Especially – but not only – if you run an SME business, do you know how to express your “USP?” (Unique Selling Proposition/Point?) And do you know why your USP is so important to support your brand?
Recently this topic came up at a very lively regular business networking meeting I attend and I was surprised that some members of the group hadn’t really considered either a) the importance of a USP for any business or b) what it should be based on. Here, then, are some tips on how to identify yours and make it work for your business.
Your USP is not just about what makes you unique
Much as the initials refer to “Unique Selling Point” or “Unique Selling Proposition,” the term – these days – is somewhat misleading.
I know: you have sweated blood and tears over many sleepless nights to create a product or service of which you are intensely proud, and quite rightly so.
You steer your business out into the marketplace and want everyone to see how your creativity, hard work, business acumen and everything else have culminated in the product/service to beat all others.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a perfectly natural, understandable and justifiable reason to be extremely proud of your achievements. We’ve all been there. Trouble is…
Your customers and prospects do not give a flying you-know-what about all of the above.
This is something all of us in SME businesses (and much bigger businesses, come to that) have had to learn the hard way.
Consumers, whether B2C or B2B, are not interested in how hard you have worked, what you have sacrificed, even how effectively you have researched, refined and developed your product or service.
Consumers/ customers/clients are only interested in one thing:
“What’s in it for me?“
Often when I’m asked to help an emerging new business with their marketing communication either directly or via an agency, I find it’s down to me – the doom gloomer – to make this point to the folks who have worked so hard, and still are working as hard, to make their product/service the best in its class.
I genuinely feel for them at this time, but feel obliged to share the harsh truth. Customers and prospects just don’t care, unless they can see what’s in it for them.
So, where next with your USP? And how do you get it working?
Define not what you do, but what you do that helps customers and prospects
That’s the bottom line. Your USP is what you do that helps businesses and their owners to do a variety of things, but essentially it’s what addresses and deals with their key “pain points.”
“Pain points” are what keeps your customers and prospects awake at night: pain, i.e. business problems, that your product or service can alleviate.
That’s where your USP needs to focus.
Use the opportunity that taglines present
Getting to grips with a tagline that represents what you do and how it can help prospects is covered here on HTWB, and here is a short excerpt from it:
“With your tagline being an important element in your branding and marketing, often it’s hard to reconcile what expresses the “what’s in it for you” in terms of brand values … as well as including a keyword or three to help Google bump you up into the top pages. So how do you combine the two?”
…and the article goes on to share what you need to do to make sure your tagline achieves precisely that. Do have a read of it, as you’ll find it very helpful.
Use the “SO WHAT” test to drill your USP down so it’s perfectly sharp
This is another means of ensuring that your USP achieves that all-important “what’s in it for me?” criterion.
Actually, the “SO WHAT?” test is a valuable tool to use when judging any number of different promotional phrases, taglines and other iterations including your business networking 60-second pitch. It works on them all! So check it out here on HTWB.
If you’re in a hurry, though, what we’re looking at is to take your USP and work it through as many “SO WHATs” as you need to get down to a robust “what’s in it for me.” (This process may reveal quite a lot more about your market positioning, your competition, etc. than you bargained for!) For example:
We’re the best kitchen designers in XXXtown
Our kitchen designs are better than the others in XXXtown
Our kitchen designs work better for you than any others in XXXtown
We’re better at designing a kitchen that works for you than anyone else in XXXtown
We listen to your kitchen needs and design what’s right for you
We have the experience to know what your new kitchen needs
We get what your new kitchen really needs – and deliver it
Delivering your new kitchen exactly to your needs
The experience to create your new kitchen exactly to your needs
So what about the money?
The experience to create your new kitchen exactly to your needs and budget
What other elements do you think we need to create the ideal USP?
Please share your views…
About the author: Suzan St Maur
This article first appeared on Suzan St Maur’s award-winning writing resource website, HowToWriteBetterHTWB … with more than 1,500 articles and tutorials on a vast range of topics from business to fiction, training to comedy, by Suzan and many other writing experts from around the world. An experienced expert in marketing communications, Suzan is now an author coach, book publishing consultant, and best-selling author.