Entrepreneurs! How to stand out in your niche and define your USP to make your startup a success.

What makes your business unique?

It’s one of the first questions your customers need an answer to before they commit to your product.

And, surprisingly, it’s also the question that has too many startup owners shaking their heads in confusion.

Your USP is your unique selling proposition. You might also hear it referred to as a unique selling point.

Your USP is the X-Factor that sets your business apart from every other one of your competitors. Even those that offer an identical service.

Yes, being creative and breaking the mould is actively encouraged as an entrepreneur, but you can still have a unique selling proposition even if you’re not alone in your niche.

Why do you need a USP?

A USP helps you target your audience in your marketing efforts. If you don’t know why you’re unique, you won’t know whose problems your product solves. And if you don’t know that key information, it will be impossible to know where to find your audience to deliver your messaging.

A USP also helps you stand out.

In a crowded online space, your audience is exposed to a lot of information. Much more than they have the capacity to ingest. When something is seen and heard repeatedly, it fails to penetrate the deeper layers of the brain resulting in marketing that doesn’t stand out. Which, as you know, will have no impact on your audience.

Your USP gives your audience new information that they pay attention to. It makes them promises and offers them products that they haven’t seen or heard before. This original information forms the basis of your marketing and must be delivered clearly by the words you use, and throughout your brand promise.

Examples of well-known USPs:

One of the most globally recognised online retailers of all time is Amazon.

There isn’t a single product on their shelf that can’t be picked up elsewhere, but their USP is their customer service. With a motto ‘to be the earth’s most customer centric company’, you can see clearly how their customer-focussed USP has created a brand that’s a market leader across the world. With customer service at their absolute core, why would you choose anyone else when you know in advance that you’re going to get excellent service?

A little closer to home we contacted local start up Double Jab based on the Gold Coast who are launching later this year, to see what they thought made them stand out in the market. Double Jab specialise in boxing and MMA equipment and their USP is that they’re the only lifestyle-apparel company offering customisable products. You won’t find this USP anywhere else in the niche making it easier for them to target their marketing towards a very specific audience.

Both of those USPs appeal to very specific sections of a wider market and form the foundations of a solid relationship between the customer and entrepreneur.

However, you choose to market yourself, you HAVE to be saying something that nobody else is repeating. This makes sure your messaging goes into the ears of your target market and translates into sales for your business.

Your USP is more than just a tagline.

While your USP can form part of your tagline, it’s so much more than a catchy slogan.

It needs to be short and sweet enough to catch the interest of your consumer but your USP is still detailed and specific so it’s important that it’s well-written.

How to define your USP.

If you’re still reading, it likely means that you don’t have a USP. If the reason your clients should choose you over your competitor doesn’t roll off your tongue with ease, your startup is at risk of not making it off the starting blocks.

While not having a clear USP isn’t ideal for a new business, don’t worry, it’s salvageable.

You can introduce your USP into your marketing at any point but if you want to start earning a respectful ROI on your marketing, we recommend defining your USP sooner rather than later.

How to define your USP:

Firstly, consider the following three areas.

  • The needs of your ideal customer.

As an enthusiastic entrepreneur, you’re passionate about your product and you KNOW why it’s the best on the market. But how does that translate into your customer’s point of view?

A detailed buyer avatar tells you what your potential customers want and need from your product and the problems you’re helping them solve. All you need to do is put this into their words.

Are you targeting time-poor corporates? Consider how your product will help them claim back some hours in their day in a way that nobody else does.

Are you marketing to overworked interns? Consider how yours is the only product that can help them get more experience to climb faster up the ladder.

Your USP is solely about meeting the needs of your market, NOT about you.

  • What motivates your customer to buy?

When creating your USP, you need to look deeper into the mind of your buyer to understand what makes them take action.

Does their purchase relate to improving their image? Perhaps it helps them achieve a career goal? Maybe your ideal buyer is motivated by a short journey to extreme wealth?

Whatever it is that makes your target market take their credit cards out of their wallet and hand over their details, discover it and then define it. When your marketing USP addresses those intrinsic needs like nobody else does, you can’t fail to make a profit.

  • Do your competitor research.

Find your direct competitor and look at why your target market chooses them.

If you’re just starting up it’s unlikely you’ll have a string of existing customers to survey about their buying motivation, but, luckily for you, the online world doesn’t need a secret knock to unlock the door. Anyone can enter and learn from their competitors.

Join relevant Facebook groups, follow your competitors on Instagram and pay close attention to the comments sections. It won’t take you long to learn what makes your competitors unique and what their followers respond to.

Once you have this detailed information, get down to the nitty-gritty of why you’re different. What can you offer customers that your competitor can’t? Because it’s this that will make them choose you.

Next, put all this information into a few sentences and cut it down so it’s short, sharp, succinct and pepper it through your content.

With this forming the basis of your marketing, your campaigns become a lot easier, and a lot more successful.

A clearly-defined USP is a key pillar in helping your startup break into the market and becoming the successful, established brand you’ve always dreamed of. If you can easily answer what your business stands for and why you’re the only one that can say so, there’s no doubt that your startup will be successful long into the future.

If you feel you need help defining your USP or  with your marketing strategy feel free to reach out to a local Digital Marketing Agency

Media Shark – 30 Jan 2018