USP Ideas – How to Make Your Business Stand Out

Last updated on March 26, 2024 10 mins read

“Instead of working so hard to prove the skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers. They deserve it, after all, and they’re the ones that are going to spread the word for you.” – Seth Godin

To succeed in business, it’s important to have something unique about your product or services. That way, prospective customers will find it easy to identify with your brand

In this article, we’ll explain what a USP is and how it can help your business.

Let’s start:

What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?

It can be defined as:

“The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”

In simple words, a USP is what sets you apart or helps clients and potential clients differentiate between you and other businesses in the same niche.

A USP is what your business stands for. A lot of businesses today try to be good at everything. This is a marketing mistake that can cause a business huge losses. While you need to be good at everything, you can’t market your business as a ‘go to’ solution for all things. 

People need to know exactly what you’re good at. The problem with trying to be good at everything is that you end up being great at nothing.

How USP Works

We’ll move to real-life examples later in this article, but first let’s have a look at two hypothetical businesses for a better understanding of how USP works.

  • Company A: It offers a variety of online marketing services such as email marketing, PPC, search engine optimization, copywriting, and social media marketing. 
  • Company B: It’s in the same niche – digital marketing – but offers very specific services, say content writing. It does not offer other services like social media marketing or PPC.

Let’s now think from the perspective of a customer – say a marketing head looking for a copywriter to create marketing content.

He goes to Google and comes across both companies. He studies company one, he finds positive reviews talking about SEO services and PPC. 

He’s not sure if they provide copywriting services and if they do how good they are at it. On the other hand, when he lands on the second website, he sees a lot of information on copywriting including samples, reviews, and prices.

The information will immediately help him realize the second company is a better option for copywriting. He’ll pick it even if the first company is better simply because the second company has a USP – copywriting.

While this is how it works, there are always exceptions to this rule. A marketing head, for example, may choose the first company if he or she is looking for a digital agency to handle a variety of tasks.

Why Your Business Needs a USP?

standing out pencil (yellow pencil and the rest are grey)

Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage,” suggests Theodore Levitt, professor at Harvard Business School.

A USP is all about positioning. Remember that your business and your products will both need to be unique.

Your business can be known for offering excellent customer support and your products can be known for being reliable or easy to use. These are two different things but they come together to offer the following benefits:

Clear Differentiation

Differentiation is what separates you from other businesses. It can be a product or company attribute or how you do business. 

A USP helps others understand what your business is about and pushes them to consider your brand. A lack of a USP can cause your potential client’s buying decision to become quite arbitrary. 

When this happens, buyers end up choosing ‘low prices’. Better style, unique features, high-quality materials, and elite service are attributes that brands commonly use to create a USP.

Improves Sales

The purpose of highlighting a USP is to attract more buyers and to charge a premium price for your products or services.

Most people make purchases to solve specific problems. The problem can be anything, food getting spoiled due to rising temperatures or waker leaking due to a broken pipe.

To solve the first problem, the person will most probably look for a refrigerator. For the second problem, the person will look for a plumber.

Whether it’s a refrigerator or a plumber, a potential buyer will have a number of options to choose from. The buyer will select a product or service that offers the best combination of price and benefits. 

The more significant a buyer finds your USP, the more he or she would be willing to pay for it. You will be able to make more sales and reach a wider audience.

Allows to Charge Premium Prices

Let’s keep the previous example in mind. 

The buyer looking for a plumber technically only wants to stop water from, leaking. He knows the job will only take about 2 hours and most sellers out there are charging $200 for the service. Yet, if you play it right you can have the seller pay $300.

As mentioned earlier, it’s all about positioning. Present your business as a ‘no worries’ solution. You can offer free repairs if the same problem happens again within a specific time period. You can even offer ‘online appointments’ or other such add-ons.

Customers do value little extras. They want peace of mind and most would happily pay a premium price if it means less hassle.

Loyal Customers

When you market a USP and succeed in delivering an impressive value proposition, you will probably have a higher percentage of loyal customers who will not only come back to your business but may also bring you more buyers through referrals.

We tend to trust positive experiences. Once you work with a seller, you’d love to come back to the same person if you had a good experience. 

Each repeated and positive experience contributes to more sales. Eventually, repeat purchases result in loyalty. 

This is very important because loyalty strengthens bonds and is important for growth and consistency. 

Simpler Selling

A fascinating USP makes it easy for sales representatives to make a sale. The job of a salesperson is to communicate what a product does. The job can be difficult if your employees do not know or understand how beneficial your products are.

A person who understands the USP of your business will be in a better position to communicate it. It can be difficult to persuade buyers to take the wallet out without highlighting what you bring to the table. 

This is why some experts suggest giving employees a chance to experience your product to fully understand what it does. 

How to Develop a Unique Selling Proposition?

In this example, Red is the unique sell proposition. Rest of the balls are grey

Now that you understand the benefits of having a USP, it’s time to talk about what you can do to have a USP. 

1. Understand Your Customers

Pinpointing a USP requires extensive market research. You have to understand exactly what your customers need so you can create a USP around it.

For example, offering quick service might not be of much value if your clients do not pay attention to this factor. 

Study your demographic and know what motivates their buying decisions. Buyers pay attention to a variety of sales features including quality, reliability, convenience, cleanliness, customer support, friendliness, etc. 

All these factors can influence their decision and entice them to make a purchase. You will never be able to come up with an effective USP without having this information. 

2. Know Your Strengths

A USP is something you’re good at. The best way to develop a USP is to concentrate on your strengths.

A very reliable way to find your strengths is to study why your current buyers are choosing you over your competition. 

Being clear about what makes your business special will give you the push that you need to win a market.

Offer customers what your competitors lack and they’ll be attracted to you. As mentioned earlier, USPs are typically grouped into several categories including quality, specialization, originality, customization, guarantee, selection, speed, etc.

Pick one factor that you’d like to specialize in and concentrate on it. A very good way to find what your customers are interested in is to use A/B testing. It can help you compare two or more options to determine the one that offers the most benefits.

Adoric offers detailed A/B tests and can be used by all kinds of businesses. Read more about Adoric A/B testing to know more.

3. Study Your Competition

Studying your competition is as important as studying your audience. Study their business model and product and identify areas that need improvement. 

You have to offer something that your competitors do not. Moreover, take steps to protect your USP. Your competitors should not be able to copy it. Copyright laws and other such options can be used to protect your interest. 

4. Stay Away from the ‘Superstar Effect’ Rat Race

Cal Newport, an MIT graduate and author, introduced us to the concept of Superstar Effect that pigeonholes applicants to top colleges. 

Instead of trying to do something to stand out, most try to be ‘the best’, which doesn’t always pay off because you’re pitched against the very best.

You end up among the status quo and do not get a chance to stand out. Typically used in the educational spectrum, this thinking can also seep into business, according to Corbett Barr, a popular marketer and entrepreneur.

All companies wanna do is be the best. They hardly pay attention to being different and never concentrate on having a USP. This is very important because ‘best’ is a subjective term. 

A restaurant, for example, claiming to be the best will not get very good results because the term is different for different people. The key is to change the rules of the game.

You should do something unique and do it better than anyone else. 

5. Get a Little Personal

Not everyone will give you this advice but we assure you it’s beneficial. It’s possible to incorporate a strong personality into a business’s USP, but it’s a thin line and you have to be careful.

A strong personality can take a business to greater heights for as long as it goes well with the basic idea. As Jay Z said, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”

Influencer marketing is largely based on this concept. Influencers do not sell products, they offer their personalities that help sell products. Let’s refer to the case of Men’s Wearhouse, formed by George Zimmer. 

The company’s decision to fire Zimmer met with an immensely negative reaction. Zimmer had become a well-known face and analysts argued that firing him would lead to bad times for Men’s Wearhouse.

He helped the company reach newer heights and was loved by company employees and customers. 

This is a great example of an individual being a USP. This is the same role that brand ambassadors play. Think about Kim Kardashian, how do you think the show would do if she quits? Despite what everyone says, she’s one of the most popular faces on television and helps bring viewers. 

Going back to Zimmer, he was able to carve a niche due to his friendly personality and deep voice. He helped the company reach the average person and built a recognizable brand. 

He connected with buyers on a personal level and convinced them that his company could make them look their best.

In his over 500 hours of recorded footage for the brand, he made buyers a very simple promise: “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”

Such stories can be hard to replicate. It can be difficult to form a connection that pays but it’s not impossible as proven by brands out there.

How to Communicate Your USP to Your Audience?

Remember that it’s not only about developing a USP, you must also be able to clearly communicate it to your buyers. There’s no point in having a USP if your potential clients cannot see it.

1. Come Up With a Tagline

Domino's Pizza sell proposition - if not delivered under 30 minutes it's free

A lot of people get confused between a USP and a tagline. AUSP is more than just a tagline. The job of a tagline is only to define what your USP is, it does not qualify as the USP.

Your tagline can present you as the fastest accounting firm, but it will not be your USP unless you can prove to be the fastest.

Here are some of the coolest taglines out there:

  • Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”
  • Colgate: “Improve mouth health in two weeks.”
  • Target: “Expect More. Pay Less.”

Domino’s statement makes it clear that the company delivers fresh pizza within 30 minutes. This is both the company’s tagline and USP.

The same goes for Colgate, which is advertising the health benefits of using the product. Users who are eager to get good results will buy the product.

Lastly, Target seems to be doing well with its tagline. It’s simple but effective. The tagline makes it clear that the brand offers a variety of products – all at a discounted rate. 

2. Design Your Brand Around It

All your branding messages should highlight your company’s USP. Head & Shoulders, for example, is marketed as a hair shampoo for dandruff. You will see this message everywhere including billboards, digital ads, and banners.

The more people read or hear about it, the more they’ll remember it.

3. Seek Professional Help

Look for a marketing company to help you understand and highlight your USP. In addition to this, you can also use unique personalities (influencers) to reach a wider audience and help them recognize how different you are. 

USP – 2 Companies Doing it Right

Here are two companies who have understood the importance of a USP:

1. Starbucks

Starbucks has a unique sell proposition and here you can see coffee by Starbucks - Premium coffee.

What started as a small coffee shop in Washington is now one of the largest brands out there, all thanks to a USP. 

Starbucks is a premium coffee brand and that’s where it USP lies. It doesn’t promise low prices. It promises premium coffee, charges a high rate, and delivers where it matters.

2. Adoric

unique selling proposition example of Adoric - Easy to create pop-ups

Adoric is a real-time web engagement tool that ‘s proudly known as one of the easiest tools to use. This is where our USP lies. Whether you’re a pro or a new user, you’ll have no difficulty in using our tool.

There are many tools out there offering similar features but none match the ease we offer.

Interested in knowing more about Adoric and how it can help you recognize and market your USP? Sign up for free.

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