What makes you so special anyway?

Hey guys! On today’s episode of the show, we’re talking about how to explain what makes your business special. In other words: what makes you so special?

Listen to today’s episode via iTunes or right here:

Today’s question comes from Mark of enjoylifeslowly.com

Mark asks: “Not how to find your USP BEFORE you launch, but how exactly to stay focused and communicate it AFTER you launch.”

Great question Mark.

First, for those of you who don’t know, what is this USP thing Mark is talking about?

USP is a marketing acronym that stands for Unique Selling Proposition. It’s essentially a company’s secret sauce. It’s the reason why people should choose your business over another. It’s a specific thing you can describe and market.

One of the best examples of a USP recently has been Tom’s shoes. Tom’s gives away one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair you purchase. That’s a unique selling proposition. It’s a reason you might decide to buy Tom’s shoes, and it’s certainly a reason why you won’t forget about Tom’s.

Too many people think of a USP as some vague concept related to branding, or like a tagline for a company. It isn’t either of those things. A USP is a specific selling point, something that makes your product stand out from the competition, and something that gives potential buyers a firm reason to choose your product instead of something else.

Here’s another example. Domino’s pizza used to offer a “30 minutes or it’s free” delivery guarantee. Imagine how much business that drove, and how much press they got when that guarantee was new.

A product can have more than one unique selling proposition. A USP doesn’t necessarily have to be big and bold, they can often be more subtle, and cumulative. Dyson vacuums rely on several USPs, including the overall look of the vacuum, and details of the cyclone technology they use, to give you an overall impression that Dyson makes the most technologically advanced and powerful vacuums available today. But Dyson doesn’t simply say “we’re the best vacuums” they use specific points to let you come to that conclusion.

A USP is essentially your answer to the question: “why should I buy your product instead of any other?”

OK, back to Mark’s question. Mark wanted to know not how to define a USP, but how to stay focused and communicate it AFTER you launch.

The best way to stay focused on your USP is to put it front and center on your website, and to make it a central part of your elevator pitch. This should feel natural. Think about TOMs shoes. If you described Tom’s, you would naturally mention the one-for-one program.

If your USP doesn’t deserve a place in your elevator pitch, it probably isn’t unique or powerful enough.

Now, if you have no competition, you don’t have to worry so much about a unique selling proposition. The fact that your product exists is unique enough, if there are truly no others.

But for most of us, we operate in areas with competition. To stand out, we have to differentiate our businesses. A USP is one of the most effective ways to differentiate. To stay focused on your USP after launch, simply make it the core of your marketing efforts and language.

For further reading:

I'm Corbett Barr, co-founder of Fizzle and entrepreneur for a decade. Get my weekly curated email of useful things for independent entrepreneurs »

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