What's Your Unique Selling Proposition?

What’s Your USP?

As far as I’m concerned, marketing & sales are inextricably linked.

If your marketing’s weak, it’s that much harder to make the sale if you’ve left a poor first impression. Clean-up and do-over are a lot more work than doing it right the first time. Lousy marketing = lousy sales…

So that’s why I want to talk to you about your initial message, the dreaded Unique Selling Proposition. This has to be part of your slogan, jingle, tagline, and overall brand “packaging”. It’s your business philosophy and your staff’s mantra.

It’s your memorable mini ad and memory jogger that pops into your business contacts, propects, and clients minds (consciously or unconsciously) when you meet them virtually or in person. When done correctly, it lets you fill a particular category space in their minds that obliterates any other competing business in the same space.

Create Your Own Space!

Actually, when done right you create “your own unique category” because your message has differentiated you to the point of making you one-of-a-kind.

FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”

M&Ms: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”

Domino’s: Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed!

OK, so what’s the magic formula for a great USP?

1. It has to answer the question that every prospect asks themselves: Why should I choose to go with your offering, as opposed to any other possibility, including doing nothing at all?

2. Keep it simple. Bafflegab does nothing to enhance your image or your bank account. Your audience will just go “huh?” and leave confused. Remember, a confused mind does nothing…

3. Niche it down – narrow your positioning. When you try to appeal to everyone, you dilute your message and limit your income. For example, if you’re a physical therapist heavily involved in sports, you might position yourself as a practitioner that works exclusively with high level athletes. That targets a smaller segment of the population, but one that can appreciate the services and be willing to pay a higher fee for them.

4. Meaningful targeted benefits. In the example above it could be “improving endurance performance within 15 days”. This is very specific and measurable. It’s a clearly defined benefit.

5. Put your money where your mouth is – provide a guarantee. If your product/service is as good as you say, you shouldn’t have any worries with this one…

Don’t overthink it. When creating your USP, the language you choose is straight forward and simple, your offer is strong, and the benefits are crystal clear and immediately understood. And to make it even more compelling, there’s risk reversal with a guarantee.

And whether you offer a tangible product or a service, your USP should paint an image in people’s minds as well!

Just so you know what not to do…

Here’s a prime example of bumf-filled bafflegab, crafted to puff up the speaker and deflate the listener so that the audience is led to believe that they couldn’t possibly handle such a complex subject themselves. That’s what the speaker thinks, but most of the time the listener will do a quick yes/no analysis and within seconds will have determined that it’s a “no”.

“Our company helps develop for our clients a replicable and scalable process of client acquisition. We have a proven process for implementation that allows organizations to tailor the model to their market, business offering and company’s growth goals.”

What? Really?? OK, how about this instead:

“We grow a solid base of well-paying, repeat customers for business owners. And our system is based on results-driven direct marketing. If for every $1 you invest with us you don’t make your money back in the first 30 days, you don’t pay a cent.”

Create your USP as if you were speaking to someone, because in fact you will be telling this message to all prospective buyers and clients. And remember to keep it simple!


Marie Watkins is Chief Instigator at Marketing Strategics, whose corporate mission is to help business owners harness the power of the Internet to achieve greater sales volume, improved profit margins, and an army of raving customers and fans for their business!

To find out how Marketing Strategics can help your business, e-mail results@marketingstrategics.biz, or call 613.691.1221, extension 101.

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