Finding your USP the easy way?? Sounds like a neat title, right? But you may well be thinking what the heck is a USP, and why does it need finding?
Two fair questions, which we’ll answer as briefly as possible coz as with all these things, the what and the why are actually far less important than the “how”.
So that’s how we’ll roll in this article- we’ll look at USP: the what, the why and the how.
Finding your USP: the “what”
USP stands for unique selling proposition (though some folks may change the “proposition” to “point”).
Originally put together as a theory in the 70s, the USP means the unique elements contained within how you portray your business/brand/product that differentiate it from your competitors.
I know, I know this is sounding more and more like some college lecture but let’s get onto why this whole USP thing is so important
Finding your USP: the why
The importance of finding your USP is of course rooted in the fact that you need to find a way to beat your competitors in getting customers’ attention.
Unless you are have a completely unique product or service (in which case your product IS the USP), you will find that you have a raft of competitors, some of whom will be much stronger than you.
Soooooooooo……to get the edge over your competitors you have a choice: try and be the best, or differentiate yourself from them.
Let’s give you an example of what I mean here. I’ll use Instagram because I know bit about this particular platform (though it applies to pretty much any marketing).
If you were running some kind of business consultancy for example and you wanted to go on Instagram to start grabbing some leads, you’d probably check out what other people were up to first.
After some rooting around you’d soon see a whole plethora (how’s that for a jazzy word!?:-)) of “businessy” accounts that focus particularly on motivation.
You’ll also see that some really big accounts are @foundr @secrets2success @buildyourempire_ etc.
All these bad boys have huge followings and follow a similar theme of grabbing pictures of rich looking folk and then slapping quotes on them. Most of these memes are aimed at the entrepreneur/start up crowd.
So now you have this information, what are your choices regarding your business?
Join them?– Don’t feel pressure to come up with something completely new, that’s not what finding your USP means. USE YOUR competitors strategies, by all means.
Beat them?- this Instagram example is great cause it just shows how difficult being the best in a particular market can be.
For example, to get to 1 million followers on the IG takes a whole tonne of money and a lot of time too. And even then you can’t guarantee that you’ll be perceived as the best anyways.
Clearly, finding your USP means NOT joining the competition, but NOT beating them either.
We’re going to look at how….
Finding Your USP: the “how”
We’ve seen that finding you USP is essential for setting yourself apart from the competition, and in the process honing your message to your audience/customers.
This is easier when broken down into small parts.
Marketing donut give a nice step-by-step guide:
- Make a list of what you know about your target audience.
- Make a list of all the needs that your product or service could meet.
- Screen these USPs against trends and competitors. Now remove the USPs that are already being well met by competitors and look for a gap in the market.
- Match each USP against what you and your business are good at.
- Does your USP convey one strong benefit? Is it memorable? Is it clear who the brand is targeting from the USP? Can you deliver what it promises? Is it unique – or could a competitor claim the same thing?
As well as looking at your own biz, we can get a lot of hints from the competition. It’s a waste not to use the research and marketing strategies that others are using to our own advantage.
Jumping back to the Instagram example here’s how you can look at other brands’ USPs.
At a closer look, most of the business/motivational/quote sharing accounts on Insta actually have their own USPs or “angle”.
For instance, @foundr focus on their interviews with successful entrepreneurs, @buildyourempire_ go for straight motivation focusing particularly on the male side of things.
Whereas other similar accounts add something a little different, @luxquotes go for more comedy, @uptopquotes have much more of a relationship feel probably in an attempt to attract more females.
Another guy killing it on Instagram is at @farokhgoodlife and he brings in a much more personal thread to his posts.
All of these companies are using methods that are proven to work but have made sure to add their own personal touch (their USP) to make sure there’s differentiation from themselves and other accounts.
A lot can be learned from this.