Blog / USP Marketing – Define your unique selling proposition in 7 steps
USP Marketing – Define your unique selling proposition in 7 steps
Maurice – July 7, 2023 – 10 min read
The power of USPs in marketing is undisputed. This is because they allow companies to stand out from their competitors. USPs refine marketing strategies and can be used to build a solid brand identity that resonates with customers. USP marketing means focusing on the value of one’s own products or services and formulating one’s USP based on this.
A Unique Selling Proposition(USP) also raises a company’s profile and helps with communication. That is why we believe that every company should have a USP and that is why we wrote this article answering the following questions:
- Why are USPs so important?
- What features should a USP have?
- How do you define a USP?
- What are some examples of unique selling propositions?
What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?
USPs are used to build a solid brand identity and focus on clearly and unmistakably differentiating the value of your products or services from your competitors.
By formulating a unique selling proposition, companies can position themselves as market leaders in their field and thus attract more customers through more effective strategies. Ultimately, defining your USP is an essential part of successful marketing planning.
But what exactly is a Unique Selling Proposition and how does it stand out from the general benefits of your products?
The differences between basic benefits, additional benefits and USP
The basic benefit is the fundamental characteristic that a product or service offers, e.g. speed, quality or durability. In terms of basic benefits, very few products differ from each other. After all, you always expect a restaurant to serve food.
Additional benefits, on the other hand, are all other advantages that the company can offer beyond these basic features. Additional benefits already differentiate the company somewhat more strongly from a large part of the competition, but do not yet really represent unique selling points. Thus, there are numerous restaurants that offer a certain type of sushi or a certain way of preparation.
A Unique Selling Proposition , on the other hand, shows what makes a company unique and valuable to its customers compared to its competitors. USPs help companies stand out from the competition and offer customers something extra they can’t get anywhere else. Unique selling propositions also influence marketing strategies and customer interactions, which can lead to increased sales and overall business success. As an example, there is only one MC Donalds, all over the world people know what to eat there and how this food tastes. MC Donalds is the safe bank on every trip.
USP should be natural, however, because only then will they be perceived naturally. Therefore, a Unique Selling Proposition should always be based on the natural characteristics of a company and not on artificial marketing messages. This is the only way to ensure that your customers easily recognize your Unique Selling Proposition.
Because if your customers don’t easily recognize your USP, you don’t have a USP!
However, the basic benefits and additional benefits of your products are not unnecessary; rather, a combination of your basic benefits, additional benefits, and USP helps to create an effective marketing strategy and provide the best possible experience for customers.
Unique Selling Propositions highlight what makes your company unique, while Basic and Additional Benefits present customers with all the benefits they need to make an informed decision when choosing a company.
But beyond that, what makes Unique Selling Propositions so important?
3 reasons why USPs are so important
A strong USP contributes positively to your business success by simplifying your online marketing efforts. But why this is so, we do not yet know. There are 3 main reasons for this:
- A unique selling proposition helps you stand out from the crowd
- A Unique Selling Proposition strengthens your customer loyalty
- A Unique Selling Proposition simplifies the formulation of a strategy
A unique selling proposition helps you stand out from the crowd
Unique Selling Propositions are important to set you apart from the competition and differentiate your business. Namely, with Unique Selling Propositions, you can show what makes your business unique and valuable to your target audience.
A Unique Selling Proposition strengthens your customer loyalty
USPs build trust between customers and businesses by showing your customers why they should do business with you and not the competition. Unique Selling Propositions also make it easier for customers to remember your brand and come back when they know their needs are better met than with any competitor.
A Unique Selling Proposition simplifies the formulation of a strategy
Unique Selling Propositions simplify the formulation of a marketing strategy. This is because USP-focused strategies help fine-tune marketing campaigns by making it easier to fathom, for example, positioning, messaging, channels used, and more. USPs also help shape a company’s behavior and interactions with customers, making USPs an important part of a successful business plan.
In summary, Unique Selling Propositions are essential for companies that want to stand out from the competition and attract more customers. Unique selling propositions create trust between customers and companies, influence marketing strategies, and ultimately contribute to the overall success of a company.
That’s why it’s important to carefully identify your USP so you can effectively communicate it to your target audience across all marketing channels. But for this you need to know what requirements a good USP should have.
5 requirements your USP must meet
An effective USP can be a powerful tool for companies that want to stand out. However, this is only successful if it has the following characteristics:
- A Unique Selling Proposition must be unique: Your USP should highlight what sets your company apart from the competition.
- A Unique Selling Proposition must be concise: Your USP should be clearly and concisely stated so that customers can understand it without difficulty.
- A Unique Selling Proposition must focus on customer benefits: Your USP must convey what benefits customers will receive when they do business with your company.
- A unique selling proposition must be credible: Your USP must be realistic and achievable in order to be perceived as authentic by your customers.
- A Unique Selling Proposition should reflect your company’s core values: Your USP should accurately reflect your company’s values and culture so customers know what to expect.
But how do you determine a USP?
How to determine your USP in 7 steps
Formulating a unique selling proposition that works is akin to a craft. After all, you need to know your own products very well, your market and your competitors. This requires a lot of work and nothing should be forgotten.
For this reason, we have formulated a structured process that can help you formulate your own USP in 7 steps:
- Step 1: Analyze your target audience
- Step 2: Identify your competitors
- Step 3: Gather your USP elements
- Step 4: Create USP statements
- Step 5: Check the USPs for strength and feasibility
- Step 6: Choose your USP
- Step 7: Communicate your USP
Step 1: Analyze your target audience
In the beginning, you always need to take some time to find out who your target customers are, what they need and why they need it. Your USP should then be tailored to the specific needs of your target market.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What needs of my customers do my products meet?
- Which of these needs are my competitors not meeting?
- If a customer were to tell a friend about your product, what arguments would they use?
- What Unique Selling Points would make your customer buy immediately?
Not sure how to define your target audience? Then our article on this can help you.
Step 2: Identify your competitors
The next step is to figure out what sets your business apart from your competitors. Think about how you differentiate yourself from other companies offering similar products and services, such as location, pricing structure, quality of materials used, fast delivery times, or even some kind of special offer.
Only if you know who your competitors are, you can distinguish yourself from them. The following questions can help you with this:
- Which competitors are perceived as market leaders?
- Why are they accepted in this role?
- What can your product do better than theirs?
- What unique selling point do these companies communicate and what do buyers understand?
Our article on competitor analysis can also help you here.
Step 3: Gather your USP elements
Once you’ve answered the above questions, it’s a matter of gathering the elements of your own USP. To do this, think about your USP elements, such as price, quality, services, and other areas that can set you apart from the competition.
Brainstorm with your employees and colleagues about your products or services and their features. Ask your employees who frequently deal with customers to brainstorm unique selling points that could be incorporated into communications and branding.
After that, enter everything into the following matrix:
The needs of your customers are quickly and easily explained. In these quadrants you should write all the needs that your products fulfill and that your customers have in relation to your products or services.
What sets you apart from your competition is also quickly summarized. This point is simply about writing down everything that your products can do better than those of the competition or what makes them different.
Explain the benefits of your product to an alien. This area usually forces us to take a different perspective. Be honest with yourself: What problem do you want your product to solve for your customers and explain it to an alien who has never heard of your product. You’ll be very surprised in the course of this that often you don’t really know what you’re doing.
Your Meta USP is a complex thing, this one is probably the hardest to find and adds another dimension to the benefits your products have. As an example, a baker does not sell bread, he offers a staple food. A hairdresser does not cut hair, but allows us to be seen differently by other people. Based on these examples, think briefly about what meta-benefits your products or services fulfill.
Step 4: Create USP statements
Summarize all the USP ideas you’ve identified into a final USP statement that clearly shows what makes your company unique and better than others. This USP should then be included in all marketing materials and customer communications. This USP statement should also succinctly express why customers should choose your company over others in the market.
Below you will find examples of such statements.
Step 5: Check your USP for strength and feasibility
Test each USP statement for strength and feasibility to ensure it can be effectively communicated to your target audience. Also make sure that your USP statement is credible. This is the only way your customers will perceive it as authentic.
Step 6: Choose your USP
Choose the USP that best reflects your ability to meet customer needs better than anyone else in the market, and then test that USP.
USPs should be tested regularly anyway to make sure they still meet the needs of target customers, remain competitively relevant, and properly communicate your company’s values and culture.
Step 7: Communicate your USP
After you’ve found a USP that works, it’s a matter of implementing your unique selling proposition across all channels. To make this successful, we have summarized 3 tips for communicating a USP:
- Use your unique selling proposition in marketing materials – USPs should be included in all marketing efforts, such as brochures, website copy, and advertising campaigns.
- Share the USP with customers during sales calls or interactions – Your USP should be shared with your customers during all sales calls so they know why your company is a better fit for their needs than others offering similar products and services.
- Make your unique selling proposition an important part of your customer service – Your USP should also be integrated into your customer service to ensure that your customers never forget why your products are the best on the market.
USPs should be based on natural features of the company, not artificial marketing messages, so that customers can easily recognize them. If you follow these steps, your business will have a strong foundation on which to successfully build marketing campaigns and strengthen customer loyalty.
But what do examples of different USPs look like now?
10 examples of a USP
The following USP examples are among the most commonly used, but we do not recommend using any of them. With our method, you should be able to formulate your own USP that sets your company apart from the competition.
Nevertheless, here are the 10 examples to inspire you:
- We offer the highest quality products at the lowest prices.
- Our customer service is available around the clock to answer all your questions and concerns.
- We offer personalized services tailored to the needs of each individual client.
- We guarantee 100% satisfaction or you get your money back.
- Our products are environmentally friendly and come from sustainable production.
- We have a team of industry experts who can advise you on the best product for your needs.
- We stand behind our commitment to ethical business practices and integrity in everything we do.
- Our fast delivery times make us the perfect choice when time is of the essence.
- We have the most extensive selection of products in our industry.
- Our prices are unbeatable – no one offers better value for money than we do!
These USP examples can help you create a USP that sets your business apart and builds trust with customers. It’s important that your unique selling proposition is unique and memorable.
But what is the difference between a natural and an artificial USP?
Natural USPs vs. Artificial USPs
Natural USPs are based on something that makes a company truly unique and sets it apart from its competitors, such as a unique product or service offering.
Artificial USPs, on the other hand, are based on marketing messages that attempt to make the company appear “more special” than it actually is.
Natural USPs are usually more effective because they are based on real features of the company and customers can easily recognize them. Artificial USPs are more difficult for customers to recognize and may be perceived as inauthentic. It’s important to identify your company’s natural USPs so you can effectively communicate them to your target audience.
Conclusion: Why you should have a unique selling proposition by tomorrow at the latest
A unique selling proposition is important for any company that wants to stand out from the competition and present itself in the market in a unique and memorable way. However, developing an effective USP requires market research, creativity and strategic thinking.
It should reflect your brand values, products and services and give customers a clear reason to choose you over other companies.
Coming up with a USP can be difficult at times, but it’s worth taking the time to do so. And investing now in developing an effective unique selling proposition can save you time and money in the long run. In fact, an effective USP allows you to better highlight the performance features of a product and thus be able to advertise better, create better content, and thus further highlight the customer benefit.
With this knowledge and our 7 steps, you can start working on your unique selling proposition tomorrow and take the first step towards success.