Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is not a vision, a mission statement, or a tagline, but it incorporates the critical information contained in each. Your USP is the single most important marketing tool you have, and few businesses create one well.
Your Unique Selling Proposition is a concise statement of the single most important reason why someone should do business with you (not-for-profits read: donate to you) and not your competitors. It needs to be brief, specific, compelling, and unique.
“When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.” Wow. It doesn’t get much better than that. And that’s the reason you know it was Fed Ex that introduced it even though they haven’t used it in years. It is instructive to note that once the industry matured, there were many competitors that could offer the same level of service and back it up with gurantees. Thus the original USP, though powerful, was no longer unique and thus did not differentiate the company from the competition.
Business people often struggle with creating a USP. They come up with platitudes such as, “quality service at an affordable price.”Â That’s certainly not a bad business model, but it is not specific enough to compel someone to do business with you. If that is your model, then you might want to start there and build. Perhaps “we answer the phone in 3 rings or less and we’ll have a repairman at your door within 4 hours, guaranteed.” Heck, I don’t have anything I need repaired but I’d be tempted to break something just to test that guarantee.
Of course you need to careful that you can keep your promise. Integrity and credibility are key. Don’t promise to answer the phone within 3 rings if you are not willing to hire more people to answer the phone as your business grows. Be specific, but be credible.
Ideally your USP will become your tagline, but don’t make the mistake of creating a tagline or thinking that the one you have is your USP. Taglines are often cute and there purpose is to be memorable. But unless you have Coke’s money, you’re not going to teach the world sing, and even if you do, it won’t sell more soda for you.
Better to be boring and compelling than funny and memorable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told a friend about a great commercial but couldn’t remember what they were selling.
The process of creating a good USP entails digging deep into your business to truly understand what differentiates you from the competition. What makes you unique? Write it down. Talk to your key employees. Talk to your customers. Find out what it is and start by just writing it out. Then cut it, edit it, and play with it until it is concise, compelling, and credible. And once you have it, you will have a foundation to truly build your business.
If you are looking for a marketing or fundraising consultant that makes your fundraising campaign or sales go up… guaranteed, we should talk. And if you don’t already have a compelling USP, it might be worth spending a few hours or investing a bit of money to create one. I’m pretty busy with my current business, but since I love creating them, I’ll offer to do a USP for the first 2 people to Paypal $500 to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll talk within 24 hours and you’ll have a compelling USP you can use to build your business within the week or you’ll have your money back.
And if you think you already have a compelling USP, I’m sure my readers would love to see it as much as I would. Just add it to the comments on this post.