What makes your business stand out? The B2B marketplace is a busy arena, packed with competitors all battling for the same thing. If you arrive to the market empty-handed, you’re likely to simply become another faceless business in a crowd of faceless businesses. However, a well-articulated unique selling proposition (USP) can be your most valuable weapon in the bid to stand above the competition.
So how do you effectively communicate your USP to cut through the noise? Well, first you must understand what makes you unique. And this is what I’m going to show you today.
USPs in the digital age
Your USP is what sets you apart from your competition. In the world of digital marketing, understanding this has never been more important. Some businesses operate in niche markets where specialist expertise does enough to distinguish them from the rest, but everybody else needs to show the customer what makes them special. If your current USP doesn’t quite nail what’s special about your business, you can improve it. The first step is to understand your organisation and the value you already have.
If you don’t have a USP, you can create one.
You need a good value proposition
A value proposition helps you define the purpose of your business, your relationship with your customers and the benefits of your product or service. It should be the foundation for all of your marketing materials. By describing the value you offer customers your value prop. plays an instrumental role in helping you to effectively communicate your USP.
Here’s what should make up your value proposition:
When defining your organisation’s USP it can be helpful to understand how your competitors communicate theirs. Competitor analysis should include a high-level look at the positioning of two or three (or as many as you want) companies that provide similar solutions to your own. Examine their website and study their products and services pages. Learn what to avoid and look for elements you can adopt.
Personas help you understand your customer. This means you can put yourself in their shoes and more effectively communicate with them.
A brand slogan helps people to identify you in a few short, snappy words that stick in the readers’ minds. More than a supporting statement to your product or service, it encapsulates who you are, what you do and how you do it.
Long before Twitter, an elevator pitch was a popular way of verbally summarising a product or service into a 30 second statement. Though still important and worth doing, a short, pithy (let’s say 240-characters) statement offers an invitation for potential customers to engage with you.
A good value proposition will help your business stand apart from the competition.
How to write a value proposition
When building your value proposition, you need to embark on an information-gathering mission. I’ve taken inspiration from the classic ‘Five Ws and a H’ questions to give you a good place to start.
1. Who is your audience?
Identify the people involved in the purchasing decision. Research their industries, define their needs and their motivations and understand their pain points – the most significant problems they face at work. This is where your buyer personas come in handy. It helps to attach a picture to each persona, creating a more three-dimensional character to target.
2. What do you do?
Consider what your business does and distil it down to a few concise sentences. What do you do differently to your competitors? Determine your niche and explore it. It could be your technology, service, people, cost etc.
3. How do you help customers overcome problems?
You identified the problems your customers face in question one, and here you’ll determine how you’ll solve them. Don’t restrict yourself to just the product. Think about the intrinsic value you can offer and the factors that set you apart from your competition.
4. Why should the customer choose you?
Steer clear of simply listing the features of your product. Skip the technical jargon and jump straight to the business value. Customers deal in value and many aren’t interested in the jargon-heavy ins and outs of your solution. They want to know what you can do to make their lives easier.
5. How customers should perceive you
You cannot underestimate the power of a nailed-down marketing voice. It creates consistency in every piece of content and copy you produce and resonates with your audience. Contemplate how you are perceived, how you want customers to see you, then spend time studying how other companies project themselves.
Can you effectively communicate your USP?
Now armed with your value proposition, you should have all the information needed to develop your USP.
Try a little test -An elevator pitch represents a handy test to see whether you can describe your USP in a short 20-30 second long statement. Remember, the best USPs address the need of your ideal customer while emphasising the quality that sets you apart from your competitors.
Get attention - When you can effectively communicate your USP, people sit up and take notice. It enables you to set your business apart from the competition. When you’ve got the attention of the people you’ve targeted, they tend to be more receptive to the big picture message — opening up doors to prosperous relationships that will see your business thrive.