4 Tips to Craft a Winning Unique Value Proposition
Also known as a unique selling proposition (USP), this concise statement tells potential customers what value / benefits they can expect from a product or service. Companies also often include it in their mission statements.
A USP is not a slogan or tagline. Its effectiveness depends on your understanding of what makes customers tick and how your offering fits into their lives. And to achieve that goal, there are some specific steps to follow.
Whether you are new to the process or need to rethink your current USP, here are four tips to guide you. I have also included two great examples as well as an infographic with additional advice.
1) Mind Your Ws
I am a big fan of the basics. Every client with whom I work has to start with four essential questions:
- What does your company sell?
- Who are your ideal target customers? Be as specific as possible: main gender and age groups, incomes, interests, location, language(s) spoken, hobbies…
Let’s imagine that your company sells customer service software for SMBs. One ideal potential customer could be:
“Mark is a 38-year-old real estate agent living in Los Angeles. He makes $58K a year, reads the Buffer blog once a week, and uses Twitter and Facebook for promotion and connecting with potential clients. He is looking for a service that would allow him to work from his mobile. He has tried HootSuite but finds it a little too confusing.”
- What pain points does your product or service solve for them? Does it save time? Is it affordable?…
- What makes your product or service unique compared to competition?
2) Involve Others
When you are done answering the aforementioned questions, it’s time to take the pulse of your audience and put yourself in their shoes.
Surveys and polls are a great way to involve people and make them part of your journey. You can use your blog and social media profiles, or contact them directly. Trusted peers and friends can also provide you with valuable insights. And, they usually are happy to help.
Some of the questions you can ask include:
- What words would you use to describe my product or service?
- What kind of features / benefits are you looking for?
- Does my product or service offer them?
- What does the word, sentence or phrase “[insert what you want]” mean to you?
Also, something that business owners rarely do: Look at testimonials from current customers. Underline or circle the most important words that describe your company. After a while, a common thread should appear.
3) Pay Attention to Competition
SMBs tend to look at competition as enemies. It’s a short-sighted approach. ‘Spying’ on other companies can teach you how to serve your audience better and how to create a laser-focused USP that is likely to wow your prospects.
Make a list of nine or ten successful small businesses in your field. Then:
- Check out their products or services;
- Read their content; and
- Peruse the comment sections under their blog and social media posts.
Take notes. Are there things (e.g. features) that those companies seem to have overlooked? That’s the angle your USP should cover!
4) Ask for Feedback
So, you think you have the best value proposition? First, make sure that it coincides with your brand’s mission and message. If it does, well done! You can move to the next step. If it doesn’t, it’s ok. Just do a little more digging.
Now, ask trusted peers and partners to give you constructive and detailed feedback. Why do they like your USP or not? What do they feel you are missing? The more suggestions the better.
Hone your message until it feels right. You should have something very solid to show the world.
Remember, though. Nothing is definite. What works one day may not the next. So, keep an open mind and do not hesitate to tweak your USP based on future (relevant) feedback.
5) Two Examples of Effective USP
- Trello – Trello is perfect for professionals who need to manage projects from one convenient spot. What makes the service different from competitors is the basic interface and visual aspect of the boards.
- Zapier – Zapier is all about saving time and being more efficient, without the need to hire a developer or learn to code. “We focus on business apps and simplicity. That combination is increasingly rare,” states co-founder Bryan Helmig.
Need more tips to create a great USP for your business? Check out Quick Sprout’s infographic below:
Lead/Featured Image: Multiple sources; origin unknown
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