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How to create a “Unique Selling Proposition” for your products or services

How to create a “Unique Selling Proposition” for your products or services

By Jim Straw –

Here lately, I’ve had a number of calls saying …

“I really need to find a unique product to sell by mail or on the Internet” – or –

“My product doesn’t have anything unique about it” – or –

“How can I make my product more unique.”

The first thing I tell them is to “go back and read the book,” again. — Not my book, Dan Kennedy’s book (or newsletter).

Dan Kennedy, as you should know, is the chief proponent of using a “Unique Selling Point” … or “Unique Selling Proposition” (either way, I’ll use USP from now on) … to  market your products or services.  But, Dan does not say you have to have a “unique”  product, or find something “unique” about your product, or make your product more “unique.”

It is the “selling point” (or “selling proposition”) itself that has to be “unique” … which may, or may not, have to do with your product or service being unique.

As an example:  Coffee is pretty much coffee … isn’t it? — But, Folgers is “Mountain Grown” coffee; while Maxwell House coffee is “Good To The Last Drop.”

Whoa!  You say “Mountain Grown” coffee is unique.

Wrong … caffeine breathe.  All coffee is grown in the mountains … even Folgers …  because that’s the only place coffee plants grow.

Folgers used “Mountain Grown” as its USP for their coffee back before most people knew coffee was only grown in the mountains. — Beyond that, once Folgers used that USP, no other coffee company would dare say their coffee was grown in the mountains, too.  It would sound too much like they were trying to copy Folgers.

Back when I was in the banking business, the USP I used for our bank was “We Never Forget What Gives Money Its Value … Somebody Exchanged Work For It!”

When you begin creating a marketing program for your products (or services), before you do anything else, you need to make two lists.

The first list is your Fact List. — In that list, you annotate everything about the properties of your product … what it’s made of … where it comes from … what it does … what it doesn’t do … how it does what it does  (Sometimes, I go so far as to take a product apart and separately list every component in it.)

Once you have your Fact List, you need to make a Benefits List. — I usually make two Benefits Lists.  One is labeled “Tangible Benefits” and the other list is “Intangible Benefits.” — The “Tangible” list may include the words “light weight,” while the  “Intangible” list may say, “you can lift it with one finger.” — I try to write at least one benefit … preferably more … for every item on the Fact List. — Get the idea?

When you have all your Facts and Benefits written down, read those lists over and over until something “unique” hits you between the eyes.  It might be a phrase from your Benefits List … like “Good To The Last Drop” … or a descriptive from your Fact List … like “Mountain Grown.”

Remember, it is the “selling point” that has to be “unique” … not necessarily your product or service. — But, you might not want to carry it too far.

Although I have wracked my feeble brain … squeezed my little grey cells until they cried … I can’t for the life of me remember who it was who commented on an ad they had read.  I can’t remember whether it was in one of Johnny Carson’s monologues; or some stand-up comic’s routine, or if the ad being commented on was even real but, the punch line; supposedly from the ad itself, was …

“Made From Real Plastic!”

That might be carrying the concept of the USP just a step too far.  Then again, it might just be “unique” enough to grab the reader’s attention and get them to read the rest of the ad.

  • http://SwipeFileMonthly.com Jason Hart

    When “unique” really isn’t unique…great post Jim. Ties right back to Claude Hopkins development of the Schlitz “Purity” marketing campaign in the early 20th century. Excellent!

  • http://www.Word-of-Mouth-Marketing.com David Breth

    WOW!!! this article J.F. (Jim) Straw wrote (How to create a “Unique Selling Proposition” for your products or services) is dynamic. I know many enterperners who have invested hundreds and some thousands of dollars to have their USP created for them but here Jim literally GIVES the exact same formula the “gurus” use to generate money getting USPs.

    Once you create your USP here is a little about “How to Integrate Your USP into Your Current Business for More Sales”

    Once you have your USP you need to make sure to integrate it into your entire business. This is the foundation of your marketing plan and the overall image of your business. Without your foundation USP, the business will appear scatter-brained. Read on to find how to integrate a unique selling proposition in your business.

    Once you have created your amazing message, the process does not stop there. You may have completed all the necessary homework and have spent the hours needed to build the perfect USP, but if you don’t integrate it into your small business, all of that work is for nothing.

    The unique selling proposition creates a whole image of your business.

    This is a message that tells the customer exactly how you will treat them and it tells the customer how your business is different than all of the others in your niche. Your USP will be a powerful decision maker as well. It will guide you when facing customer service issues, when developing new products, when advertising, and even when hiring employees.

    Your unique selling proposition will guide the look of your business, perhaps even drive the colors, and it will take your voice-mail message to a new level. It’s all about integration. When you integrate the USP into your business, you create a whole picture for your customers. They see your marketing message on a billboard. They then enter your store (web site, blog, etc.)and they are greeted with a message that is appropriate to your store’s image. They see a business that is built entirely around the USP, instead of something that looks like a grocery store, where every shelf is supposed to sell on its own.

    Once you have developed your unique selling proposition, take a hard look at the image of your business, on-line or off. If the entire package, the entire look isn’t fitting in with the image that you want portrayed to the customer, then you should work to adjust it so that your message permeates all the way through everything. There are over a hundred places that you can integrate your USP into your business, and if you use even a handful of them, you will be able to pull in customers like a magnet, leaving your competition in the dust, with a shotgun marketing
    approach that is costing them a fortune to operate.

    “Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for Direct Marketing Success”

    If your business used direct marketing to sell its products or services, you need to start your marketing process with a unique selling proposition or USP. Your USP is the bedrock of your entire marketing campaign and without it your advertising will appear scattered and your customers won’t see the big picture. Read on to find out how you can incorporate a unique selling proposition into your direct marketing business.

    When you create a marketing campaign without a USP, it’s like driving across country without a map to a place you have never been. Sure you know the general direction you want to head, but if you don’t have written instructions to yourself, you will go through a lot of trial and error before you get there. A unique selling proposition is exactly what you need to get there.

    Again like J.F. (Jim) Straw shared in his phenomenal article above… Your USP is a statement that explains to your customers exactly what you are going to do for them. It also explains how you will solve their problem and how you are different than anyone else in your industry. It tells your customers why they should buy from your versus every other available choice out there. The USP will also build trust.

    As you incorporate your unique selling proposition into your business, you will be able to show your customer that they can expect the same treatment over and over again. The customer will come to recognize your USP in the appearance of all of the direct marketing material that you send out. From you letter head, to your business cards, to your sales-letters; your unique selling proposition will permeate all aspects of your direct marketing business.

    When you start to send out your direct marketing advertising, whether it’s through the mail or on the internet, as long as all of your sales material stays in the same guideline of the USP, your customers will come to understand that your business really stands for what you say it does. A prospect may get a letter in the mail for a new product that you offer. The way you suggest that product to the customer will all be based upon your USP.

    The customer can read this statement at the top of the sales letter or somewhere in the copy and will understand exactly how you will treat him if he decides to do business with you sometime in the future. The unique selling proposition is critical to the success of your direct marketing business. Once properly implemented, it can be a tool that will act as a magnet for customers, bringing you more business than you ever thought possible.

    “Create a Customer Magnet with Your USP”

    Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the absolute foundation of your entire business. Without a solid USP, you will end up with confused customers, a shotgun-approached marketing plan and a business that lacks in direction. There are good USPs and bad ones, but those that have it figured out can really bring in the business no matter what shape the economy is in.

    Keep reading to learn how you can develop your business around a solid unique selling proposition.

    If you do anything to improve your business this year 2011, it should be to go back to the basics and develop a USP for your business that really explains why your customers should do business with you instead of anyone else in your industry.

    Your business does not have to be completely unique. That is nearly impossible and eventually the copycats always catch up. Instead, find your unique approach to the same industry that everyone else is in. For example, you may be the dry cleaner of the millionaires, or the oil change place for school teachers. In fact I just saw an oil change place the other day that said it was the local oil change headquarters
    for Harley Davidson. People will now have their cars changed there too, just because they will feel more macho.

    The key is how you position your business in the market and secure that position so that no one can take it away from you even when times get tough. You allow your USP to permeate your business so that no matter which angle your customer notices your business from, you will be giving off the exact same marketing message.

    Do you homework before you start the process. You want your unique selling proposition to last for years, if not decades, just look at M and M’s (…melt in your mouth, not in your hand). That has been around over 50 years and still applies today and will still apply in 50 more. They never have to change it and no company can ever take that position away from them.

    The longer you keep your USP, the longer you keep the position in the marketplace and the harder it will be for your competition to get anywhere close to it. The smartest business owners use this little-known secret and so should you. The USP can be a goldmine for you if you use it correctly, bringing in customers that have no other option, because you have positioned yourself as the cornerstone for that market.

    “Improve Your Direct Mail Business with Your Unique Selling Proposition”

    If you have a direct mail business, many of us are guilty of the shotgun approach, sending out any product that may interest our customers. With the proper implementation of a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) you will be able to focus your business on providing exactly what your customers want. Read on to find out more.

    With your USP, you will be able to tell your customers exactly what your business stands for. They will be able to know exactly how your business is going to solve their problem and it will guide your decisions as to what products you will market to your customers.

    The unique selling proposition is statement that tells your customers exactly how they will be treated and it will tell them exactly what you are going to do for them differently than any other business. You can integrate your USP into your entire business, permeating every aspect with the things that you will offer your customers, from the way you answer your phones, to the way you handle customer service, to the products that you introduce. If an item does not fit into the model
    of your corporate unique selling proposition then it gets skipped.

    You USP is more than just a sentence you print on a business card. It should be a way of life for your direct marketing business. Each time you interact with a customer, even in print, you will need to make sure that your entire marketing package lines up with your USP. It’s all about consistency. If the customer knows that they will get the same experience, quality, treatment, products, price, etc. every time they do business with you, you can create customers for years.

    Your unique selling proposition is a tool and it’s also the first building block, the foundation, of every good marketing plan. Don’t let your business go without one, or you could end up like most entrepreneurs floundering in a sea of mismatched products and ideas, chasing customers away without knowing it.

    “Creating Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)”

    Unique selling proposition creation is a time-consuming process that most business owners don’t want to take on. If you can create a USP that sells, the money is yours for the taking.

    The USP is a statement which tells the prospect exactly how your particular business will solve their problem. These have many other names such as tag line, elevator pitch, unique sales proposition, etc. The bottom line is that a good unique selling proposition will let the customer know what you are going to for them and how you will solve their most pressing problem in a way that is different than all of your competitors.

    The USP is something that goes way beyond just a line on a business card. This statement permeates an entire business, so it is critical that it’s done correctly. In order to start building a USP for your customers, you will need to interview them about their business, their customers, and the way they operate daily. You may need to look at their web site, their physical business and listen to the way they answer the phone before you can make a full recommendation.

    Unique selling proposition creation can be a very lucrative business for the copywriter that really understands how to bring the idea of the business into a single sentence or two. A properly written USP can be worth thousands to a business that wants to deliver the same message for years, yet does not have to time to create it him/herself.

    This is where you come in. You can offer the USP creation as another ala carte item among your copy-writing services that you offer. You are already interviewing the client and doing the research about them. You might as well move it one step further and help them create the foundation of their marketing plan.

    There are many businesses out there that have created unique selling propositions that do not say anything. These are weak promises that talk about customer satisfaction and quality. If you can find these businesses, you can offer then a free consultation and easily overhaul their USP once you have the proper training. This can be a very lucrative offer for both sides of the equation.

    “Integrate Your Unique Selling Proposition into Your (Guerrilla) Marketing Campaign”

    If you are starting a new entrepreneurial venture, or you are trying to revitalize a current project, your USP is the place to start. Your unique selling proposition will not only serve to protect your business against your competition, but it will also serve to bring you more customers.

    Read on to find out how it will help you.

    Before you go any further with your entrepreneurial project, you must create a rock-solid USP. Your unique selling proposition is the foundation of your marketing plan, without it your marketing process will be scattered and random. Your USP should focus on exactly how you will solve your customer’s burning problem and how you are the only business that can solve it correctly.

    Once you have developed your USP, you can use is as a defensive shield to ward off the competition from stealing your customers. If you give yourself the correct positioning with the first-mover advantage, all of the other businesses will appear to be riding your coattails. They will look like an also-ran.

    Not only can your unique selling proposition be used as a shield, but better yet it can be used as a customer magnet. With the same positioning as previously mentioned, you will not only keep your current customers but you will draw in new customers like moths to a candle.

    Your USP is not something you can create in 5 minutes. It needs expert attention, because the entire image of your business is at stake. You will be using your unique selling proposition for many years to come, so it is important for you to treat it very seriously and with a lot of thought before implementing it.

    NOW.

    Go back to the original article (above) by J.F. (Jim) Straw and follow his step-by-step system to create a solid USP… then implement. Remember Action = Success!!!

    David Breth