Guest post by Elizabeth Southall (learn more about Elizabeth at the end of this post)
What makes your business unique? And why should your customers buy from you instead of your competitors?
In today’s point-and-click world of rapid fire technology, we have access to so much instant information at our fingertips. Online customers have more choices than ever and they’ve become incredibly fickle. They also have extremely short attention spans and they don’t like guess work.
(Stats show that on average, visitors spend less than 10 seconds on most websites they visit!)
You’ve already put in the time and effort to drive traffic to your website. So how do you keep your hard-earned visitors on your website once they get there?
The #1 best way to capture your visitor’s attention and encourage them to stick around and check out what you have to offer is with a blow-your-socks-off Unique Selling Proposition.
What’s a Unique Selling Proposition Anyway?
Also known as a “value proposition” or a “brand promise” in some circles, a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is basically marketing mumbo jumbo for a killer tagline that explains who you are, what you have to offer and what makes you different from your competitors.
And this tagline should ideally be on your website, business cards and all other marketing materials.
If you don’t have a clearly articulated USP for your business, don’t worry! Here are four simple steps to help you create one. (And if you do already have one, here’s a great opportunity to tweak it for maximum effect!)
Step #1: Cut the Fat & Describe the Basics
First, let’s whittle down a description of who you are, what you offer and what makes you different from your competitors into just a few simple lines.
(This information may seem obvious to you, but remember – your website visitors likely don’t know you from Adam! Take a moment here to really spell out what you are offering.)
Write or type a short response to each one of these four questions:
1) Your offer: What products or services are you offering?
2) Target market: Who are your products or services designed for?
3) Benefits: How will your products or services make their lives easier?
4) Unique factor: What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
Keep your answers short and simple (one sentence or less for each one) and avoid using any marketing shpeel that the average person may not understand.
Step #2: What Else Have You Got? Highlight It!
Next, review the list of selling points below and add any that apply to your business to your list:
– Low price guarantee
– Satisfaction guarantee – money back, hassle-free returns
– Easy to use, fast to use (example: “just 3 steps” or “five minutes or less”)
– Shipping policy – same day shipping, free shipping
– Instant access to product (example: “instant download”)
– Your location (if you are a local business servicing a specific area)
– Fast, friendly customer support
– Celebrity endorsements, media mentions, industry awards
– A portion of sales are donated to a nonprofit or charity
Can you think of any additional selling points that apply to your business? Great! Add them to your list.
Step #3: Pull Out Your Top Five
Look over your list and highlight the five points that you feel are the most compelling.
(If you offer anything unique that your competitors don’t (see question #4) or any kind of satisfaction guarantee, these are both HUGE selling points that you’ll definitely want to put into your top five.)
Now take your top five and start piecing them together in different combinations. Ideally each combination should contain a maximum of three points to make your USP easily digestible for your target market. Aim for between 5 and 8 combinations.
See which combinations really stand out to you in communicating what it is that you have to offer.
Step #4: Poll Your Friends & Family
Consider creating a quick survey using a free tool like Survey Monkey (link to http://www.surveymonkey.com/), a very easy drag-and-drop tool that you can use to make your own multiple-choice surveys in just a few minutes. Cross my heart, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to use!
Enter your USP combinations into Survey Monkey and it will spit out a neat little link that you can then send to your friends and family through email or on Facebook or Twitter.
TIP: Anytime you forward anyone a link to a survey, be sure to include a note that tells them it’s a quick “five question survey” (insert your number of questions) that will take just a few minutes of their time. This way, you’ll ensure more people click on the link and respond.
Then, sit back and wait for the results! Your friends and family will tell you exactly which USP combination jumps out at them the best.
And if you have an existing list of customers in your email account, Twitter or Facebook, don’t be shy! Send the survey to them too.
Customers usually LOVE being asked for feedback. Plus, after they give it it often makes them feel like they have a personal stake in your business! And this increased loyalty makes them more receptive to any promotions you roll out in future.
When it comes to creating your USP, don’t get stuck in paralysis analysis. Keep in mind that even the most successful entrepreneurs are constantly refining and improving their USPs, so don’t get too stuck on aiming for absolute perfection. Choose your best combination, roll with it and aim to improve on it later.
About the Author
Elizabeth Southall is a former Direct Response Copywriter & Conversion Specialist to Fortune 500s and 7-figure website owners and recipient of a 2010 WebAward from the Web Marketing Association. She now blogs at http://www.femaleinternetheroes.com, teaching women entrepreneurs how to sell more stuff online.