At the core of every business is a value proposition, also called the unique selling proposition. It is a statement that concisely outlines how your business, product or service is different from that of your competition. It identifies what makes your business the better choice and why your target audience should choose you over the competition. It is often expressed as a single sentence that summarizes the essence of your business.
Your unique selling proposition answers the most important question for your customer base ‘why should I buy from you instead of your competition’. The catch is, your unique selling proposition must also provide your potential customers a specific benefit that they see as attractive. It’s not enough to say that your product or service is better or has more value.
Consider for example, some of Nigeria’s most notable brands. While you may not be able to quote their unique selling proposition, you nonetheless know what that company uniquely provides.
Brila FM is committed to giving sports lovers the latest sports news. Here is a statement of their USP ‘Home of the fans’
Slot the popular phone shop is known for their versatile, functional and innovative repairs of phones and tech devices. With their proprietary operating system, average sales point and excellent customer service, Slot has a unique status in the Nigerian Market.
A unique selling proposition sets the company off. When you develop and focus on your unique selling proposition, you are starting the engine of your business. It allows you to focus on the key strengths of your business, one thing that you do well and that your customers truly want.
Does your business need a USP?
The answer is a yes.
In Nigeria, 58% of businesses today have an established value proposition. For some reason, many companies pay little or no attention to the valuable opportunity provided by a unique selling proposition.
A weak USP can ruin conversion rates, sales and all the other good things that marketers crave. A strong and customer focused USP will do just the opposite. It would boost conversions, enable sales and lead to customer loyalty.
If want business success and sales, then you must develop a USP.
Your USP can be an effective tool that helps you focus your marketing goals and verify that you create marketing goals that sets you apart from the competition. it can be an important part of your branding that is essentially your brand identity.
Below is a four step guide to writing a unique selling proposition for your company.
Who are your target audience?
Before you start your business, you may want to ask yourself the ‘who am I selling to’ question. You must draw up a customer avatar to know your ideal customer. What does your typical customer really want? You need to know who you are targeting. You may segment your market by factors such as gender, age, income, religion, education etc.
At the first step, you want to be as precise as possible. Does your customer want a lower price, better customer service, convenience, a particular location etc? For example, if you are an accountant with ICAN expertise, instead of targeting anyone who needs help managing his finances or modifying his finances, you may identify your target client as a small business owner who is looking for accountants with ICAN expertise is help monitor the cash flow of his business.
Explain the problem you solve and list your biggest distinctive benefits
At this stage, you might want to put yourself in the customers shoe. Look at things from his perspective. From your prospective client’s perspective, what is the individual need or challenge they face that your business can solve for them?
I love to refer to this stage as the fill in the gap phase. In this case, filling in the gap is looking for a space where your customers cannot fill and making it your new home. You may want to list 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client gets from choosing to work with you that they could not get from someone else i.e. what sets you apart from your competition. Again thinking from the client’s perspective, these benefits should explain why your services are important to them and why they would choose you over another provider.
Define your promise
A big part of a successful USP is making a pledge to your clients. While this can be implied instead of spelled out in your USP, write down this promise you make to your clients in this step. Identify what makes your business so different. It’s not going to be your logo, your name, or your website. It’s going to be something with more depth. It could be the method, quality or substance of your product.
Your product must ultimately have some unique qualities or it will fail to gain a sit in a competitive market. You probably have some work to do on your business if nothing unique comes to your mind about the product or service you want to offer.
A USP is something specific. For example ‘Great food’ doesn’t quite cut it for an ideal USP neither does ‘the best food you’ve ever tasted’. The unique selling proposition needs to meet the customer’s desires, while also identifying your business as the sole provider meeting this need. Example of an ideal USP is that of M&M, ‘The milk chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand’.
Combine and re-work
Once you have completed steps 1-4, think of your business and state your unique traits in a customer focused way. Bring the customer’s wants and your products unique trait together in a single statement. Don’t stress over grammatical perfection. Simply get the sense of the statement right.
Take the words you have put together and refine it into a sentence that can roll off your tongue. Think in terms of power and clarity. You might want to run your sentence by people who you value their opinion. Pay attention to their feedback, but also listen to your guts. You know your customers, your industry and your company. Ask yourself; does this USP get the job done.
In conclusion, you must remember that your USP is not something that you need to publish on your blog, post on your main page or do a press release on. It is rather a force- something that powers the way you do business. While you use it in all of your customer communications, a USP is something that is simply lived out in the way you do business. It will serve as a foundation for future business growth.