Crafting Your Message Part I: The Unique Selling Proposition With Examples of Effective USP-based Ads

Women Writing

Most marketing messages are boring, shy, and frankly, ineffective. To stand out in this sea of blandness, you need to craft a compelling message that will capture the attention of your target market.

The message in your ads needs to be more than name, rank, and serial number. If you look at the structure of most content from small businesses, it’s:

  • Their name and logo
  • A laundry list of products/services offered
  • Claims of best quality, service, or prices
  • Generic offer
  • Contact details

I’d be surprised if an ad like that gets more than a couple sales. This is what Allan Dib calls in his book “marketing by accident.” A qualified prospect at the right place at the right time sees the ad and a sale takes place. That’s just coincidence. Stop waiting for an accident to happen!

Start marketing on purpose

To start marketing with a purpose look at two vital elements:

  1. What is the actual purpose of your ad?
  2. What does your ad focus on?

One ad, one objective

If something in the ad isn’t helping you achieve that goal, then it’s detracting from it, and you should get rid of it. Rather than trying to sell directly from the ad, invite your potential customers to raise their hands in interest and position yourself as an option.

Recently we talked to you about KPIs. You should keep track of these, see what works for your business, and use this marketing data to help you choose one primary objective for your ad.

Once your objective is clear, you have to communicate it to your reader. Know exactly what you want your ad to achieve and the exact action you want your prospect to take by including a very clear call to action in your ad.

How businesses get it wrong

The common mistake that small businesses usually make when developing their unique selling proposition (USP) is positioning themselves as commodities. A lot of businesses will say “quality” or “great service” is their unique benefit, but here’s what is wrong with that:

  1. We all expect to get the best quality and great service for our money. These are part of good business practice, not something unique.
  2. People only find out about your quality and great service after they’ve bought. A good USP is designed to attract prospects before they’ve made a purchase decision.

When your USP isn’t really unique, you’ve positioned yourself as a commodity, and people shop for those based on price alone.

The solution is to develop a clear USP. Find that something that positions you differently, so that prospects can’t even compare you with your competitors.

Your message starts with your USP

“Why should I do business with you versus every other option, including doing nothing?”

Unique Selling PropositionAs we’ve mentioned in one of our previous posts, a unique selling proposition is the reason people do business with you. It’s something that will set you apart and make you the only real choice out there.

An effective benefit statement will tell the world how your product or service will make it a happier place. As advertisers, we have to show the customers not just what the product is, but what it does, what it will do for them, and how that will improve their lives.

Remember that it’s not the steak that you’re selling, it’s the sizzle.

An effective USP communicates your firm’s special ability to fill an obvious hole in the market. Your USP will show your target market how your firm is perfectly qualified to relieve their pains or increase their gains. A USP will be your firm’s most powerful marketing weapon.

A confusing ad leads to inaction

Once you have your USP, it’s time to move on to crafting your ad. For it to be effective, you need to answer the question of why someone should buy what you’re offering. Then, you need to answer the question of why they should buy it from you.

An ad that doesn’t explain what you offer and its unique benefit will be more confusing than leading. Don’t think that a confused customer will reach out to your businesses for clarification or to get more info. The truth is:

When you confuse them, you lose them

Your prospect has at least three options:

  • Buy from you
  • Buy from your competitor
  • Do nothing

People have more options than you might think and too much information coming at them everywhere they look, so chances are they won’t even bother to read through a confused message.

Use your USP to make your ads more effective

If you’re looking for some great examples, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll go over the three different types of ads, each with real-life examples, along with some insights into why that ad is so successful.


Component of Effective Facebook Ad
There are 4 basic components of an effective facebook ad: it’s visual, relevant, includes an irresistible value proposition, and has a clear call to action. This ad checks all four boxes.

  1. It’s visual – We get a sneak peek at the beautifully designed villas and mansions of Santorini Island. The image depicts a serene and elegant hotel room that catches the eye and helps the visitor visualize their next vacation, something we all crave. Which takes me to the next component.
  2. It’s relevant – Who wouldn’t enjoy a vacation? Even more if it was easy to plan. There’s an undeniable increase in trips now that people are taking their winter breaks from work and school. A lot of people are planning their vacations, so what better time to advertise than the season of travels?
  3. It’s valuable – The headline tells the visitor from the start what they’ll be getting when they click on the ad, which is saving up to 40% on luxury hotels on their next vacation. Now this offer is something a lot of people will say yes to.
  4. It calls to action – Jetsetter’s ads feature a variety of different photos with tourist destinations and landmarks in which people can easily visualize themselves. What better call to action than a serene hotel room? Or a beach with the clearest, bluest water you’ve ever seen?

Google AdWords

Google Adwords Conversion

This ad that came up when someone was looking to sell their car is a perfect example of how to make it easy for people to convert and remove all confusing ambiguity. This ad focuses on telling potential customers what they want to hear: “We’ll Buy Your Car Today.”

The goal of the searcher is to have someone buy their car. How they do that isn’t as important as actually getting it sold as fast as possible, taking the headline “How to Sell a Car” out of the equation.

With a headline like “Sell Your Car Today,” the searcher might wonder if they have to list their car themselves on a Craigslist-like platform and field calls from all those tire-kickers who aren’t really serious about buying a car.

The “2 Hours” part of the ad makes it relevant — people who want to sell their car are only two hours away of doing so! It’s kinda hard to say no to that offer. The “#1 Online Car Buyer,” celebrating their “35th Year,” and with an “A+ Rating” from the Better Business Bureau makes this ad very specific and hard to resist.

The more specific you are, the more believable you become, and the more believable you become, the bigger your chances are of giving people a pleasant experience with your product or service.

Did you noticed that the ad is slightly bigger than the rest? Those are the ad extensions and they should be in every one of your Google ads. Not only do they make your ad look bigger and more eye-catching, but they provide extra information about your business, such as phone number, locations, and website links, making it easy for people to take action.

Video Ad

The average human lives for approximately 25,915 days — and Reebok wants to promote the use of those days to never stop honoring our lives. Their video promoting the #HonorYourDays campaign doesn’t really have any spoken words, but the message is there and as powerful as ever: Seize your days by “honoring the body you’ve been given.”

The video follows one woman’s life in reverse, from her running the Reebok-sponsored race as an older woman, to running in high school, all the way back to the day she was born. It’s a great way for Reebok to express their mission of changing people’s perceptions and helping them experience fitness at every age — all while letting customers know Reebok will be there to cover their athletic gear needs throughout their lives.

At the end of the video, there’s a clickable call to action that invites the viewer to “Calculate your days.”

It might strike some as a bit morbid, having your days counted, but the ad copy is in keeping with the brand’s powerful message of “tough fitness.” If you click the call to action, you’ll get taken to the campaign website where people can share photos showing how they’re honoring their bodies, along with their “numbers.”

This is an example of a message that is not only compelling, but also highly actionable. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

This was part one of two about crafting your message. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post in which I’ll tell you a powerful formula to start creating your ads.

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