USP - If You Don't Differentiate You're Dead!

Or, what is your Unique Selling Proposition?

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USP is one heavily ingnored term. I run into this problem all the time. Most of the businesses I work with have no real idea what sets them apart from their competitors. Or they think they are unique but what they tell me is the exact same thing I hear from other people in their same field.

Or if they do have something unique, they're so concerned about putting everything about their business on their website that their one unique selling proposition that could set them apart gets lost in all the details.

You just aren't that different from your competitors

I wrote the website copy for a client recently who, when I asked him about his business, told me to look at his competitor's sites because they all do the same thing and have pretty much the same equipment and processes.

Your firm isn't unique. Most companies have competition and there are really only minor differences between them and their competitors. So how do you differentiate?

Stop trying to be everything to everyone

First, don't fill your website with tons of information and details about all the things you do and all your services. That's called trying to be “everything to everyone” and you end up being “nothing to no one.”

The other problem with that strategy is that most human beings cannot absorb all that information. Ergo, their eyes glaze over and you become just another commodity. And we all know what happens to commodities. They are forced to compete on price alone.



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Types of Unique Selling Propositions

There are a number of different ways to set your firm apart on your website. And these are methods that should be used all across your marketing, not just on your website.

  • First, there's the “ohmygawd guarantee” . This is a favorite of one of my heroes, marketing genius Jay Abraham. Create a guarantee that is so incredible that the customer absolutely can't refuse to do business with you because they are taking no risk at all. Click here to see the “how to” details of the “no-risk” guarantee.
  • The next is “bend over backwards service” . The other day I went to a local computer store to return a cable. When I walked up to the door, nothing happened. I didn't know what to do. Finally, it slowly opened. While I was standing outside trying to get in, I was completely ignored.

When I finally got inside, I asked one of the cashiers who was standing around if I could return my cable there. He pointed to a counter with one cashier where a line of three people stood waiting and said returns go there. Then he went back to looking bored.

While I waited, I watched at least a dozen people get confused by the front door. After I finally got to the counter, a second cashier showed up and took care of me. When I bought the cable originally, I had to ask three different sales people for help before one of them did more than point me to where the cables were and tell me they didn't know if they had that product.

If I owned that store, I would have fired the manager. There should have been an employee standing at the door helping customers get in. A technology store should know how to set their registers up so that a product can be returned anywhere.

And no one should have been working on that floor who wasn't willing to drive to a competitor, get the cable, and bring it back for me while I enjoyed coffee and muffins in the customer lounge if they didn't have it. Extreme? Not if you want people flocking to your door!

  • How about being the “go-to expert”? This is one of the methods I am using to differentiate myself. I am constantly adding articles to my website so people perceive me as an expert on web content and marketing.

I also want business people to refer their friends and business associates to my site when asked where to find information on web writing or web marketing. And I want the search engines to send everyone to my site because they know that's where all the information is.

  • “Don't sell” method of selling. What do you think would happen if a customer came to your website and rather than finding a page full of “our company does this” and “our company is the best at that” sales pitches, they found an article on the ten most important things to watch out for when buying your product or service?



And the article was:

a.) very informative and helpful to anyone looking for guidance in buying your product or service

b.) was full of links to more helpful information that would draw them deeper into your site and eventually guide them to each of your products or services as a solution to their problems.

Do you think that would be effective? You better believe it would! It's the same thing any good salesperson would do. Find their pain and guide them to your solution.

  • And lastly, how about hammering home that one thing that really is unique about your business? I write restaurant articles for Twin Cities Dining One of the toughest parts of that job is getting restaurant owners to tell me something I haven't heard from dozens of other restaurant owners.

“We use all fresh ingredients, our sauces are all homemade, our people are really friendly, we have great service, we have a high standard of cleanliness, blah, blah, blah.”

When I interviewed Mychel Wright, owner of Golden Thyme Coffee Cafe, he didn't regale me about the great coffee, morning rolls, or friendly service. He told me that they were focused on becoming a community hub. Then he showed me the community room he'd created next door and listed all the community-building actions he had taken.

Mychel may not get rich quick but everyone in the neighborhood knows why Golden Thyme is different from any other coffee shop. And that's where I focused his article.

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