pages active for as long as necessary. Once it has become clear which USP is more effective, you can take the other one down.
How to implement your unique selling points across all marketing channels
Once you have identified your USP, you will need to shout it from the rooftops. Here are some key channels to consider:
1. Social media
Social media has quickly become a key tool for brand development and awareness in recent years. Whatever your preferred platform, it is worth communicating your USP via your account profile and regular status updates to drive engagement and sales.
Try to incorporate your USP on materials such as traditional media adverts and Google ad campaigns. You don’t have to repeat messaging word for word across all of your adverts – just make sure the key takeaways are consistent and appealing.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is becoming an increasingly vital aspect of the digital marketing landscape and could help to boost your search engine rankings and engagement rates. It is also a great way to elaborate on your USP and generate content that genuinely improves the lives of your client base.
Let’s say, for example, your USP is a bespoke bakery service that uses new techniques to create amazing cakes. Your content marketing could take the form of blog posts explaining the benefits of your processes or why clients should purchase a bespoke cake for a special occasion. Just remember to keep your content fresh and engaging and include plenty of keywords.
4. Landing pages
Your USPs must be present on your landing pages to ensure customers know what you’re all about. Messaging could take the form of a text box with a short sentence explaining your key selling points or a long, bullet-pointed section for service pages.
Your homepage should communicate your primary USP (or USPs) loudly and proudly. Try to include a captivating and relevant image alongside your copy and, if you have several USPs to advertise, create a dedicated section for each one.
6. Website navigation banners
Adding bitesize USP messages to your navigation banner will constantly remind web users that they should invest in your goods and services. Space is likely to be limited, so stick to very short messages such as “next-day shipping” or “unbeatably low prices”.
7. Email campaigns
Most companies have generic email templates that they use to standardize their branding and ensure communications look great every time. When designing your template, try to incorporate a space reiterating your USPs at the bottom of the email. Make it bright and eye-catching, placing it just above the small print.
Examples of unique selling points
What does a killer USP look like in action? Here are a few of the best and brightest:
You’ve probably heard of HelloFresh – it’s a very popular meal kit provider that delivers healthy ingredients and recipes straight to customers’ front doors. Its primary USP is its low cost and convenience, attributes highlighted across its marketing materials and landing pages. However, this savvy company has also boldly listed a few extra USPs on its homepage, including:
- Commitment-free sign-ups: This means customers can skip deliveries or cancel whenever they need to.
- A host of five-star reviews: That’s right – it’s perfectly reasonable to boast about your past successes! If you manage to collect a bunch of five-star reviews, it is worth emphasizing this on your site. Customers love to know they can trust a brand.
- Affordable and fresh: Many people struggle to cook healthy meals on a budget, so HelloFresh is reaching out to a wide range of different demographics with this amazing USP.
2. Fresh Sends
Fresh Sends is a truly unique flower delivery service. While most floral arrangement companies align themselves with older demographics, Fresh Sends unashamedly sells itself as a brand for young people. The company’s main USP is the trendy greetings cards included in every bouquet, which customers can personalize to suit the occasion. The bottom banner of the brand’s homepage reveals a few more USPs, including:
- Innovate packing technology: Forget broken stems and messy pollen! Fresh Sends offers special packaging to ensure customers’ bouquets arrive in one piece.
- Unbeatably fresh flowers: The company promises to ship flowers as soon as they are cut.
Head and Shoulders is one of the few companies out there that manages to condense its USP into one unforgettable brand name. Today, it is one of the most famous and effective anti-dandruff shampoos on the market and continues to catch consumers’ eyes with promises such as “up to 100% dandruff protection”. You can’t go wrong with such an impressive statistic!
Zoom quickly became the most popular video conferencing technology during the COVID pandemic and for good reason. As well as offering excellent phone, chat, webinar, and recording functions, Zoom can deliver unbeatable video and audio quality even for customers with poor bandwidth. As such, Zoom has become the #1 ranked company on many review sites, a statistic emphasized on the company’s homepage.
Stripe is the go-to payment processing platform for businesses around the world, helping clients complete quick and cost-effective transactions. On the company homepage, Stripe emphasizes its technology-first approach as a primary USP, assuring potential clients that it is the most secure and reliable option out there. Thanks to Stripe’s gorgeous visuals and concise copy, it’s hard to disagree!
There you have it – a complete guide to discovering your USP and communicating it to your all-important customers. If you take away only one thing from this guide, remember to put your customers first, rather than your products. While it is easy to reel off a list of impressive design specs, your unique selling point should let people know how your brand could actively improve their lives. But you have to find your unique selling points before you can share them with the world.
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Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. As marketing director here at iThemes, she’s dedicated to helping you find the best ways to build, manage, and maintain effective WordPress websites. Kristen also enjoys journaling (check out her side project, The Transformation Year!), hiking and camping, step aerobics, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.