A unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes your business stand out from your competitors and tells your customers what is special about you. Many new business owners don’t know how to determine their USP; either that or they’re suffering from the results of not having one. So we’ve put together a guide on how to identify and develop yours.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Having passion and love for your products and services is great, but don’t forget that what you’re selling is meant to meet your customers’ needs, not yours. Take some time to really scrutinise what your customers want.
Say you owned a restaurant, for example. Yes, people are going to come to your place for food, but is food all they want? What would make them come back to you and not your competition? The answer could be quality, convenience, reliability, cleanliness, friendliness or customer service.
Price is never the only reason people buy. If your competition is beating you on pricing (it could be because they’re larger) then you have to find another feature that addresses your customers’ needs, then build your sales and promotional efforts around that feature.
Know what motivates your customers’ behaviour and buying decisions
Effective marketing does require you to be a little bit of a psychologist. Don’t panic, we don’t mean you need to know the ins and outs of the brain – but you should be aware of what drives and motivates customers. Try and go beyond the traditional demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) which is what most businesses collect to analyse their customer trends. Going back to our restaurant example, it isn’t enough to know that 75 percent of your customers are in the 18-25 age range. Study their motives for buying your type of food, peer pressure, convenience and more.
Cosmetic and beauty product companies are great examples of industries that know the value of psychologically orientated promotion. People buy these products based on their specific desires (for luxury, glamour and so on), not on their needs.
Uncover the real reasons customers choose you over a competitor
As your business grows, you’ll be able to ask your customers why they come to you. The restaurant owner could ask customers why they like his food over others, plus ask them to rate the importance of features he offers, including taste, size, ingredients, service and atmosphere. You’ll be surprised at how honest people are when you ask how you can improve your services.
If your business is new and starting out, you won’t have many customers to ask yet, so “shop” your competition instead. Many retailers visit their competitors’ stores to see what and how they are selling.
After going through this three-step market process, you need to take the next (and hardest) step. Really think, what features of your business jump out at you as something that sets you apart? What can you promote? How can you position your business to highlight your USP?
Successful business ownership is not necessarily about having a unique product or service; it’s about making your product stand out – even in a market filled with similar items.