THE 3-STEP GUIDE TO WRITING YOUR USP (UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION)
So you’ve been asked to write a business bio or come up with an elevator pitch… where do you start?
What you need is to clarify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – a short summary that tells your ideal customers why YOUR business and offer is different from everybody else’s.
Personally I prefer you completely ignore what the competition does – there is no value in comparing yourself with others and explaining why you’re better. Providing you are clear on these few points below, your USP will attract loyal customers who won’t even consider the competition in future.
Marketing consultant and coach, Cath Connell shares her 3-step “quick and dirty” guide to writing your Unique Selling Proposition.
1. Choose your WHO
Ensure you know exactly WHO your ideal customer is, what their key problem is (that your business helps solve), and most importantly, how your product or service will make them FEEL when this problem is solved. This feeling is what you are actually selling – not your product or service at all! The demographic stuff (age, sex, socioeconomic etc) may be useful to hone in on a particular niche that you prefer to work with, but unless you are a really big business who needs to break a market down into manageable chunks, it’s of secondary importance.
2. Identify WHY you do what you do
What values or passions drive your business and bring meaning and purpose to you (and your employees if you have them)? What change do you wish to make in the world (or your little corner of it)? What are you passionate about? Try to identify 3-4 keywords that summarise these values and incorporate them into the language you use in your USP.
3. Ensure WHAT you do solves a problem
Your products and services need to provide real solutions to your customers. This may not always be exactly what they think they need – sometimes people don’t even know what they REALLY need! However, it’s important to clearly communicate how your product or service solves their problem (benefits), rather than all the ways you think it is awesome (features), and highlight how your ideal customer will FEEL when they achieve their desired solution.
For solo business owners, your biggest point of difference is actually YOU! Only you have your unique values, skills, knowledge and experience, so highlight this uniqueness in your USP, even if you operate under a “brand” name.
For bigger businesses, your brand (visual image, voice, culture, systems) represents these things. It is up to you as the founder to ensure your core values – as well as the skills, knowledge and experience of your team – infiltrate your brand culture and marketing communications, and are consistent across all areas of your business.
While you may need to hone it into a more fluid sentence, the following framework can help you put your USP together:
Who [have a particular problem]
provides [value words]
to help them feel [desired solution]
For example, here’s one I put together for my business while writing this article:
“For small business owners who want to run a business WITHIN a life (not one that completely takes over it!), Wholehearted Marketing provides honest, “heart-centred” business mentoring and creative marketing support solutions, so that they can love their business more AND make more money!”
While I might want to tweak the wording a bit, you can see it’s a pretty good start!
Of course, like anything else, your USP does not have to be carved in stone. It will evolve as your business grows and changes. You may choose to serve a different ideal customer, you might want to focus on different skills or passions over time, and in all honesty, only some of your products or services will be successful. That’s OK.
So long as you have some clarity around WHO you wish to serve, WHY you do what you do, and develop WHAT your Ideal Customers most need to solve their problems, you’ll be fine.
About Cath Connell
Cath Connell from Wholehearted Marketing is the Marketing Demystifier, providing mentoring, training and hands-on support to help small business owners overcome their fear of marketing and build the skills they need to achieve success. She is particularly passionate about helping others tap into their Purpose and use their business as a platform for change.