You Need a Great USP to Attract Customers– How’s Yours Doing?

by Ed Martin

No matter how good you, your website or whatever you’re selling is, nobody is going to buy anything from you without a good reason. They will keep their hands in their pockets unless you can convince them you and you alone have something they desparately need. That is what your USP does. It gets people to notice you and  turns potential customers into buyers. Do you have one? If you don’t, or maybe you don’t know what a USP is, keep reading. Help is on the way.

Here’s the Deal
Your Unique Sales Proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from your competition and motivates buyers to act. Many businesses don’t think about or come up with this proposition. They don’t have a message that promises any great value or benefit to the customer. There is nothing unique or distinct in what they offer. The message is just “buy from us” because we’re here. It’s no wonder customers will go somewhere else.

What You Need to Do
Simply stated, your task is to come up with your own USP. It should let your prospective customers know why they should buy from you instead of some other guy. Your USP needs to:

  • tell your customers that no one else offers what you have. No how, no way
  • explain that if a customer buys from you they will get a certain benefit that only you offer
  • be so compelling it gets potential customers to become buyers.

Get Started Now
Pretty simple right?

So, take a minute here and think about what you offer: a unique benefit, incredible prices or selection, extra good service, expert advice, or a fantastic guarantee. Make a list of what makes your business great and work from there. Whittle your list down to until you have a clearly defined message that your customers can take and act on. That’s your USP!

Once you’ve got it figured out, your USP should be part of all your marketing, advertising and sales efforts. Use it everywhere, anytime you communicate with a potential uyer or customer. It should be what customers remember when they think about your business. Just make sure you actually can deliver on it! Can’t stress that enough. Your USP has to be real.

The Toolbox
Okay, I’ll admit this isn’t quite as easy as I made is sound. But then again maybe it doesn’t have to be too hard either. Sonia Simone at Copyblogger says you can take 15 minutes to find your winning position by doing three exercises to find your Metaphor, Crossroads and Persona-driver USPs. Yeah, I’m not so sure you can really come up with a complete USP in 15 mins, but the article has some good ideas for getting started. Prime the pump and off you go!

Marketing expert Jay Abraham has a lengthy and helpful article on creating a USP with lots of good stuff to ponder.   Be sure to take a look.

Small Business Branding has an exercise you can do to help work out your  USP. Gotta warn you that you need a flipchart though.

I really like this one. Lateral Action says USPs aren’t just something for marketers to worry about in T.S. Eliot’s Unique Selling Proposition.  It’s different, but intriguing.

Lastly, 60 Second Marketer says we have reached the end for the USP. No such thing any more. Now we need to worry about the ESP, the emotional selling proposition.  Their argument is that nothing is really unique anymore so you have to have an emotional tug to get to buyers to pull the trigger. I think this may be true for big brands, but not so much for us little guys yet, but see what you think.

Last Word
@shaidelson points out correctly that if at least one of your competitors has the same Unique Selling Proposition as you it’s not a USP anymore, it’s just an SP. I like that.

Not having a good USP is one of the most common reasons businesses fail. Sign up for my MicroBiz Made Simple newsletter and receive a free copy of my report Succeed By Not Failing: The 50 most common reasons businesses fail and how to avoid them.

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