The 2023 holiday season is nearly here, but don’t panic! Today, we’re sharing advice on how to utilize your unique selling proposition to set your business apart this holiday season.
What is a unique selling proposition?
Simply put, a unique selling proposition (or USP for short) is what makes your business different from every other business in your market. For some businesses this is a unique product, for others it is how they conduct business, or even a unique value or principal. However, a USP doesn’t have to be directly tied to a product or business practices, it can be about what sets your entire brand or ethos apart from others.
A few things your USP isn’t.
Now that we’ve established what a USP is, let’s breakdown what your USP should not be. While they are great at driving sales, promotions/discounts are not a USP. Offering free shipping is certainly a great promotion, but that is not unique to your business – many others may also offer this. Remember, your USP is uniquely you.
While it certainly isn’t a bad thing to use your USP as a slogan, it should not be only a tagline. Your USP must be easily identifiable and obvious to your customers. This means your USP shouldn’t be just a passing phrase; it must be a foundation of your business. Your USP should be apparent in your products or services, in your brand, and in your customer journey!
How to identify your unique selling proposition.
Here are some steps to help you narrow down and identify your USP.
Step 1: Identify your target market.
While this may seem simple, identifying and knowing your target market is essential to your USP. Once you identify your market, dive a little deeper. Consider:
- What do your customers value?
- How does your product or service fulfill their needs?
- Why would a potential or returning customer purchase from you over competitors?
With your target market identified, it’s time to move to Step 2.
Step 2: Conduct a competitive analysis.
If you haven’t already, identify your top two or three competitors – it’s time for a competitive analysis! As you browse their websites, socials, and reviews, consider:
- What are their core products? How do they compare to yours?
- What gaps do you see between your business and theirs?
- Do they have an easily identifiable USP? Does that USP come across all their aspects of business?
- What are the top two or three differences between your business and theirs?
After your analysis, you should have a strong understanding of how you differ from your market competition. Take note of any repeating key differences you found between you and your competitors.
Step 3: Create your unique selling proposition.
Now that you know what sets you apart, it’s time to create a selling proposition all your own. Many businesses begin with creating a tagline or slogan. This is typically a single sentence that creates instant association for your brand. Once you have your slogan, you will want to expand upon it to create your USP. While you want to keep your USP brief (two sentences), be sure to highlight key features or benefits of your product or service. Remember those repeating differences you found in step 2? It’s time to put those into your USP.
As you craft your USP, remember to ensure your customers core values are present – even the best USP won’t mean much if your target market doesn’t truly care about it!
Step 4: Refinement over time.
Like many things in business, your USP is not a “set it and forget it” concept. As your products and services evolve, so should your USP. Talk with you VIP customers about your proposition and take their feedback into consideration. As your business grows, keep checking in on your competition. Are there new differences between you and your competitors? Perhaps these should be highlighted in your USP.
Examples of USPs to spark your creativity.
Here are a few examples of strong USPs to help frame your USP thought process.
- Canva – Empowering the world to design. Canva is well known for it’s quick-to-learn tools. For their USP, they highlight this by showcasing their use case from complete novice to professional.
- Patagonia – We’re in Business to Save Our Home Planet. Patagonia’s USP isn’t a product feature, rather, it highlights their business core value – sustainability.
- Hello Fresh – Take the stress out of mealtime. America’s Most Popular Meal Kit. This USP is a little longer than our previous example, but still packs a punch. Hello Fresh identifies their business purpose, while also highlighting why they are unique.
- Hiut Denim Co. – Do one thing well. Hiut Denim sells only one thing, and they set expectations for their customers with this snappy USP. This is another example of a USP that focuses on a business foundation, rather than a product.
How to utilize your USP this holiday season.
While it seems like the year is flying by, there is still time to prep for the all important holiday selling season! Now that you have your USP, here are some great ways to utilize it this holiday season.
Use your USP in all your marketing channels.
Yes, I know that this suggestion seems like a layup. Of course you should use your USP on your website, your social accounts, and your email marketing. But don’t forget to include your USP in digital and print advertising. Ideally, your USP should be the highlight and first line of any ad copy, whether it’s digital or print. You customers should see your USP anywhere they can find you!
In addition to standard marketing channels, don’t forget about channels that aren’t as apparent. A great example is the meta description for your website homepage. Using your USP in your homepage meta description is a great way to set the tone for your online presence.
Be consistent to build trust.
Always remember that your customer interact with your business in many different ways. Some may only visit your website, while others visit your socials and receive your email marketing. Make sure your are utilizing your USP consistently across all aspects of your brand. This will help build trust with your customers, and will ultimately lead to higher conversions.
Show, don’t just tell.
Show off what makes you unique to your customers in addition to telling them; if your products or services are part of your USP, then show these to customers in your marketing. Don’t be shy! You’ve put a ton of work into crafting your USP. It’s ok to show it off! Consider creating a gift guide or landing pages for your core products that formed your USP.
If your USP is more principal or value based, you can still show your customers. Think of it like “practicing what you preach.” Even though your USP isn’t directly tied to a specific good or service, show how your products are connected to your core values. Utilizing photos, infographics, as well as text, can help make your USP more tangible for your customers.
Need a helping hand to define and utilize your USP? We’re here to help you do just that! Schedule a consultation with us today.