USP – Unique Selling Proposition

Oct 29, 2018Business Essentials

USP – Your Unique Selling Proposition

The terms USP and unique selling proposition are commonly used in relation to the development of marketing and promotional plans.

They are also an integral element in the development of a business’s brand.

So, what do the terms mean?

Your business’s USP or Unique Selling Proposition outlines how you are either, or both, different than, or better than your competition!

The statement you develop describing your USP should easily and simply explain to your target market why they should buy your products or services instead of:

  • Buying from your competitors
  • Doing it for themselves
  • Or, doing nothing at all

Ultimately your business will have a USP that is able to cut through all the ‘noise” out there in your market, that clearly separates you from the competition and positions you clearly as the best option.

Writing Your USP – A Four Stage Process

The process of writing your USP can be made a lot simpler if you break it down into the following 4 simple stages:

  • Stage 1 – Describe What Your Business Is About
  • Stage 2 – Describe Common Problems Faced By Your Customers or Clients
  • Stage 3 – Outline How You And Your Competition Differ
  • Stage 4 – Create Your Promise

For the first three stages let’s look at some questions to ask yourself to help you develop and refine the promise you’re going to make to customers or clients.


Stage 1 – What Is Your Business All About?

Completing the answers to the following questions should be fairly simple if you’ve taken the time to develop a business plan and a marketing plan for your business.

To help develop your unique selling proposition jot down answers to these questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What products and/or services are you selling to that audience?
  • Is there anything unique or unusual about your business, or the way you conduct your business?
  • What does your business do really well?
  • Describe your most important customer goal

Stage 2 – What Are The Common Problems You Are Solving For Your Customers?

These questions are framed around the 5 most common reasons people will buy a product or service:

  • How are you helping your customers or clients to make money?
  • What are the ways you are helping your customers or clients to save money?
  • What do you do or provide that helps your customers or clients to save time?
  • Similarly, what do you do or provide that makes life easier for your customers or clients and helps them to avoid effort?
  • Finally, what is it about your products or services that help your customers or clients to avoid pain?

Stage 3 – How Do You And Your Competition Differ?

  • How do your 5 closest competitors solve the problems your customers and clients typically face?
  • What are the main features of the products and services your competitors offer?
  • Do your competitors offer any unique features in their products and services
  • In what way do the features of your products or service compare?
  • How do the features of your products and services differ from your competitors?
  • Are any unique features in the products and services that your business offers? If so, what are they?

More importantly, for each of the features of your products and services you’ve listed above, describe exactly what the BENEFITS of these are to your customers.

Note: there may be multiple benefits for each feature. If you get stuck on this go back to Stage 2 and take a look at the 5 common reasons your customers and clients might be your products and services.

Stage 4 – Create Your Promise

The idea here is to create a short, succinct sentence which describes what your business is going to do for your customers and clients, and/or how you are going to deliver on that.

What you write needs to be compelling enough that you could use it as a headline in your marketing material.

This is where things might start getting difficult – so below you can see some examples developed by these well known companies.

USP Examples

  • FedEx Corporation – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”
  • M&Ms – “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
  • Avis Rent A Car – “We’re number 2. We try harder”
  • Domino’s Pizza – “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free”
  • DeBeers – “A diamond is forever.”

Some Final Tips For Creating Your Unique Selling Proposition

When writing your USP try to think about what your business is promising from your customer’s point of view.

For a small business facing lots of stiff competition in the market place it’s going to be hard to present a proposition that what your business is offering is the best – unless it truly is best in the market!

If that’s the case focus on how your business is different than the competition.

Another trick that might work for you is to think about your personality and the personal style that people can see in the way you conduct business.

If you’re still stuck try answering the question “Why does your business actually exist?” Again, think about this in terms of benefits you are providing your clients.

Remember though, what you are ultimately attempting to do in writing a promise or pledge that is your unique selling proposition is to help potential clients answer for themselves – why they should buy from you!

Your USP or Unique Selling Proposition – Summary

Coming up with the USP for your business will require some effort and brain power.

But the time and effort you put in to this process will definitely pay off in the long run.

When you can clearly communicate to your target audience exactly what your business is about in a compelling and benefit focused way it is going to make their decision to go with your business, instead of the competition just that much simpler!

Can We Help You?

Digital and online technologies have transformed marketing strategies.

This means there is a variety of viable and low cost approaches for reaching your target audience and for generating online sales.

If you are not yet marketing online, or if your current strategies are working all that effectively we can help.

Contact either John or Anthony for an obligation free chat about how we can assist you to design a marketing strategy that is just right for your business and budget

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