Amanda Walker, marketing consultant at BusinessSmiths, explains how to create a successful USP for your business:
- Make a list of what you know about your target audience in relation to the market that you operate in. Consider what consumers might think of that market.
- Make a list of all the needs that a product or service in your market could meet. For a service like an accountant, these could be: time-saving, trust, speed, forward thinking, traditional and experienced, a business partner, a tax expert, an industry expert, an offshore expert, a start-up expert or experience in a big firm, for example.
For a product like food, these could be: authentic, healthy, indulgent, fair trade, freshness, value, premium, traditional, region or nation of source, organic, modern and so on.
- These attributes are all potential USPs for your business.
- Screen the list of USPs against trends and competitors. Now remove the USPs that are already being well met by competitors. Don't forget that your USP is a unique selling proposition so you are looking for a gap in the market.
- For your second screening, match each USP against what you and your business are good at. Also think about how you want to be seen. Don't advertise yourself as always being available if you don't want to work a 60+ hour week!
- You should now be down to four or five options. For each one, create a page with words and visuals to bring the idea to life.
- Contact about ten people in your target audience and ask if you can interview them for 30 minutes. Use the findings to choose the strongest USP for your business.
- Double check that you have the right USP. Does it convey one strong benefit? Is it memorable? Is it clear who the brand is targeting from the USP? Can you deliver what it promises? Is it unique - or could a competitor claim the same thing?
- Use this positioning to develop your business and your marketing strategy. Evaluate your activities using your USP as a benchmark.
- Monitor trends and new competitors that could affect how customers see your USP.