Everyone always says you must have a Unique Selling Point/Proposition. But what does this mean?

Unique definition:
Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.

If you look at that definition you quickly realise that a lot of the marketing babble and business bull you have heard is just that… Bull.
USP
What is your unique selling point? Really? In this modern world, what you are selling is one of a kind? I doubt it. I have no doubt that it is a different take on something… but that’s not unique, it’s related.

It’s true that, in order to be seen, what we need to do is work out what makes us different from each other in the market place, not what makes us the same. Things that are easily lumped together are forgotten together. Differentiation is the key.

The trick is figuring out WHAT about what you offer is different and HOW. And then make sure that everyone knows it.

So, how do you work out what your USP is?

Uniquely unique... not!
Uniquely unique… not!

Well, there are some things that quite simply DO NOT make you different, let’s start off by eliminating those,
* Price: How much your offering costs doesn’t tell anyone anything about it. Forget that.
* Product/Service – Coke or Pepsi? Merc or BMW? They may look slightly different but they are both still cold drinks/ cars, not different products.
* Slogan, Brand Name, and/or Packaging Design – Flashy design may make you look different, but it doesn’t make what you offer any different than what it was before.
* Over-Used Adjectives – Claiming to be  “unique,” “cheap” “efficient,” “reliable,” “fast,” “effective,”  means nothing. Anyone can write that stuff…. And everyone does. A few words do not make what you do Different.

If you read around the internet, you’ll find that 3 big things come up time and time again. The things to focus on that can and do make what you different, and worth drawing attention to are:

1) Application focus: Make sure what you offer is targeted and focussed on a specific application. For example, digital content generation with products like: web copy, newsletter writing, app copy-writing etc.
2) Industry focus: Target your offer at a specific vertical industry such as IT, media, healthcare, insurance etc. Start first with the industry you already work in.
3) Methodology focus: Establish a reputation as the go-to person for certain types of work – e.g. blog writing, market research, SEO, mobile apps etc.

So, now YOU know what’s special about what you’re doing, how do you let everyone else know? But more importantly, how do you tell it in a new way that is unique to you and your business?

So, how did you get here?
So, how did you get here?

a) Tell your story – No-one has quite the same story to tell about how they came to be the business they are. Share what made you who you are as a company or an individual.
b) Explain your process – Do you have a unique process? What do you do that is special, being just supplying a product? These are important value-added items and if you don’t have them, you need to think them up so you can add a unique value-added customer experience.
c) Express your values – Tell the story of your passion and motivation for doing what you do. People like to work with other people who share their outlook. As part of your story, ensure you talk about this too.

While you’re out there developing this aspect of your own business also remember all the things that everyone else does and try to make sure that you look and sound different to that as well…. Branding, advertising, how you talk about technology etc. Businesses in the same industry often end up sounding a lot the same. You can really stand out by not following the industry norms.

Have fun with all of this. It’s a creative and challenging time, but worth all the effort you put in. Once you KNOW what is good and different about what you are doing, it is so much easier to tell other people.