A USP is something that makes a business different from its competitors – it could be to do with your product or service, but could also relate to your company culture or values. A USP can help your business thrive, particularly if you’re solving a long-term problem for your target audience. Once your business has a unique selling point, it’s crucial that you amplify it to your customers and do everything you can to become known for it.
What is a USP in business?
A USP is the one thing that makes your business different from the rest. It can also help your business to grow if it’s something your target customers care about.For new businesses especially, it can be hard to succeed without a USP. Even if you’re entering a crowded marketplace, you can still stand out with a unique selling point.
However, it’s important to remember that just being cheaper than the competition shouldn’t be your USP. Even if your service or product is very similar to your competitors, you can stand out with a USP such as a sustainable focus or innovative brand values.
A strong USP can help you to attract customers and build loyalty. It also gives your business a purpose and identity, which can motivate staff and make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction.Growing businesses with a USP can find it easier to get funding such as angel investment, venture capital, or crowdfunding.If you go down this route, the details of your USP are perfect for including in an executive summary or business proposal. Another benefit of having a USP is that it can give a focus for your marketing activity – even if you don’t have a catchy slogan, referencing your USP in advertising can be highly effective.
Your company’s USP can be anything, but here’s an overview of some of the most common types of differentiators:
1. unique product or feature – something that hasn’t been done before and addresses a pain point for your target customer
2. personal brand – an inspirational, unconventional, or well-known leader can be an effective USP for a business
3. unique service – you may sell the same product as your competitors, but if you deliver it in a different way it can help you stand out
4. geographical advantage – if you’re the first company to bring a service or product to an area (such as sustainable grocery deliveries), you’ll have a head start at becoming the market leader
If you’re a new business, it’s useful to identify your USP as soon as possible. Here are some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself:
1.Who is your target audience/customer?
2. Why would they buy from you instead of your competitors?
3. What do you offer that’s different from your competitors?
4. What value and benefits do you offer customers?
5. Do you offer a solution to a problem faced by your customers? (Make sure you’re not trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist)
This process is similar to finding a gap in the market. By carrying out the following steps, you can start to build your USP and stand out from your competitors.
1. Make a list of your strong points
Established businesses can think about all the things they do well and all the things they’re known for by their customers.
If you’re yet to launch, make a list of all the things you want to be known for and think about how they could form a USP.
2. Research your competitors
Finding out more about what your competitors are good at and what makes them stand out can help you to identify a gap in the market or a USP for your business.
3. Compare and compile all your data
Once you’ve gathered all the information about your own business and your competitors, it’s time to compare and contrast.
Getting together with your team, analysing the information and brainstorming ideas can be an effective way to home in on your USP.
4. Market research and focus groups
Speaking to your target customers is really important as it helps you to find out what they want and what they expect from you.You can run focus groups and get prospective customers to test your service. Analysing internet search trends and monitoring social media are also beneficial.
5. Positioning your business
Once you’ve decided on a USP, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to promote it to potential customers.Effective marketing is a crucial part of building your identity and becoming known for your USP.
6. Record everything and keep reviewing
Make sure you document everything from market research and competitor analysis to brainstorming sessions and written USP statements.It’s important to remember that you’ll need to keep reviewing and refining your USP as the needs of your customers change.
Having a strong USP is pointless if none of your target customers know about it, which is why marketing is so important.
Here are four quick tips to help promote your USP effectively:
1. Condense the information – come up with a tagline or phrasing that succinctly communicates your USP in an appealing and digestible way
2. Answer customer questions – think about what your customers want and explain how your USP solves their problems
3. focus on what makes you stand out – rather than mentioning features that competitors also offer, such as good customer service or free delivery
4. Use figures to back up your USP – sales figures, satisfaction ratings, customer numbers, or reviews that back up your unique selling point can be a powerful addition to your marketing.