Competition is normal in business and is tougher and tougher when it comes to e-commerce where it’s not just your local competitors that you need to worry about. That’s why it’s crucial for all entrepreneurs to understand how to identify a unique selling proposition to help guide your branding and marketing decisions.
Customers have so many options, and they want to quickly understand what makes one product better than another. Knowing the right way to position yourself and your products can mean the difference between standing out and blending in.
What is a unique selling proposition?
What does your business do, that no one else does? If you’re having trouble answering this question, your business probably doesn’t have a Unique Selling Proposition, the marketing concept that differentiates your business from your competitors. Simply put, it’s the ‘why you?’
Forming an opinionated and deliberate unique selling proposition helps focus your messaging and influences branding, copywriting, and other marketing decisions.
Also, it should play to your strengths and be based on what makes your brand or product uniquely valuable to your customers. But being “unique” is rarely enough, you have to differentiate around some aspect your target audience cares about, in order for your messaging to be effective.
Why is it important?
It’s your business personality
In the digital age, the e-commerce industry is full of ‘really great products’. Your USP is your unique selling point and your brand personality. Without one, your business could be lacking the memorability required to engage and acquire potential customers.
It’s the foundation of your brand, who you are, what you do and why. It should not only define your business but also set it apart from others.
Brings you focus
Once your unique selling proposition is established, running your business will be much more straightforward. A clear USP should influence your marketing strategy, determine your target audience and help you structure your content based on your desired customers. It can also assist you in setting goals and targets.
On top of all these, a clear idea about what makes your business unique will provide clarity for your employees helping them gain a better understanding of why they are working for the company, and what it is they are trying to do.
A stronger relationship with customers
If you want to build a solid relationship with your customers, you need to understand what they want. A business with a strong unique selling proposition will engage and excite potential consumers.
Your business is much more likely to acquire loyal customers if you have a distinctive feature. It could be the materials your products are made of, where they are manufactured, or the personal story behind your business.
It can affect your price
A limited edition, rare or one of a kind product is worth more. This is the basic concept of supply and demand. If your business has a distinctive feature that no one else is offering, you will have more control over how to price your product.
How to develop it
Every USP is going to be unique but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a process you can follow to put yourself on the right track.
Make a list of what makes you special. And get specific. Breakout products and compelling marketing messages rely on precision: they solve the exact right problem and communicate that benefit to customers in their own words.
Research the competition. Who are your competitors and what are their unique selling propositions? Look for gaps where you can potentially introduce your brand differently. Products in the same category can be positioned different ways.
Compare your most unique angles against your audience’s needs. Are there any customer needs that haven’t been filled? Do you see any pain points that you can appeal to that your competitors haven’t?
Compile the data. Take the information that you’ve learned, and sift through it to single out your strongest USP.
Think about viable ways to apply it across your business. Applied properly, a USP can be woven into different areas of your business, from your brand name to your return policy to reinforce the idea to your customers.
Define your competitive edge
Your products don’t need to be wholly unique in and of themselves for you to have a compelling unique selling proposition. Instead, look for a spot in the market where you can plant your flag that is relatively untouched by the competition.
There may be a dozen ways you could sell your products, but your USP is the big idea that best positions your brand according to what your customers care about and what your competitors aren’t.