The world of business is a noisy place. It seems that every company claims to have expertise and experience in their field and can guarantee complete customer satisfaction.
So, how can you stand out from the crowd? What makes you special? What makes your customers smile? Why should someone choose to do business or purchase from you? This is where you need to identify your Unique Selling Points (USPs) – the things you can shout about that no one else can.
What are USPs?
USPs are what differentiate you from your competitors. They can range from a total one-of-a-kind product (if you’re lucky enough to have one) to pricing, customer service, promotions, location, and more. USPs attract new customers and help you retain your existing customers while building on your brand, reputation, and more.
Ideally, if someone was asked about your company, they would answer with your USPs. Brands that do this extremely well include Innocent Smoothies (healthy, natural, environmentally responsible), Lush (Cruelty-free, handmade, ethical), and John Lewis (exceptional customer service, quality products, personalisation) to name just a few.
So, what makes you stand out from the crowd? How can you break through the noise barrier that your competitors make to ensure your target market hears you?
Choosing your USPs?
Not all USPs are created equal; some USPs may be less stable than others. For example, being the cheapest or the most convenient to get to, can be wiped out by a competitor undercutting you in price or opening up down the road.
Some things, however, can’t be quite so easily duplicated. These include:
- Being a family run business, which usually comes with its own story
- Sourcing suppliers locally and supporting the British economy
- Supporting certain charities
- Being environmentally friendly
- Being ethical
- Offering a product unique to you
- Offering a service unique (or exceptional) to you, and so on.
When choosing your USPs, there are several stages you should take to define and use your USPs to your advantage. Begin with a broad knowledge-gathering approach and continue to narrow your focus until you have one to four things that will make you stand out and meet your customer’s needs and desires.
Defining your USPs
This may sound silly, but you need to be sure you have a complete understanding of your business. Have you considered your business from your customer’s perspective? Have you visited your website and booked a consultation/purchased a product, received the emails that follow and truly analysed your experience?
Ask yourself what is available, what new customers will be looking for, and what they will expect of your business. Knowing your customer base in rich detail is incredibly beneficial, not only for creating your USPs but also for using your customer base as a blueprint to find more prospects.
You also need to understand your competition. What are they saying/promising? What do they offer? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
If you can capture the USPs of these businesses, it may be clear what your company offers that no one else does. This is your unique selling point! You may even discover further opportunities in the form of a gap in the market to offer something brand new.
Whatever you choose, make sure your USP relevant to your customer. There’s no point in offering free delivery if most of your customers choose to collect from you anyway, same as you shouldn’t look to lower your prices if your current customers are happy to pay a premium.
Still struggling? Why not create a USP?
If the above steps yield little or no results, there may still be unique aspects of your business that you can use or even add. In small companies, your staff could be an important consideration – do they add something special to your business? Do your relationships with your customers inspire loyalty?
You can also consider combining your services or products to offer something more unique in the market. Walkers crisps regularly ‘try out’ new flavour offers that people wouldn’t usually associate with crisps. Marmite has decided to diversify its range to ‘dynamite’ and ‘Marmite Peanut Butter,’ taking on one of its biggest spreadable competitors with a new and unique product.
Maximising on your USPs to grow your business
Now you have defined your USPs, you need to find a clear way to communicate these to your customers. This will make your business more recognisable and memorable, and customers will naturally associate you with the promises you’re making.
Look at M&Ms; “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” They saw a gap in the market that gave them the edge over their competitors, and they said it quite simply, to ensure the message was clear.
Try to find a similarly concise way to express your unique offering; then use this to promote your product or service. Reinforce the messaging on your website, in your shop or office (if applicable), on your social media channels, in your email correspondence, in any advertising you do and so on. Clear, consistent messaging is key to reinforce your offer and your brand values. The more you reinforce your USPs, the more familiar people are with what your brand stands for, what you do and why they should choose to buy from you (and ideally become loyal).
Here at Fill the Gap, ‘You don’t have to manage us; we manage your marketing’. We are also a ‘Marketing team on demand, without the costly overheads, saving you time and money’. There it is, our offer, summarised in two sentences.
Give it a go, find your USPs and, once you have them, if you need help communicating them to your customers, then we’d be delighted to help you. Get in touch today and let us help you maximise your USPs.