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Digital entrepreneurship is on the rise.
More and more people are creating and selling products online without the need to invest in physical spaces. They are starting YouTube channels, blogs, online courses, and eCommerce to earn an income and attain financial freedom.
The Covid-19 pandemic largely contributed to this rise in digital entrepreneurship.
As millions of people stayed home during the pandemic, digital channels became the most popular alternative to crowded stores, in-person shopping, and entertainment. And the trend is still strong: Digital Commerce shows that the US eCommerce industry grew by 14.2% in 2021.
The creator economy is also growing stronger as people spend more time online than before the pandemic. On Instagram alone, 95 million videos and photos are shared every day.
If you want to join this market and run an online business, you should worry about competition because it’s getting harder to stand out on the internet. This is because companies are churning out more content to get the attention of their target audience online.
Read this guide to learn more about unique selling propositions: a marketing strategy that will help you stand out and attract prospects to your brand.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and why do you need one?
Your unique selling point is a marketing strategy that aims to highlight what is different/superior about your product or service compared to your competitors.
Your unique selling proposition plays to your strengths and should be based on what makes your brand uniquely valuable to your customer.
Being “unique” sometimes is not good enough to stand out. You have to create your USP around something your prospects care about, or they will never pay attention.
Many content creators out there claim to be experts in their respective niches. For example, a niche in business coaching focuses on helping entrepreneurs grow their eCommerce shops to 7-figures. There are hundreds of business coaches claiming to be experts in this niche.
How would you stand out if you were in this niche?
The only way to stand out and attract entrepreneurs to your coaching program would be to focus on what makes you unique.
For instance, you may have built multiple 8-figure eCommerce shops before, and you have a secret tactic not known to many people who never pass the 6-figure level.
Creating a unique selling proposition helps increase brand awareness and successfully target sales efforts. In a competitive market like the creator economy, it’s not enough to list the benefits of your product, but find the real value you bring to your customers.
Let’s use the same example of the eCommerce business coach. Just stating that you can help eCommerce entrepreneurs grow their business to 6-figures is not enough to differentiate yourself.
You must dive deeper and identify the key problems e-commerce owners experience, such as beating their competition. And then come up with the solution and use it as your USP.
It can be like, “eCommerce business coach that helps you grow your online shop to 7-figures by differentiating you from your competition.”
What unique selling proposition isn’t
Your unique selling proposition is not something like free shipping, marketing offers, taglines, or even a strong return policy.
A USP is a statement that shows what differentiates your brand in the eyes of your prospect. It should share how your brand intends to solve your prospect’s painful problem.
Look at the USP example we shared above. Any eCommerce owner stuck at the 6-figures level because of competition will be driven to try that business coach.
We will share more examples later. But first, let me show you the benefits of creating a unique selling proposition:
- Standing out from the competition;
- Implementing a more effective and focused marketing strategy;
- Creating a message that resonates more with the audience;
- Forming a more positive relationship with the audience;
- Increasing brand awareness.
Examples of unique selling propositions to inspire you
It is said that if you want to be a successful hunter, learn the ways of the experienced hunter. In the same way, if you want to create powerful unique selling propositions, you should study successful ones.
Starbucks has a simple, unique selling proposition: “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.”
This unique selling proposition answers what Starbucks is known for. They offer premium coffee, the ultimate desire of all coffee connoisseurs.
Starbucks did not choose to present itself as a luxurious brand or the cheapest coffee on the market. Instead, they decided to focus on the desires of their customers.
Coffee lovers prefer their coffee brewed well, and Starbucks uses this idea to differentiate themselves in the saturated beverage industry.
Their unique selling proposition has worked wonders for them. Starbucks grew from a small coffee shop in Washington to become one of the most recognized brands in the world.
By setting standards and living by them, Starbucks attracted and retained coffee lovers in America and worldwide.
Mars and Murie’s unique selling proposition is “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” It describes the solid sugar crust that holds M&M’s chocolate together, so it doesn’t melt in your hand.
The creators of this USP realized that only M&M’s chocolate didn’t melt on their customers’ hands at the time. All their competitors had sweets that could not be carried for long because they melted, soiling the customers’ hands.
M&M used this unique selling proposition as its slogan for decades.
FedEx was the first freight business to introduce overnight air freight and package training. That is how their marketers coined the slogan: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
This unique selling proposition differentiated FedEx from its competition by appealing to its prospects as the best package delivery service globally.
This USP stands out because it focuses on the feature that FedEx was the only one offering in the freight industry.
4. Voodoo Doughnuts
Voodoo Doughnuts’ unique selling proposition is “Menu and Experience.” Unlike most other brands I’ve shared above, their USP is different because it doesn’t mention their product. Instead, it describes the experience their customers will have when consuming their product.
Voodoo offers an expansive menu of doughnuts, including crazy ghosts and ghouls, doughnuts with “bacon” on top, ones with eyeballs, and others loaded with Fruit Loops. They have a unique experience with late opening hours (as late as 2 am) and a cash-only policy.
Voodoo has since become a place with long lines because it is worth waiting for. You know that you’re getting a delicious treat that you cannot find anywhere at the end of it.
You can follow Voodoo’s USP example by formulating a USP based on the experience your customers get after using your product.
5. Nerd Fitness
Nerd Fitness’ USP is “level up your life.” Nerd fitness targets a niche that was neglected by other fitness companies before it joined the industry – nerds. And in relatable terms, they help people who struggle to get in shape.
The USP, level up your life, relates to how nerds talk in their daily life, like when playing video games. Using the same language as their audiences have enabled them to stand and capture a huge market share in their industry.
From this unique selling proposition, you learn the power of speaking like your customer. Study their behaviors and common phrases and try to develop a USP out of them.
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Best practices to sell a brilliant unique selling proposition
Now that you’ve seen some of the most successful USPs, you need to learn how to create a USP that differentiates your brand and attracts customers.
To capture your customers’ attention with a USP, it should describe their desired outcome. This is because people are selfish and will only pay attention to something that solves their problems.
Here are the steps to create an excellent unique selling proposition:
Know your ideal customer
This is the first step to forming a killer USP. Understand your customers’ pain points and desires. Knowing how your customers think will help you develop the words that will capture their attention. To find out what motivates your customers’ buying behavior and decisions.
To differentiate your business from the competition, you must know them in detail. Identify companies that sell products similar to yours, and understand their market strategy.
Study how they came up with their unique selling proposition if they have any. You can learn more about benchmarking here.
Conduct surveys with buyers
Your customer is your best marketer because they have experienced your product and can easily describe it in words your prospects will understand. So, conduct a survey with as many of your customers as possible and let them tell you their experience using your product.
Use the net promoter score system to identify your most satisfied customers. A net promoter score system shows you the likelihood of a customer referring your product to someone on a scale of 1-10.
Customers who choose 9 and 10 are your promoters. You should interview them to learn why they are obsessed with your product. You can catch some phrases that may be fundamental to creating a powerful unique selling proposition.
Focus on what makes you unique
Once you identify what makes your customers choose you over your competitors, use it in your USP. It is better to be known for one thing than trying to be everything to your prospects.
Remember the M&M unique selling proposition? It focused on the idea that it is only M&M chocolates that don’t melt in their prospects’ hands because of the special sugar crust coat. The USP was so successful that they still use it today.
Ask yourself important questions about your business
When you know your business like the palm of your hand, it’s easy to notice what differentiates it from its competitors. If you work with a team, you can brainstorm with them to generate ideas for your USP. Ask these questions:
- What does my business stand for?
- What attributes of my business are different from my competitors?
- What aspects of my business allow me to serve my customers better?
Find your unique selling proposition to take your business to the next level
To thrive in a saturated market, you need to differentiate yourself. And a unique selling point can help you do that by giving you a competitive advantage in your industry.
Your marketing messaging also gets more precise when you have a USP, helping you resonate with your target customers.
Use the unique selling proposition strategy to define your point of view, attract the right buyers and create a recognizable brand in your niche.
And if you want more strategies to grow your brand, check out our content about institutional marketing!