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Unique Selling Proposition (USP) --
Your Competitive Advantage

By Larry Lim - MarketingSphere

To capture a larger market share and be viable, sustainable and profitable, you absolutely need to differentiate or distinguish your business, products and/or services from your competitors. In other words, you need to make your business special in the eyes of your customers and/or prospects.

You can do this by creating what's called an Unique Selling Propostion or USP and then effectively convey that USP to your target market via your marketing efforts and business performance.

This is particularly crucial if you're operating in a highly competitive market.

What Is An Unique Selling Propostion?

Your USP is the one thing or idea that sets your business favourably apart from your competitors'. It's a statement of Advantages you bring to your customers that differentiate you from your competitors.

It's the focal point around which the success and profitability of your business is built, and so you must be able to state it and fulfill it honourably and effectively. It's always stated in terms of the benefit it delivers to your customers.

Think about this...

"What's the one thing that makes your business unique and distinct? Why should people buy from you and not from your competitors? Do you promise great value, benefits or service?"

Advantages could include factors like a broad range of product selection, superior customer service, highest quality, best prices, and so on.

Effective USP Components

When formulating and implementing your USP, it's crucial that you bear in mind the following components:

  1. Your USP must be truly unique
  2. It must be strong enough to excite your target market and get them talking about it
  3. It mustn't be easily imitated or copied

Look, anybody can claim that they provide the best service in town - "We're The Number One Service Provider In America". Do you think this is credible? Of course not. It's lukewarm and is an empty promise because you can't measure it and you can't hold them accountable and people can easily see through it. USP such as this can in fact harm your business instead of helping it.

Your USP really needs to pack a punch.

Now, let's take a look at a good example:

"Your Parcel Delivered To You The Very Next Day, or It Costs You Nothing!"

The above is a powerful USP. As you can see, you can actually measure it and hold the Company accountable; the Company actually guarantees the delivery of your parcle the very next day or it doesn't cost you a cent.

Can you imagine what this will do to the Company? It'll put it head and shoulders above its competition.

Many business owners often wonder why they should be unique. They wonder what's wrong with being a "me too" business.

The fact is that if you're unique, you're almost guaranteed to outperform and outdistance your competition. It's also a fact that a "me too" business will eventually go to the wall.

Let me ask a question:

Do you set up shop before identifying and formulating your USP?

If you do, don't!

Here's an illustration why:

You set up a provision shop in an area where there're already four of them operating in it.

The current market share is being split amongst the four provision shops, and out of the four, three of them are struggling.

By setting shop in that area, it means that the current market share will have to be further split amongst the five of you.

What makes you so sure that you'll be profitable if you're not unique and operate as an "also ran"?

The fact is that the odds is really against you because you're no different from the rest of your competitors.

The days where businesses compete on price and service alone is no longer that effective because the potential customers can always get what you have to offer much cheaper and with a better service somewhere else.

What you really need is to be different and unique in order to outperform your competitors.

By now you can see how powerful a statement of USP is to your business. As I've mentioned in the beginning, it is the focal point around which your business is built. It forces you to be clear and define exactly what advantages your customers can expect from doing business with you.

And as such, it'll drive your marketing efforts and have a profound impact on your operations.

Coming up with a clear statement of your USP doesn't cost you money - just some of your time and thoughts. At the end of the day, it'll be time and thoughts well spent because of the increase in sales and profits that you'll reap.

Just do it today; this step is absolutely crucial.

About the Author

Copyright 2005 by Larry Lim, MarketingSphere.com

Larry Lim is a marketing strategist and tactician who dishes out highly effective marketing strategies and tactics that will enable you to successfully start and grow your business on the Internet.

Check out his Internet Marketing Strategy website that is jam-packed with marketing secrets and softwares that will skyrocket your sales, and shoot your profits through the roof.

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