Thursday 23 January, 2014

7 Common Unique Selling Proposition Mistakes

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is central to your business model. It’s the promise that you make to your customers. It communicates to them what you do and what you’re about. Like your brand, it’s part of everything you do. Unlike your brand, it offers concrete benefits and tells customers exactly what sets you apart.

It’s hard to come up with a unique, original and effective USP, but here are a few of the common mistakes businesses make so that you can avoid them.

Just Short of Meaning

Your USP isn’t a slogan like ‘Just Do It’ or ‘Coke Is It.’ Like a slogan, it needs to stick in your customers’ minds, but unlike a slogan, it’s not just for branding. It needs to communicate concrete information about your company and its products. It needs to be short but informative.

Being the Best

Most companies naturally think they’re the best at what they do. They may know it and their customers may know it too. But that’s not good enough for a USP. Rather than saying ‘We’re the best company at doing such and such,’ you need to say, ‘We’re the only company that does such and such.’ Find what it is that only you do.

Too Broad

Naturally, you don’t want to alienate any potential customers, so you may feel like casting your net wide. But that’s a mistake when crafting your USP. You’re offering something specific to a specific segment of the market. Be as specific as possible about what you offer.

Features vs. Benefits

Your USP includes some features that make your company unique, but the way you frame these features is important. Rather than telling people these features, you need to emphasize the benefits these features offer. Focus on how dealing with your company makes their lives better.

Too Wordy

You have a lot to communicate with your USP, but you don’t want to go too long. A good USP can be read and understood at a glance. It needs to be concise. It also should be free of jargon or big words that not everyone will understand.

Not Enough U in the USP

The whole point of your USP is in the U – ‘unique.’ It needs to communicate what sets your company apart. You need to make sure it does that. If there is someone else exactly like you offering the same products or services, you need to think of a unique twist. Why would anybody choose you over the competition? If no reason comes to mind, you need to change something and make a reason.

Fix and Forget It

Finally, don’t leave your USP alone. Come up with a strong USP that works now, but realize that you may have to change it in the future. Your offerings or the market may change. When this happens, you need to update a new USP that works in the new environment.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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