Your unique selling point or USP, is what sets you apart from your competition, and it’s not an easy element to define well but once you do, boy does it make marketing your business a whole lot easier!
It’s what you offer that no-one else does in your market. And it’s much more than offering higher quality, a lower price, or a better client experience because everyone else will claim that!
Instead, for small business owners who offer services, it’s also often as much about you as an individual as ‘you are your business’! It’s your unique set of skills and experience in your specialist area, which makes you and your services unique. That may then be combined with the high quality, low price more generic elements but combined it will mean that you have a USP that rocks.
It’s good to talk!
I meet once a month with a great group of like-minded businesswomen – just 4 of us, but as solo business owners, it gives us a chance to get some different perspectives, some support, and some accountability too. Last month we discussed USP’s which got me thinking about how challenging it is to really define what makes each of us unique, in a way that we can then use that USP to market our services to the right audience. An audience that is going to ‘get’ what we are about and how our USP is going to help them to achieve their business goals or resolve any challenges they may have.
A strong USP, well communicated, will help clients quickly understand what your business offers and why they should choose you over the competition. This is vital with so much noise when it comes to marketing these days – you really need to stand out and resonate straight away or just get bypassed for someone who does make an impact.
Developing your USP means having a good understanding of your target market, your competition, and your industry as a whole.
Understanding your target audience
Developing a USP begins with knowing who your ideal client is. Anyone who follows me on social media, receives my newsletters or reads my blog will know how much importance I put on defining your ideal client as step 1 of any marketing strategy or activity! So I am not going to go into detail here other than to say you should know them inside out – not just demographics but what keeps them awake at night and how your services could get them sleeping like a baby!
What makes you different from your competitors?
You should be able to list 2 or 3 elements that you believe your business is really good at. Now look at your main competitors and see what they are offering.
Do they actually deliver, or is it just that they’ve got a good copywriter! If you publicly state you offer something – delivering on that is key to living your USP. Be honest with yourself here and really specific – generic and beige is not going to get those clients wanting to sign up!
Are there any gaps in the market?
Are there elements of your combination of skills and experience that are not being met by anyone else in your niche? For example, one of my ladies specialises in HR but is also a qualified employment law expert which gives her a unique ability to offer the legal expertise and knowledge to advise client internally on any employment law through to supporting and representing them in Tribunal. She has taken the time to identify who else in her region offers this – only 3 in the South of the UK and the other two don’t offer the HR depth of experience that she does. Boom – what a fabulous basis for a USP!
Get others involved in fine-tuning your USP
Next, create a clear statement that describes your USP – and then go and get feedback from a variety of clients, colleagues and other objective business connections so you can fine-tune it into something really powerful.
Be bold with who you ask – not just your buddies but individuals who will be really honest with you.
What to do with your USP now you have one
Your USP should drive your marketing strategy, whether you are just setting up your business or refining your brand through to creating a new website to starting to ramp up your social media campaigns and engagement.
Before you start anything, always ask yourself if your written and visual content clearly communicates the benefits you are offering to your ideal clients.
Your USP should not really change too often but it is important to keep it fresh so keep an eye on your industry to ensure there are no new players who could undermine it. Likewise, look for further gaps where perhaps you can niche your offering even more.
It goes without saying that if this all sounds like a total faff – a 1-2-1 session with me could give you the basis to get out of the starting blocks and really discover your unique place in your market. So get in touch and let’s get you standing out from those who want to stay in the beige crowd!
#smallbusinessmarketing #makemarketingmatter #idealclient #beunique