What is a Unique Selling Proposition and Why Does Your Business Need One?
What is a USP and Why Does Your Company Need One?
To be successful in business, you need a distinctive selling offer. According to the Entrepreneur.com encyclopaedia, a USP is:
A seller's claim that their product or service is superior to the competition's.
So, what? How will a USP help your business?
But book definitions rarely help to understand a concept like this. Defining a word in a textbook isn't enough to grasp its
So, what is a USP and how can it help your business?
The Real Meaning of a USP Your company has a distinct selling point. It differentiates your company and tells them why they should choose you.
Instead of trying to be renowned for everything, businesses with a USP stand for something specific, and that becomes their USP.
When starting out, many firms make the mistake of trying to represent everything. They aspire to be all things to all people. They aim to be known for both great quality and reasonable prices. They want the best meals AND the best deals. They want to be known for the best burgers, salads, steaks, and ribs.
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The issue is:
Trying to be known for everything doesn't work.
The real definition of a USP is:
The main thing that sets your company distinct from the rest.
How does it work in practise? Consider a few examples.
Examples of USPs
Company #1 includes web design, social media marketing, SEO, copywriting, conversion optimisation, and PPC. The second company provides SEO and copywriting but not web design, social media marketing, or conversion optimisation.
Consider a client - a seasoned CEO seeking an SEO copywriter to generate content for his website. He also knows both firms.
He thinks of company one as a web design firm, and he has no idea they conduct SEO copywriting because they are known for their site design. He thinks of company two as an SEO copywriting firm because that is their speciality.
Which company do you think he'll choose to supply this service? Who is better known for web design in general or SEO copywriting in particular?
The answer is 2.
There are, of course, exceptions. With so many people and departments, a major digital marketing business might become known for several services.
To gain market share from a larger competitor, a smaller company should focus on one item and become known for it rather than trying to do everything.
Remember, if you want to stand out, or have a “unique selling proposition,” your company must stand for something. It's impossible to be all things.
Let's look at some more.
37Signals' Basecamp project management software is a great example of a successful unique selling proposition.
According to their website, Basecamp is “the leading choice of entrepreneurs, freelancers, small firms, and groups within big organisations.”
If you read carefully, the second sentence does not state that Basecamp is the prefered alternative for huge enterprises and multinational corporations. As opposed to being the top choice for freelancers and small businesses. This is deliberate.
37 Signals created Basecamp as an online project collaboration platform for small businesses. Everyone would be unhappy if the product was marketed to smaller companies as well as multinational corporations.
The product would become too complex for small businesses and too simple for giant firms.
Basecamp's USP becomes second nature. Their entire ethos is to provide software that is simple to use and does not try to please everyone.
Instead of attempting to please everyone and losing effectiveness, 37 Signals created a product for smaller enterprises. So they've become the prefered online project collaboration platform for freelancers and small businesses.
Instead of making a product that appeals to everyone, they've become known for having the finest tool for a specific market sector.
Zappos is another company with a great USP. They are known as the most user-friendly online shoe store. They got there by offering free shipping and returns.
So people order many shoes and return the ones they don't want. When consumers keep extra pairs, it benefits Zappos, but it also reduces margins and earnings.
Regardless, Zappos is considered as the most user-friendly online shoe store. They aren't known for being the most convenient AND the cheapest shoe retailer. Both are impossible. They couldn't provide free shipping and returns on numerous pairs of shoes if they had the lowest prices.
Zappos' USP is simple: the finest return policy ever. A return policy that removes the anxiety of buying shoes online and not fitting.
This would not only be unfeasible but would also make them uncompetitive. Zappos would be indistinguishable if it merely offered the lowest prices.
Zappos separates out from the competition by delivering the most consumer-friendly shipping procedures and being known for the greatest customer service in their industry.
Frequently Asked Questions about USP
How does a USP help my business? By making your company stand out from the crowd. In other words, it's delivering something unique that your competitors don't.
How can I find my USP?
Consider what distinguishes your company from others in its field. Is there something unique about your business? How do you ‘beat' competitors?
How can I find my USP?
Ask! Ask your customers, employees, leadership, and sales teams what makes your company unique.
What is a USP?
A USP is something distinctive to your organisation. It could be your values, products or services, or a guarantee or policy that entices buyers.
Unique Selling Points
An effective USP focuses on the one thing that makes your company stand out - the lowest pricing, the greatest customer service, or the largest online product assortment.
Start by brainstorming with your marketing and sales teams. Ask your customer service agents what your clients prefer best. Examine client feedback or conduct a survey. What is vital to them? Create a compelling USP that highlights your worth.
So, what will your company stand for? Known for what? Or what distinguishes your existing firm? Please comment.