Bragging rights: What makes your business unique?

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When it comes to marketing your business you must dare to be different. You don’t want to blend in: Your business needs to stand out from the crowd, and that’s where your unique selling proposition comes in.

A unique selling proposition (USP) is the thing that sets your business apart from the competition. It’s a differentiation that you can use as a competitive edge. 

If you’re thinking, “Great quality at a low price” is your unique selling proposition, think about this: Every business makes that claim. Remember the saying, “If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll be nothing to no one.” You need to start bragging about what makes your business so special if you want customers to choose you. In other words, find your niche and start shouting it from the rooftops.

Here are a few tips for developing your unique selling proposition, and examples from businesses that are putting their unique selling proposition to work.

1. Show off your winning personality: There’s only one you.

Whether you’re drawing attention to your personality, your expertise, your excellent customer service or all of the above, a great way to demonstrate that your business is different from all the others is to showcase the people running and working for your business. Your business isn’t just some faceless corporate entity. Your company is made up of actual human beings with thoughts, feelings and knowledge that can help your customers.

Here’s an example. Building trust and establishing authority is key in the auto repair industry. This is even more true for female customers of auto shops, who often feel that male mechanics try to take advantage of them. Luscious Garage in San Francisco tries to upend this assumption about auto shops. The business specializes in hybrid cars, which itself is a key differentiator. But part of its unique selling proposition is that the garage is owned by a woman, Caroline Coquillette, and there are several women on the team. Luscious Garage forms a connection with its customers by including photos and videos of its employees on the company website, which makes all customers feel more comfortable about using its services.

2. Get emotional: Appeal to your customers’ beliefs.

More and more, consumers want to know which businesses share their beliefs — socially, politically and environmentally. A recent study revealed that 61 percent of consumers want brands to take a stance on social issues, and 70 percent of millennials say they are less likely to purchase from businesses that have unethical labor practices or don’t pay their employees well.

Shoe company Rothy’s embraces what makes them different from other shoe brands. They’re stylish and comfortable, but their crucial differentiator is sustainability; the shoes are made from recycled water bottles. Rothy’s highlights their eco-friendly fashion on their website and in their emails:

3. Make customers feel like they belong: We’re just like you — you’re one of us.

If you want customers to be passionate about your business, you need to demonstrate that you’re passionate about them first. According to a recent study, 68 percent of customers will stop shopping with a company if they believe the business doesn’t care. Customers want to feel like you get them, and you can do that by being approachable and speaking their language, which creates a sense of belonging. 

ModCloth knows their customers want cute, stylish clothes no matter what size they wear. To highlight their unique selling proposition, ModCloth showcases women of all sizes in all their branding to let their customers know that they can feel comfortable shopping with them. And by doing that, they make it so easy for women to see themselves wearing ModCloth’s clothes.

4. Solve a problem: There! We fixed it.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What problems do they have, and how can you fix it? Can you fix it faster, better or at a more affordable price? Talk to your customers. Ask them why they shop with you, and what you could do differently. And, talk to your employees. They are your feet on the ground. They have valuable insights into what your customers are looking for.

There are a lot of meal-prep options out there (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, just to name a few), but Purple Carrot knew there was an underserved, hungry crowd. Purple Carrot’s unique selling proposition targets a specific culinary group – vegans. Purple Carrot is the only meal kit to provide entirely plant-based meals, yet 70 percent of its customers are not vegan — just folks looking for a healthier way to eat. The business solved a problem for a specific customer base (those looking for plant-based meal-prep options) and ended up appealing to an even larger audience.

When forming your unique selling proposition, it’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone. Focus on your personality and expertise. Highlight what your business stands for. And let customers know that you get them, and you can help them with their problems better than anyone else. Ultimately, your unique selling proposition is your best answer to the question, “Why should I buy from you?” 

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The post Bragging rights: What makes your business unique? appeared first on Deluxe Small Business Resource Center.

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