Unique Selling Proposition: 8 Keys To Make Your Business The Clear Choice In Your Market!

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If I woke you up in the middle of the night and asked you:

“What makes your business different and why should I do business with you instead of everyone else in your market?”

Would you be able to give me a direct and compelling answer? Will your answer make me see your business as the ONLY option for me?

Hold that thought.

Entrepreneur magazine defines Unique Selling Proposition (USP) as “the factor or the reason that one product or service is different from and better than the competition.”

In simpler words, your USP is what sets you apart from the competition. It helps in making your prospective clients choose your business above the many available options.

A unique selling proposition (also called unique selling point) is often mistaken with the business slogan. In reality, they are not the same but are often interchangeable. Explaining the difference is a bit beyond the scope of this post’s subject matter, so I’ll just stick with what we need to know to create winning USPs.

So, what is the specific thing that you DO (note that I said DO and not SAY) better than others? Why would anyone choose you over the other available options?

For example,

Why should I buy from store owner A and not store owner B? Why would Konga seem a better option to me than Jumia (and vice versa)?

The answers lie in the core values of your business and especially in how you present this core values to your prospects.

How Important Is Your USP?

Very. Your USP is an integral part of your marketing efforts; you’re going to use it everywhere. It’s going to be on your website. It’s going to be on your business card. It’s going to be in your emails. It’s going to be everywhere because your unique selling proposition tells people why they should do business with you.

Before I go on to discuss the key factors to creating a winning unique selling proposition, check out these examples of outstanding USPs:

Example 1: FedEx – Courier Company.

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

Example 2: Dominos Pizza – Food Company

USP – “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.”

Example 3: Anacin – Pain relief medicine

USP: “Fast, fast, incredibly fast relief.

Example 4:  M&M’s – Chocolate Company

USP:  “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Example 5: Paystack – Payment Processing Company

USP: Paystack helps Nigerian businesses accept payments from anyone, anywhere in the world.

Do you notice what these examples have in common? All five of them are focused on the customer. They don’t say anything about the businesses, no. Instead, they all address the pain the customer is looking for a solution to.

In the same way, your USP should be benefit-oriented. There’s should be a specific benefit to the end user.

The 8 keys To Creating A Winning USP For Your  Business

1. Clearly Identify Your Target Market

It’s unwise to attempt marketing to everybody. Carefully narrow down your target and hone your USP message to capture the needs of these.

2. Find Out What You Do Better Than Other Business Owners In Your Market.

Now, don’t go telling me nothing. There’s always something –no matter how insignificant it might seem to you – that we do better than our competitors. If you said nothing, then it’s time for some serious brainstorming. Dig deep and discover that thing that your customers want and that you’re great at. Find it and emphasize it.

3. Find Out What Your Targets Hate That You Can Fix

Using emotional triggers effectively is probably one of any marketer’s strong points. Can you fix what your customers hate? More importantly, can you convey that emotion in your USP?

Look no further for an example: M&M’s – “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

4. Key Into Specific Benefits You Bring To Your Target Market

Your prospect isn’t the least bit interested in your “best quality” or “first to be established” claims. He only needs you to make him understand WHY what you offer benefits him. I like the FedEx example above, it clearly tells me WHY I should use them – extra fast delivery when I need it!

It’s very important that you understand that your business’s USP should never be about you or your company. It should always be about the benefit that you bring your customers. Always.

5. Is There An Opportunity Gap?

I love this one! Savvy business owners are always on the lookout for this gap. Odds are many similar businesses have been before yours. What opportunity have they left untapped?

Going back to the Dominoes’ pizza. There were pizzerias before Dominoes. Dominoes keyed in on the gap created – timing. “I am hungry and I need to fill my tummy now.”

6. Make a Big Promise That You Can Actually Fulfill

It’s tempting to go overboard with promises just so you sound great. Please don’t.

Stick with promises that you know you can keep – and then keep them. This is not an absolute must but it helps.

7. Strive For Clarity

Make sure that your USP message is clear. Don’t leave your prospects guessing or trying to figure out your meaning.

A USP such as “Changing the roofs of Africa” does nothing for me the client. I don’t get the message. I’d probably have to dig deep and ask questions before understanding where that USP is coming from.

Your prospects should immediately SEE and UNDERSTAND what doing business with you does for them.

8. Make It Short And Easy To Relay:

I am not asking you to throw up some one-liner sentences that do not convey your meaning. Neither am I asking you to write out a whole lot of sentences.

Your USP is not an advert. It should be short, concise, straight to the point and the meaning must be clear.

If you can’t distill your USP into 1-2 short sentences then you probably should go do some more tweaking.

Now, back to the question I asked earlier:

“What makes your business different and why should I do business with you instead of everyone else in your market?”

As you create your USP today, or as you modify your USP today, always be thinking about the end user – and of course, how all your efforts will be rewarded with better profits for you!


Have you had success creating your unique selling proposition? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment section.

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