Few things are more challenging than standing out in a crowded industry. Differentiation is an issue every growing brand faces, but the most successful companies are able to clearly portray a relevant unique selling proposition (USP) to their target audience. Are you putting your customers first?
Competition, Differentiation, and the Key to Visibility
The growth of ecommerce has led to historically low barriers to entry that most industries never thought possible. As a result, there’s often saturation and high levels of competition that small and medium sized brands find challenging to overcome without spending lots of time and money on intensive branding.
If you’re looking for visibility in today’s marketplace, one of the key focal points has to be differentiation. The only way to emerge as a primary option for customers is to make your business stand out amid a litany of less-thans.
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Differentiation must happen on multiple levels. For one, you have to narrow your target market and be sure that you’re pursuing a very specific audience that resonates with what you’re selling. Beyond that, you have to identify some key areas to highlight to this audience.
Some companies choose to zero in on customer service and personalization, as opposed to differentiating their products. Others decide to add a unique feature to their services in order to command more tangible value. Some brands just make it a point to remain lean and keep prices as low as possible.
How you choose to pursue differentiation is up to you, but in a crowded marketplace you have no other choice. Success is directly rooted in visibility and you must set yourself apart. At the end of the day, whatever you decide on as your point of differentiation needs to be crystalized in the form of a USP.
Tips for Nailing Your USP
As Entrepreneur.com defines it, “[A USP is] 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.” And while that makes it sound super simple, the fact of the matter is that getting your USP right in a manner that connects with your target audience can be challenging.
Here are a few tips to help you get it right:
1. Consider the ‘Why?’
Developing your USP doesn’t have to be some painstaking process with hours of revisions. When you drill down past all of the fluff, your USP answers one simple question: Why would a customer choose you?
When Trevor Cravens, a representative of the Wisconsin Beer Lover’s Festival, was recently asked what makes his event stand out amid the many other beer festivals around the state and country, he had a quick and precise answer:
“Although there are many good beer festivals in the Midwest, nothing compares to the Wisconsin Beer Lover’s Festival’s high-caliber of brewers, and the unbeatable food pairings that come along with it,” Cravens told ResortsandLodges.com. “Our vendors have crafted each pairing with a partner beer in mind. It’s an exceptional deal for the price of admission, so be sure to come with an empty stomach.”
How’s that for an articulate answer? Find your “why” and try to break it down into one or two succinct sentences. If you know your brand well, you may be surprised by how easy this can be.
2. Present a Consistent Front
Did you know that just 4 percent of marketers say their company is properly set up to offer customer journeys that translate seamlessly across different channels – such as social media, email, and paid advertising? In other words, there’s no cohesion between touchpoints. If you really want to sell your USP to customers, you must present a consistent front.
3. Don’t Overdo It
Some companies think they’re developing a superior USP when they’re simply making a longer one. Complexity is not positively correlated to success. In fact, the simpler a USP is, the better the results normally are. Take Enterprise’s well-known USP as an example. All it says is: “Pick Enterprise. We’ll Pick You Up.” It’s short, specific, and powerful.
Putting it All Together
“A weak or nonexistent USP can ruin conversion rates, sales, and all the other good things that marketers crave,” internet marketer Neil Patel explains. “A clear, strong, and customer-focused USP will do just the opposite – boost conversions, create a fanatic tribe, and satisfy customers to the core.”
How are you doing in terms of conveying your USP to your target audience? Do you even have a USP? These are critically important questions with crucial answers. If you’re having trouble expressing what your USP is, then now is a good time to stop what you’re doing and define what differentiates your brand from the competition.