I don’t have to rub your face in it, I know, but I just want to remind you of something very important.
Something that you may be overlooking and that might be the reason you’re not selling as much as you should through your website, social networks and your marketing emails.
That something that might be missing in your marketing message is your Unique Selling Proposition.
Your USP is what makes your product or service unique in the eyes of your target audience. It’s the main feature and benefit that no one else offers, or is talking about.
Let me explain.
Your USP might not be really unique but it’s something your competition doesn’t talk about.
It can be difficult to find out what is that quality that makes your product or service unique, so you will have to study thoroughly how others present their offer in order to bring out your difference.
This is very important, because that difference will bring you more sales.
Let’s see then how you can find out what your Unique Selling Proposition is.
Don’t confuse Value Proposition with Unique Selling Proposition
The Value Proposition, of which you have probably already heard, is the main benefit that your product or service offers to your target audience.
For example, if you sell a face cream, your value proposition is that your cream nourishes the skin and helps reduce the signs of aging.
However, that value proposition is not unique; there are thousands of creams in the market that offer the same thing.
It’s time to dive in and investigate what makes your cream different.
A thorough investigation
How can you do research in order to find out your USP?
By reading your competitors’ web copy and content marketing, as well as their social networks and marketing emails.
Analyse what they talk about and which words they use to sell their product.
You also need to study your target audience, what kind of needs they have, what they are concerned about and what terms they use to describe those concerns.
Read reviews, comments on social media and blogs, published statistics, etc.
Find out as much as you can about what would make them choose your product.
Recommended Reading: How to do research in marketing
Scrutinize your product or service
It’s time to (hypothetically) break down in pieces your product or service.
Sit down and make a list of all its features and then write down the benefits these features bring.
Add the following information to this list:
- Feature type
- Is it unique in the market? I mean, does anybody talk about this?
- What problem does it solve?
- What benefit does it bring to the target customer?
- What score out of 1-10 would you give it with respect to its importance?
Let’s see this list with the previous example of the nutritive cream.
- It contains shea butter
- It’s not unique, there are many creams that have it
- Nourishes the skin to make it more elastic
- Delays the signs of aging
The problem is that this value proposition, although very important, is not unique. We need to study more the competition and our product to see how we can differentiate ourselves.
No one talks about it, so it’s unique
Many copywriters have already realised this important point throughout the history of advertising.
If no one talks about it, the audience will consider it unique, and even if others copy you later, you were the first to use it.
Let’s see this point more in detail with the case of Schlitz beer.
The iconic publicist Claude Hopkins created at the beginning of the last century an ad for Schlitz beer that catapulted the product to the top, obtaining record sales for years in the United States.
And all thanks to his Unique Selling Proposition.
A proposition that wasn’t really unique but that only Schlitz beer talked about.
At that time all brands of beer claimed to be very pure.
Through research Hopkins realised that that purity was the result of the careful process of elaboration the beer went through.
All beers went through a similar process, BUT NO ONE TALKED ABOUT IT.
A light bulb turned on in Hopkins’ head and he decided to write an ad dedicated to the brewing process.
And so he gave the product a superior quality and therefore more desirable aura.
The other beers, although they went through very similar brewing processes, had never talked about it, and although they began to copy Hopkins’ advertising, it was too late, Schlitz had been the first.
How to identify your USP
Your USP has to meet 4 conditions:
- It has to be unique (or nobody talks about it)
- It has to be desirable (the target customer should be really interested)
- It has to be memorable (because it’s very attractive)
- It has to be specific (it should be clear what kind of customer it is intended for)
Let’s look at this with the above example of the face cream.
Imagine that after studying your competition you realise that no one talks about where shea butter comes from, its properties and that it was already used in ancient Egypt.
Then your USP could be:
Aysha Cream, made with the same natural ingredient Cleopatra preferred.
And in your copy you can elaborate your USP saying that your cream has a higher percentage of shea butter than any other cream, that it uses only organic shea butter from x region, that all good remedies can be found in Nature and the ancient Egyptians used it already.
Let’s see if it meets the 4 conditions:
- Is it unique? Yes, because nobody talks about it
- Is it desirable? Yes, because Cleopatra is famous for having been a beautiful woman who liked taking care of herself, therefore we want a cream that gives us the same results
- Is it memorable? Yes, because when you talk about Cleopatra, who is a very well-known character in history, people will remember it
- Is it specific? Yes, it’s clearly a product for women who want to take care of their skin
Examples of Unique Selling Propositions
Dove was the first brand that dared to challenge the status quo in the world of beauty products where all models were perfect.
And it began to distinguish itself by its campaigns for a more real beauty.
That’s how they created its USP.
It’s funny because the famous publicist Ogilvy back in the 50s created one of the most successful campaigns for Dove, and it couldn’t be more different than that of today.
This campaign was very successful for 2 reasons, one because it displays a naked woman (although we can’t really see her body) talking in a sensual way to her partner at a time when something like this wasn’t very common and 2 and the most important reason because Ogilvy knew how to compel its USP.
“Dove creams your skin while your bathe”
It was the only soap that had a part of cream and therefore you didn’t need to apply body cream after the bath.
Both are great and very different campaigns for the same product.
Isn’t the advertising world amazing?
That’s why you will have a lot of fun finding out your USP.
Just observe what others do, analyse their message and take a trip to the heart of your product or service to find out what makes you different.
Remember that there is always something, no matter how small, that makes your offer unique.
That something might seem insignificant at first, but you can always make it bigger by creating desire and expectation.
Like Ogilvy did with a simple soap.