Unique Selling Proposition: Why Should Anyone Do Business with You?
The name Dan Kennedy may not mean much to you. But for me, Dan Kennedy was my introduction into the world of marketing.
His marketing preference is that of direct response marketing. Think mail order catalogs, infomercials, and ads jam-packed to the brim with information.
“But wait, there’s more!” LOL
At first glance, most business owners will be put off by his marketing preference, or his style, which can come off as a little abrasive at times. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Ceci and I have had 5 babies. Trust me, we don’t want to throw them out with the bathwater. Sometimes, though, we wouldn’t mind throwing them into the laps of the grandparents for a few hours or days!
Back to my point,
The absolute most important thing I learned from Planet Dan is the value of defining and clearly articulating your Unique Selling Proposition. It’s not a slogan or a catchy jingle.
In Dan’s words, “Why should I do business with you verses every other option, including doing nothing?”
Over the years, I’ve tempered my youthful zeal of believing that direct response marketing is the only marketing that anyone should ever consider. That doesn’t mean I’ve dropped the principles learned from Dan Kennedy. Quite the contrary.
For example, his lessons on creating a unique selling proposition are even truer and more valuable today than when I first learned them.
Any marketer worth his salt knows how crucial it is for a business to know and communicate their Unique Selling Proposition.
Dan Kennedy isn’t the only one on the USP bandwagon. Copyblogger founder Sonia Simone offers three 5-minute strategies to help find your USP and even outlines three types of USPs you can choose from:
- The Crossroads USP
- The Metaphor USP
- The Persona-Driven USP
She goes on to explain why she created a simple approach to developing your USP.
A unique selling proposition (USP) is the reason people do business with you and not someone else — a winning difference that sets you apart and makes you the only real choice.
Traditional marketing advice will have you lock yourself in a cave for weeks listing all of the features of your business, translating them into benefits, then somehow finding that one compelling point that will differentiate you from everyone else you could possibly compete with.
An effective USP communicates your firm’s unique ability to fill an obvious void in the marketplace. The USP shows your target market how your firm is uniquely qualified to solve their pain or increase their gain. A USP can be your firm’s single most powerful marketing weapon.
To craft a USP for your firm, first make a list of all the benefits of doing business with your firm. Don’t leave anything out. Then cut the list down with these guidelines.
- What things on your list are unique from your direct competitors?
- Which of these benefits is most important to your clients?
- Which of these would be difficult for others in your industry to copy?
- Which of these can be easily communicated?
At Copy Hackers, we recommend most startups use their unique selling proposition – or value proposition – as their home page headline. That’s because when you’re a new business, visitors to your site need to be told what’s unique or different about you that they’d really like.
Why? Because they don’t know you yet. Because they don’t know how to make sense of you yet. And because they don’t know how to stack you against who and what they already know.
You have to help them by clearly stating your USP on the page. For best results, ensure your USP covers these 5 points:
- It states what’s unique or different about you
- The thing that’s unique or different is DESIRABLE to your prospect
- It is specific, not a watered-down summary
- It is succinct (again, without losing specifics – yikes, right?!)
- It is more likely to be remembered than forgotten
Five Unique Value Proposition Examples
Here’s a classic one that Dan Kennedy often mentions in his messages. A multibillion-dollar business was built from this unique, simple statement of value:
“Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Domino’s Pizza
In a few words, this company gives its customers the guarantee that it will deliver their packages safely and on time.
This next slogan actually delivers not one but two benefits: the security of knowing that the package will be delivered as promised, and the ability to save time by getting it there overnight.
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” FedEx
Here’s a USP that’s built on the value of giving back and helping those in need. They sell a commodity item: shoes. They stand out in a crowded market with this simple slogan:
“One for one. Each pair of shoes you purchase = a pair of shoes for a child in need.” TOMS
Here’s one from a company that I use often but isn’t nationally recognized like Colgate, Coca-Cola, or other big name brands. Even their logo is a perfect extension of their USP and what their product does:
“Remember Everything. Modern life can be complicated. Simplify it with Evernote, the app to manage it all.” Evernote
No mistaking what this company does. I’m sure you can even hear the little lizard telling you:
“15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance.” GEICO
Compare that to their competition. “Like a good neighbor” and “You’re in good hands.” You wouldn’t even know what industry those slogans belonged to if you heard them out of context. If you recognize them, it’s because State Farm and Allstate have dumped millions of dollars into those taglines, a luxury that even $10 million dollar companies don’t have.
In contrast, here’s what Kopywriting Course has to say about Geico’s tagline/USP:
“I mean, without having previous experience knowing what these companies do…would you have ANY clue what they sell based off their tag lines?? No. Bravo Geico. Your tagline could be used for a $100/year insurance business or a $50Billion/year insurance business.”
Examples of what you shouldn’t do with your USP
A USP is unique. If it’s been done and is being done by other companies, it’s not a real USP. Here are some examples of USPs that you should avoid:
- We’re the best
- Your _________ is our top priority (unless you’re a boat hull cleaner and wanted to use “Your Bottom Is Our
- Top priority” because it’s funny, memorable, and applicable!
- We’re the biggest
- We’ve been doing this since 1860
- We care about you
- We offer more
- Best customer service (unless you can be like Zappos)
Useful links to learning more about creating your Unique Selling Proposition:
Entrepreneur.com The Key to Successful Marketing: Your Unique Selling Proposition
Copyblogger Take 15 Minutes to Find Your Winning Difference
Kopywriting Kourse How to Create a Great Tagline for Your Business (w/ Examples)