4 Steps To Discover Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The answer to that all important question “Why should anyone buy a product/service from YOU?” should come from your Unique Selling Proposition (USP, sometimes also called Unique Selling Point).

Shortly after publishing yesterday’s article USP: Differentiate Your Site In 30 Seconds, a comment was made asking for any tips to work on your unique selling proposition. So, here goes.

The USP is the one thing that makes your product and your business different from every other product and business in the same market.

How to find your USP?Find Your Unique Selling Proposition

The USP is a result of a matching process, a comparison between your product and company on one side and the market, more specifically your very specific target group on the other side.

The four steps to find your USP are:

  1. Evaluate your strengths and significant competencies
    Take a good look at the features and benefits of your product or service and at your company and then decide what differentiates you and your business from the pack. Is it the value you provide, how big a problem you solve, your experience, know how, customer service, delivery speed and so on?
    Try to quantify the differences as much as possible!
  2. Analyze your market to find out which benefits are most crucial to your target prospects. What benefits do they appreciate most and which do they actively look for?
    Review leading trade publishings, analyze newsletters and search the Net for news and trends about your niche. Here’s another great tip: survey your customers to gather data.
  3. Compare the answers from steps 1 and 2 and encircle the matches.
    Whenever details of both lists match, you can build a USP. If you have no matches, you have to digg deeper until you find them. It’s not always easy to find a USP, but in order to differentiate yourself and your product, you should have one.
  4. Take your TOP match(es) and use it to position yourself and your product in the market.
    Summarize the results from step 3 into one, compact, compelling, motivating phrase that will persuade your clients to trade their cash for the benefits presented by your products.
    Your significant product benefits and the way in which you structure your offering is your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ or ‘USP.’
USP example
Image credit: lovrin

You can find a USP for every product or service that you sell, but you could also look at your companies product range and develop a unique selling proposition for that. If you take this route and go more general, you’re developing a brand.

If you’re having difficulties finding a good USP, start digging deeper in steps 1 and 2.
A great way to get into the smallest details is to have someone interview you to get the answers to questions like
– what exactly is it that your product or comapny does?
– what services and/or products do you provide?
– to whom do you provide these services/products; who are your customers?
– what makes you better than other companies?
– why do you do that better; how and how much?
– what needs do you fill for your customers?
Then, after the interviewer asks everyone of these questions, have her ask this one, “So what?” You should give more. Both you and the interviewer may come up with unexpected answers and solutions.

Finding a USP can be hard. As a marketer you need to discover and fine-tune or even refocus your USP.

Did I leave something out? Post it in the comments.

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6 thoughts on “4 Steps To Discover Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

  1. Case Stevens says:

    If you don’t believe in your own product, service or USP, look around for something else. It won’t work.

  2. Raymond Chua says:

    Hi Case,

    Thanks for sharing the 4 tips. I’ll work on mine. 🙂

  3. Case Stevens says:

    @Evan, Colby

    You guys not only have your horses on the wrong side of the wagon, they’re also pulling in different directions.

    YOU decide in which (highly profitable!) niche you’re going to operate (re-read Your Best Internet Business Opportunities) and you will separate yourself from your competitors by a great USP.

    If you weren’t online, but had to open a brick and mortar shop instead, you would do the same, wouldn’t you:
    – What’s my niche?
    – Is it profitable?
    – Where is my market (always close to my nearest competitors; that’s where the shoppers are!)
    – In what way will my business be unique!

    See the picture above. It seems, there are no hotels with Clean Restrooms around, except for this one.

    What you guys are doing now is
    – establish a shop
    – see who comes along
    – find yourself a niche.

    That is absolutely the other way around.
    Close your shop for a few days.
    Start all over again.
    Do it the right way this time.
    You still may use the shop you have, only now with a great USP.

    Sounds hard, but it’s the only way.
    Let me know if this helps.

  4. Case, That’s true. However let me give you an example of what I mean…

    I used to own a promotional products company for many years. One of the things that we provided our customers was custom printed pens. After watching my search phrases I discovered that the higher number of searches were done for “advertising pens” rather than “custom printed pens.” I changed the wording on both my online and offline marketing material and found that it truely was a term that my clients – even the big ones related to more. It seemed like an awkward phrase to me but not to my customers.

    Our lingo is not always translated the way we think it is in the minds of our customers. I believe that search terms give some insite to the thought process of our prospects and clients.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  5. Case Stevens says:

    @Melody Anything you can meaningful use in the matching process is welcome, but remember, you have to convince your prospects with your USP, not the search engines.

  6. Case Stevens says:

    That’s super Melody. Not only did you try another search phrase, but you also tested the results…
    Great example. 🙂

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