Not another acronym...
what’s a USP?

OK, so you know your product is good...
but can everyone else see that?

Depending on the industry you're in, there can be several / many / hundreds / thousands of people selling a similar product or service.

So why should people buy from you (and not the other guy or gal)?

Well, that's where your USP – or Unique Selling Proposition - comes in;

Your USP should tell people what sets your product apart from all the others.

Your USP is the "something different" that your customers can't get anywhere else. It's the little bit extra that will tip the balance in your favour if all else is equal.

But how do you work out what your USP is?

Well, let's start by thinking about what it's not.

"Great customer service" or "a wide range of products" aren't USP's, they're just good business qualities that you should aim for anyway.

"A friendly team" or "money back guarantee" probably aren't going to cut it either...again, they're just things pretty much everyone offers.

So what is that pesky USP exactly?

Let's look at some examples...

One of our clients supplies flooring to the public and trade. Western Distributors offers great products and great prices.  But the real advantage is "over an acre of displayed products in one location; find it and take it home with you immediately".

Or the promotional model agency Hot Under The Collar who "don't just look pretty, they'll know enough about your brand to convert friendly conversation to serious sales".

Local cafe Waterstone don't just pitch themselves based on their great food, coffee and atmosphere; these guys are "a bustling community hub, doubling as a wonderful waterside cafe..."

By highlighting the thing that makes them unique, these businesses say directly to their intended audience "Hey!  Look at me!  Only I, have what you want!"

Start by thinking about how your product is similar to others you've seen in the online marketplace; cost, quality, delivery time, customer service.

Then make a list of how your product is different; made locally, bigger range of colours, can supply faster.

Still not really helping to identify your USP?

Ask staff, family, friends or customers what they think it is you do well...sometimes, having an "outside looking in" view of your business can really help clarify what makes it unique.

Starting to get some ideas?

Great, because not only will knowing your USP help you sell your business when you're networking or speaking to potential clients, but it will attract online consumers as well.

And of course, once you've identified your USP, you should communicate it clearly – in fact, it should be used in everything you do online, in print or in person.

A well defined USP will turn customers into word-of-mouth brand builders, telling others how you helped them fulfil their need.  It is the basis on which your entire marketing and communications plan can be built.  It should be embedded in everything your business communicates.

Think you know what your USP is but need help articulating it?  Easy...that's where a copywriter (like me!) swings into action.  Copywriters are the experts at giving your business a voice, or, in other words, creating the way in which your business communicates with your customers.

After all, you know how good your product is... so, why not tell everyone else!