How to Differentiate Your Business with a Unique Selling Proposition (in 2 easy steps)
With hundreds of options available to consumers for party decor and even more options for gift giving, finding a way to stand out is the marketing equivalent of having a reliable vehicle to transport your gorgeously designed organic decor or birthday delivery. You may be the most talented artist in the industry, but without the tools needed to get your message to your key demographic, your business, along with your income, will deflate. Enter the unique selling proposition, a key way to drive sales by answering your customers’ most important question: what’s in it for me?
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
Also known as a unique selling point or USP, it answers why someone should do business with you instead of one of your competitors. It differentiates you from the shop down the street by providing a unique product or service. You already know dozens of USPs, you just may not have taken the time to consider them in a marketing context.
The “low price guarantee” USP
Arguably one of the most popular USPs is utilized by retail superstore Walmart. They guarantee the lowest prices on goods and even offer a price-match promise in many stores. They are the go-to retail space for bargain shoppers because they have differentiated themselves in a way that appeals to that demographic.
The “do good in the world” USP
Toms shoes is another great example of a USP in action. The brand has given millions of shoes with its “One for One” program, which matches every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need. This diversification appeals to the civic-minded shoe shopper.
Other popular USPs include:
- Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back
- Proximity – you are the only service provider in the area
- No fuss return policies – free return shipping
- Outstanding, top-notch quality
- Notable clientele – companies like Google and Apple do business with you
- You are the expert in your field – you have gone to training seminars and become the expert at (insert skill here)
Why do I need a USP?
While you may believe your business to be the best and only reasonable option in your area, your potential customers see you as one among many. What truly makes one balloon business stand out from another? Without a USP, your customers cannot answer that question.
Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, a USP defines what you want to be known for. Is it free delivery? Maybe it’s unique, highly sought after decor designs. Perhaps it is your decades in business and you want to position yourself as a knowledgeable professional with an extensive resume.
Craft Your USP in Two Steps
Step One: Define Your Key Demographic
Before you can effectively define your USP, you must first decide who your ideal customer is. To determine your demographic, put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes and answer these questions:
- Are you male or female?
- How old are you?
- Are you a bargain shopper or are you looking for the highest quality?
- What are the absolute most important factors that motivate your buying decisions when deciding whether to do business with a company? Is it the level of service a company will provide to make your vision come to life? Is it because the company is in high-demand with a stellar Instagram account? Or maybe you want super speedy same-day balloon deliveries?
Tip: It may also be helpful to ask your existing customers why they choose your business over your competitors.
The answers to these questions will not only help you in crafting your USP, but also in determining how to best communicate with your key demographic, how to promote new products, what kinds of products and services to offer, etc.
Step Two: Determine What Sets You Apart
After going through the exercise of determining what’s important to your ideal customer, take a look at your business and ask yourself: what sets you apart from your competition that will be important to your ideal customer?
Remember, you are not simply selling a product or service – you are solving your ideal customer’s problems. While an immediate need may have initially driven a consumer to your website, it will be your ability to meet their intrinsic desires that will convert them to a lifelong customer.
USP in Action
With your key demographic narrowed down and your USP clarified, now it’s time to put your plan in action. To help with this process, follow the examples below.
USP: Show-stopping Designs Worthy of Instagram
Sally is new on the party decor scene after being a stay-at-home DIYer for the past several years. She’s already established a huge Instagram following thanks to her keen sense for design and social media expertise. Her ideal customer is a Marketing Manager at local companies. She has decided to leverage her social media presence and identify her business as “The Go-To Balloon Decorator for Instagram-Worthy Parties.” Through her positioning, she will appeal to corporate clients looking to promote their business through high impact events.
USP: Same-day Delivery
Imagine for a moment that you identified a niche part of your market as your key demographic: the last-minute gift shopper. You have created efficiencies within your business to effectively fulfill same-day deliveries with a sizeable profit. Between your unique skillset and the needs of your ideal customer, you have determined that same-day delivery is the key selling point in your business. Therefore, you want to differentiate yourself and be known for same-day balloon deliveries. Here’s how you might position yourself across multiple marketing channels, from your website to the “about me” section of your social media profiles:
Quirky fun balloons. Same-day delivery.
Your wife had a bad day or you forgot your best friend’s birthday. We’ve all been there. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to order same day balloon deliveries to match all of life’s occasions.
Call to action button or link: Deliver balloons today.
The verbiage is simple and to the point – exactly how your last-minute gift shopper wants it. Immediately, he or she knows you offer same-day delivery, and a call to action at the end prompts the customer to begin an order.
Guide Your Business with USP
With your USP in place, your marketing messages and business decisions will become second nature with minimal guesswork. All roads should lead back to your USP, which ultimately is YOU. As time goes on, don’t be afraid to relook at your USP to determine if you are still meeting the needs once desired by your ideal customer. Remember, you may need to alter or completely change your USP if it becomes obsolete by technology, competition or your business model.