When it comes to selling anything, one of the biggest mistakes a lot of people make is just throwing a product online without really defining what makes it special and unique. When customers have plenty of options to choose from, it becomes important for them to know why specifically they should choose your product instead of your competition’s product. What is unique about what you are selling? This definition is know as a unique selling proposition, or USP for short. In marketing, knowing your USP will help you sell your product to potential clients by defining what sets you apart.
The importance of a USP is to differentiate you from your competition. For instance, if you sell crystal jewelry, why should someone choose your jewelry versus the other options they have available? You may be tempted at this point to make price your USP, and undercut the competition. This is a normal thought, but please banish if from your mind this instant! (sorry for the dramatics). The minute you start competing on price you have lost. Low price is not a USP, it usually just relegates your product to a commodity. The problem is that without a USP price is the only thing that most people will use to judge your products by. So, if you are selling a wire wrapped crystal necklace for $59 and your potential customer doesn’t know why it is such a special piece and a benefit to them to buy it, they may go to the mall and get that $19 knockoff necklace, because they only have one comparison to make and as a handmade artist, you will lose if you compete on price. The good news is that price does not have to be the factor that sets you apart!
Asking yourself a few key questions will help set the stage for you to figure out your USP. While it would be possible to write a whole book dedicated to figuring this out (and many people have!) we want to give you the basics so that you have the information you need to get started on this journey!
Who is your target customer?
The first thing you need to determine when coming up with your USP is who is your target customer? This is important because in order to know what benefit you offer to that customer, you need to know exactly who they are! Think about your perfect customer, is it a guy or a girl? What age? Marital status? Income level? What kind of car does he or she drive? You want to think about your target customer as a specific person, someone you could write a very specific profile of. Once you have this person in mind, you need to think about what their biggest hopes, fears and dreams are. What is a problem that this person thinks of on a regular basis? What do they worry about?
Now that you know who your target market is and what their problems are, think about ways in which your product can help them solve those problems. Now, if you are selling something like jewelry or art prints, you probably can’t help solve your target customer’s big picture problems like world peace or paying rent. What you can do though, is offer them specific benefits that are in line with their specific needs.
What is the benefit?
While features are important and have their place in sales, they should not take center stage! What is more important to your potential clients and customers is the benefit your product offers them. Put in more simple terms: What is in it for them? A potential client will care a lot more about the benefits of your product rather than the features. For instance, let’s say you sell photographic prints. A feature might be that you offer canvas prints. The benefit might be a modern look for your home, or ready to hang right when it arrives saving the client the hassle of having to get something framed. When you are trying to come up with your specific benefit, dig deep! Think of how your product helps that very specific customer you are trying to reach.
Get Rid of Objections with a Guarantee!
When thinking about your USP, one way to differentiate yourself from the competition is through a guarantee. Offering a guarantee can be a great way to get people to take that leap of faith and buy your product. It can also be a great USP for you, especially if you are offering a product that has a lot of competition like jewelry for instance. When thinking about a guarantee, be careful not to offer something too crazy, that you may regret later on. A lifetime guarantee on a piece of jewelry might come back to haunt you years down the road, so be sure you are comfortable with your offer. You can however offer a guarantee that if they don’t absolutely love their order when it arrives they can return it for a refund (if that works for your business model). This solves the problem that many people might have when buying online that they may not like the item in person, or it might not fit right. Taking away that concern can be a great way to set your company apart.
While there are many other ways to figure out a USP for your business, these three areas should get you thinking and hopefully will help you develop a selling proposition as unique as your business!
What makes your products unique?