You may not know what a USP is, but you and your business are it. Your Unique Selling Proposition is what separates you from the other guys. In fact, the very best way for you to differentiate from your competition is to craft a USP that no one else in your industry has. Many of my marketing heroes swear by the USP and actually say it is THE most important thing about your business.
According to Wikipedia, your USP must do one or more of three things:
- Each advertisement must make a proposition to the customer: “buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
- The proposition itself must be unique – something that competitors do not, or will not, offer.
- The proposition must be strong enough to pull new customers to the product.
When well-known marketers like Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy tell you the main reason that more than half of all small businesses fail in their first three years is because they do NOT have a USP, you should listen and take the time to make one of your own that is substantially different than all your other competitors.
Some all-time great examples of USP’s that have literally catapulted their respective businesses to the top of their fields, whether they existed before or not, are:
- Domino’s Pizza – “Fresh, hot pizza to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free”
- FedEx – “Overnight delivery of packages guaranteed”
- eBay – “Buy and sell anything securely”
These businesses didn’t succeed because of these USP’s, they literally are their USP’s. When someone says the name of one of these businesses, people automatically think of their USP. They are one and the same thing. For many small businesses, it may seem like a difficult thing to differentiate yourself so completely from your competition, but compared to not doing so, it’s the easiest thing you will ever do. That’s not to say it won’t take time, research and creativity to decide how to attack your competitors weaknesses and/or find a hole in the market for your company to exploit, but failing this step will very likely signal a failure of your company as a whole.
In the wildly competitive field of small business marketing, companies have tried thousands of ways to stand out from the crowd. As a rule, you shouldn’t base your USP on price as anyone can lower their prices or any number of new companies can come along with lower prices and just as soon raise them back up once their more expensive competitors have been ravaged by their price warfare. I agree with this to the point of flat rates, but one part of our USP here at Prevail is offering flexibility of pricing that appeals to many small business owners who otherwise cannot afford our services.
While our prices are competitive, our flexibility and subscription services are what make us stand out. The other part of our USP is that we basically offer a full guarantee on all of our services. Combined, these two propositions are what we like to call Win/Win Marketing. We win by gaining and retaining quality clients who value our services and are glad to keep paying for them over extended periods of time. Our clients win by gaining a professional marketing partner that perceives its clients as its top priority and who back it up with flexible pricing that eliminates many of the headaches of doing business with service firms (long-term contracts, high retainer and hourly fees, cost overruns) and allow them to take advantage of our fully guaranteed services. To this date, I have seen many marketing companies talk about these things, but have yet to see any of them actually offer anything close to either of these Prevail standards.
Only time will tell if our USP will help us continue the growth we’ve experienced over the past two years, but one thing is for sure; it has definitely helped us gain and keep just about every client we have. I’ve said it a million times before – find out what your prospects want and give it to them. From the reams of feedback we have built over time, elimination of cost barriers and no hassle guarantees are what our prospects want. What do yours want?
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