Understand yourself: developing your USP

Understanding what makes your business stand out from the competition, your USP, is vital in creating a compelling marketing message.

In today’s online world, most people are incredibly adept at researching and comparing product and service benefits. Therefore, you need to ensure your differences (your USP) can be quickly understood by prospective customers. Many businesses will jump straight into selling their product or service, talking about what makes it great. However, not including what makes you different from your direct competitors or alternatives could cost you sales.

Do you know what makes you different from your competitors?


What is a USP?

Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition or Unique Selling Point. It’s what makes your business stand out from the crowd and tells your customers what is special about you.

If you can’t identify your USP, you’re going to have a hard time convincing prospective customers to buy from you instead of your competitors. In addition, without a clear USP, you will find it challenging to create a clear marketing message.

When you think about your USP, it’s crucial to think about it from your customer’s perspective, not your own. What makes you different in their eyes, not yours?


How to find your USP?

Finding your USP involves having a good understanding of your business, your target audience, your competition and your industry.

For more information on understanding your target audience, please read the first in our How to market your small business series: The importance of understanding your customer.

New businesses
As a new business, you will need to rely on competitor research, prospective customer questionnaires, and your own story (the reason you got into business).

  • Create a competitor research document and outline their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) compared to yourself
  • Ask friends, family, ex-colleagues and your network for their views on the service or product you want to provide – you can even use paid for online services if you can’t afford a market research agency
  • Understand and document your ‘WHY’ – why are you doing what you’re doing and what are you trying to achieve?

Established businesses
If you are an existing business, make sure you’ve done everything outlined for new business first, as this will give you a solid foundation. However, as an existing business, you have an additional resource from which you can draw marketing intelligence – your customers.

Speak to your current clients and understand two things:

  • Why did they buy from you in the first place?
  • Why are they continuing to buy from you?

Most company questionnaires will focus on the current situation. However, if you’re trying to attract new customers, you need to know why your current customers chose you over alternatives at the start of their journey.


The importance of a USP

Understanding what your USPs are will help you create a compelling message to target new customers. Whether you’re creating a website or advertising campaign, always ask yourself if your message communicates the benefits you know people are looking for.

Top tip: Writing this information down and including it in your business strategy will also help you communicate your unique benefits to key business stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, and partners.


How ETC can help

If you need help understanding what your USPs are, or creating a compelling marketing message to attract new clients, please get in touch.

If you are new to ETC, why not contact us for a free new business review? We’ll spend two hours with you, giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.