We hear you want to open up another hamburger joint – or was that a hair salon? Maybe it’s a tattoo parlor? Whatever the reason behind your small business start-up, you need to prepare yourself to stand out among your competitors, or your company will not survive. It’s not good enough anymore to say you have the “best” product or service because everyone on your block has the same motto. Before you devise your marketing strategies, take the time to determine your unique selling point (USP).
Consumers have a lot of choices, and your products or services need to have a special twist to give you the best position in the marketplace. When you can show that your product offers them something they want that no other company in the industry has, you will be their first choice. Your selling point or “selling proposal” is an offer you are putting out to potential customers with the goal they will accept it. According to the marketing consultants at Interactive Marketing, it is “the force that drives your business and sales success.”
There is a concept in business called “pain” that may not be related at all to physical or emotional pain, but “bottom lines,” a need by a consumer. Your task as a small business owner is to fulfill the need, or ease the “pain.” It could be as simple as placing a coin-operated newspaper box on a street corner in a neighborhood where residents like to take a leisurely stroll to grab a copy of the Sunday paper. There is a consumer need, and you have the solution. The pain is gone!
Start developing your USP by listing the features your product or service offers. Compare these with those of your competitors. What is the difference? Be brutally honest with yourself. It may not be in the actual product, but your uniqueness could come from the intangible nature of your business, such as the quality of the support given by your customer service reps.
You must be specific when identifying a “performance gap” and how your company closes it. Here’s another example of an effective USP:
PRODUCT: “A unique baseball swing that will instantly force you to hit like a pro.”
OFFER: “You can learn this simple technique that makes you hit like a pro in just 10 minutes of batting practice.”
GUARANTEE: “If you don’t hit like a pro baseball player the first time you use this new swing, we’ll refund your money.”
Once you have your list sorted out, take your points and use them in all your marketing materials, media and promotional content. And now that you have boldly stated you can go where none other has gone, be sure you can back up your promise by delivering everything you say you will.
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