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WHAT IS USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

Today, I am going to explain the step-by-step process for creating a USP that will help you make the most of your marketing and business planning activities.

Let’s start with the question as to what is a USP?

A USP or unique selling proposition, is one of the fundamental pieces of any solid marketing campaign. Put simply, it is a summary of what makes your business, or book if you are a writer, unique and valuable to your target market. I would suggest including USP as part of your overall marketing strategies. This is because a USP can give a great deal of clarity to your business model, what your company does and why you do it. It can define your business and most important business goals in just a sentence.

Plus, it answers the question: How do your business services benefit your clients better than anyone else can?

Successful USPs can be used as a company slogan and should be incorporated into all of your marketing activities.

Part of the process of creating a USP includes zeroing in on your target audience, analysing your competition and taking a straightforward look at what you can offer that others can’t. If you take time to craft a relevant USP, you can carry it throughout all of your marketing materials, interactions and business branding. And, pairing it with your mission statement, your USP can give a great deal of clarity to your business model, what you do and why you do it.

OK, so now that we’re clear on what a USP is and why it’s so valuable, let’s start creating one.

Step 1: Describe Your Target Audience

Before you even start marketing your services, you need to know who exactly you are aiming to target. In this step, you want to be as specific as possible. For example: if you are a Web developer with a CMS expertise, instead of targeting anyone who needs help building or modifying CMS, you may identify your target client as a small business owner who is looking for a developer well-versed in MODx to customise their site.

Step 2: Explain the Problem You Solve

From your prospective clients’ perspective, decide what it is the individual needs or the challenges they face which your business can solve for them?

Step 3: List the Biggest Distinctive Benefits

What we have to do here is list 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client will get by choosing to work with you. Things they cannot get from someone else. In other words what have you got that sets you apart from your competition? Again, think about it from the clients’ perspective. These benefits should explain why your services are important to them, and why they should choose you over another provider.

Step 4: Define Your Promise

A big part of a successful USP is ensuring you make a pledge to your clients. While this can be implied instead of fully spelled out in your USP, writing down the promise you will make to your clients in this step is positive and shows them you are serious about your actions and the support you offer.

Step 5: Combine and Rework

Once you’ve completed steps 1-4, collate all of the information listed and combine it into one paragraph. There may be some recurring ideas and thoughts, so you’ll need to start merging statements and perhaps rewriting everything in a way that makes sense and flows when read.

Step 6: Cut it Down

In step 6 you will take the paragraph created in step 5 and condense it down into even less words. In fact, into just one sentence. What you are aiming to do is end up with your final USP being as specific and as simple as you can possibly make it.

Take your time while doing this exercise. Write up several drafts over the course of a week, cutting and re-writing, until you finally arrive at your USP. A fresh mind and perspective are essential, so I would recommend you doing this at the beginning of the day rather than at the end when you are tired. When you are happy go for it.

Of course, once you have tried out your USP for a while, or if there are changes within your business module then you might want to come back and redo the exercise again and create a new USP.

Check out Wikipedia for examples of a few famous USP’s:

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