An acronym that expands into ‘Unique Selling Proposition’, USP refers to the specific feature of a product/service that sets it apart from its competitors. Given the numerous contenders vying to earn from the online marketplace, standing apart is the essence of survival, and this is exactly what a USP provides.
If you do not differentiate your product from others in the same niche, chances are high that it would die a natural death, which is why creating a USP should be a priority.
Basics of USP Creation
Just so your product/service does not come across as a clone of an existing brand, your USP should be –
- Genuinely unique
- Powerfully positive
- Easy to grasp
- Difficult to imitate
Only when these traits are fulfilled will your target customers be sufficiently convinced with the USP and make a purchase.
For example, why should anyone opt for a Subway Sandwich? This brand markets itself under the USP of offering fresh products with high nutritional value that are prepared in the presence of customers and can be customized as per their preferences. Courtesy this USP, Subway as a brand enjoys a distinct competitive edge over other products in the same niche, and has managed to carve a reputation for itself which has become synonymous with the brand.
So, a USP could be based on quality, pricing, customer service, technology and so on, thus rendering it easier for the target customer to identify the brand amidst many others.
How Does Having A USP Help?
Developing a USP should feature towards the initial stages of the marketing campaign, so that the sooner it is in place, the clearer the marketing team is about using it.
As the marketing strategy matures and takes shape, following are some benefits of a well-thought-out USP that become apparent –
Highlights the Plus Points – Few strategies would be as effective in highlighting the plus points of the product/service as a clear USP, and this in itself can convince a customer to make a purchase. The ‘plus point’ in question can range from superior quality to better technology and everything in-between, and its purpose is to place the product a cut above the rest.
For example, USP of FedEx is 24-hour delivery, while that of a real estate firm would be to sell the house within the stipulated duration and as close to the full market value.
Augments Revenue – When your customers come across a clear USP, they will have found a clear reason for buying the product. If possible, add competitive pricing to the mix, and you will have provided a further incentive to people. Overall, the impact is felt in terms of boosted sales, which in turn translates into higher earnings.
Encourages Brand Loyalty – There is a strong possibility that people will identify your product with the USP and as a result keep coming back. USP has a way of spurring brand loyalty in target customers by making them aware of their requirements and providing them with a source to fulfill the same. All that you need to ensure is that they have a positive first experience, which motivates them to stick with your brand.
Renders Selling Easier – As compared to generic marketing campaigns, USP based strategies are regarded as being much more credible, and this renders selling easier. A strong USP is persuasive in itself for a salesperson to believe in the goodness of the product and this in itself is half the battle won as far as selling is concerned.
Developing a Success Oriented USP
Discussed as follows are stepwise guidelines to help you develop a successful USP –
List down the Benefits – Do remember that it is as important for you to be aware of all the benefits of the product as it is for your customers. The best way to go about the task is to make a list and check if they match with the expectations of the consumer.
Identify the Unique Trait – Having prepared the list, it is time to wonder how many of these will truly appeal to the target group. At this point, your priority should be to identify the one unique trait that would instantly grab the consumer’s attention and translate it into a viable USP.
Address the ‘Pain Point’ – Every niche comes with a pain point, and there is likely to be one in yours too. In such a situation the onus is on you to realize what might be troubling the customer the most and construct the USP around it,
Offer Concrete Proof – Under no circumstances should your USP come across as an empty promise, which implies that you must be prepared to deliver at all times. Such should be the strength of the proof that it should withstand the test of time and also convince potential buyers of the product’s viability.
Formulate a Clear Phrase – Clear, concise and catchy are the vibes that your USP phrase should emanate, so that people can retain and recollect easily at a later date. This might take a bit of brainstorming, but ultimately the results are likely to be worth the trouble.
Integrate Into Your Marketing Strategy – Make it a point to include your USP in all aspects of marketing, from visiting cards and letterheads to brochures, billboards and all forms of online communication. It should be well-known to the point of being synonymous with your brand, and act as a subconscious trigger.
Deliver On the USP – While coining the USP, ensure that it is within your capacity to deliver, failing which you run the risk of ruining the brand’s reputation. For example, if Domino failed to fulfill its promise of providing a free pizza in case of exceeding the 30-minute time limit, would it have enjoyed the popularity that it does today?
You need not be one of the entrepreneurs who overlook/underestimate the importance of a strong USP, rather include yourself in the bandwagon of those who use it extensively as part of their brand campaign.
Assuming that your target audience might be receiving hundreds of mails every day, having a USP in place would enable them to identify your communication from the pile of generic promotions. In addition to boosting your sales and adding to your revenue, a USP is one of the shortest ways of building a foundation of loyal customers that will stay with you for many long years to come.
If the marketplace – online and offline – is like a vast ocean, your USP is akin to a beacon of light that not just draws attention, but also acts as a guiding light for the path to be followed.