10 Ideas to Finding a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Product
|August 19, 2012||Posted by Louise under How To Start A Business, Product Development|
Most likely others are selling the same product as you or a similar one. But that doesn’t mean your product can’t stand out, that you can’t be successful. As long as it brings value to potential customers that other similar competitive products don’t, you are likely to get noticed and more likely to make a sale.
What is unique selling proposition?
We call this product uniqueness that gives it an edge in the market a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) .
Entrepreneur.com explains USP as such:
The key to effective selling in this situation is what advertising and marketing professionals call a “unique selling proposition” (USP). Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.
Unique Selling Proposition Examples
Entrepreneur goes on to explain that your offer’s characteristics are not the only criteria that make it stand out. You also have to consider your message or mission. Therefore, when zeroing-in on that magic USP for your offer, it’s important to examine your competition and their advertising message to discover their unique position in the market and use this information to find yours.
Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service. Neiman Marcus sells luxury, while Wal-Mart sells bargains.
Likewise, in another article, Entrepreneur mentions Eddie Huang of company Baohaus, New York who took a traditional snack food still readily available today in Taiwan and other parts of Asia, called the Baozi or Mantou steamed bun and brought it to New York:
But Eddie Huang saw a new business opportunity in bringing the steamed buns to the Manhattan foodie scene and attracting customers who didn’t grow up eating them as comfort food. His concept worked. Baohaus restaurant, which opened in 2009, already has expanded into a larger space and grown from two to 18 employees.
Baohaus, located in Manhattan’s East Village, draws many of its customers from nearby New York University and stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends.”It’s typically sold in Taiwanese breakfast joints,” says 29-year-old Huang, who remembers bao from visits to his grandmother in California.”I changed [steamed buns] from a breakfast food to a late-night food.” To be distinctive and appeal to college students, he created a hip atmosphere: Employees are young and stylish and the background music is hip-hop. “I’m not playing Chinese music off laser discs,” Huang says.
Where the bun is usually sold as tradition and comfort, Baohaus sells it as cool, hip and convenient – a clue to his USP.
The USP Point
The point is that finding a USP for your product will give you an edge and help you stand out from the competition. It’s not about wearing the loudest colors, but about providing a unique offer that is recognized and valued by a certain market.
So how do you find your very own unique selling proposition? You can explore the competition as Entrepreneur suggests above and you can start brainstorming on different ways to improve or add an edge to you product. (Note that I am using the words “product, offer and service” interchangeably.)
10 Ideas To Help You Find Your Unique Selling Proposition
To help you get started, I created the list below. This is another post I created on Listly. So that means you can have your say by clicking on the thumbs up icon for the points you like best or thumbs down for those you flat out disagree with.
10 Ideas to Help Your Product Stand Out; Find That Edge!
Lots of products like yours out there? Don't worry! Use one or more of these ideas to make your product unique.
Check out competitors - what are they missing?
Where are competitors for a similar product falling short? Do they lack customer service? Do they only service a certain geographical area? Does their product leave out a certain market? For example, if you are selling baked goods, you might notice that many competitors don't cater to the market that requires gluten-free products.
Maximize on customer service
Provide the best service. Make things easy for your customer. They'll love you for it and will keep coming. Examples of excellent customer service: quick deliveries, quick responses to inquiries, quick solutions to problems, great guarantee, and easy to contact.
What are your market's problems?
If you explore your product's market, you may find some recurring problems. Can you modify your product to solve this problem? For example, imagine how confusing life would be without the invention of Sticky Notes! 3M is in the adhesive business, but it spotted an every day use for it's sticky product that would help with forgetfulness and make us all more efficient.
Can you do it differently than your competitors?
Sometimes it's just a matter of taking a well-known product and doing it differently. For example, electric cars run on batteries instead of fuel, which has been the norm for a hundred years at least. Another example? opening an online gallery instead of the regular brick and mortar one.
Use a different business model
Sometimes just changing the business model adds convenience for your customers. For example, http://www.petflow.com decided not to run a regular online store for pet products. Instead they offer a quasi-membership for scheduling regular future deliveries. Being able to schedule future deliveries, customers get the added value of less hassles related to running out of pet food and PetFlow get the convenience of recurring income.
Same product, different goal
You may offer the same product as many competitors, but you could change your mission or goal. For example, Laura Skelton at Jetsam, creates trendy wallets. But, she fashions them from used vintage ties. So her goal is to create and sell fashion items by recycling products and reducing waste. This goal is unique and not only results in a cool looking wallet, but also meets the needs of an Eco-conscious market.
Use a different theme
You'll see this often in restaurants and hotels. Think of Las Vegas and all of the hotels that differ in theme. For another less obvious example, Debbie Wells at http://vintagedancer.com sells retail clothes as an affiliate. Not uncommon, but you could say her theme is different. She only sells items that resemble vintage fashions. Go to her site and its like going back in time. Could you re-theme your product or service?
Focus on a side dish or two
Instead of creating and selling another main meal, maybe you should sell accompaniments like a chardonnay or some local fresh vegetables. So as an example, instead of creating another social media platform like Facebook, focus on tools that maximize its use, like HooteSuite, for example.
Segment the niche
Drill down. See if you can find a niche within a niche. Maybe you can target music teachers or seniors. Your marketing and maybe even your product will differ depending on who you are selling to. Of course, you want to pick a niche that's less marketed to. For example, Abby Gnanendran at http://www.earthrated.com, instead of targeting dog owners, focused on earth-friendly dog owners with his earth rated poop bags (excuse my language).
Bundle with complementary products
To stand out, your product or service can be packaged with complementary ones, also making it more desirable to your audience. For example, you could sell a plain old software package or you could sell that same product with an instruction guide and a short ebook on how to use that product to maximize sales. You not only might win the sale, but you may win it at a higher price than competitors for offering more value.
So, what about you? Do you have or plan to have a USP for your offer? Click on the thumbs icons next to the list items to express your opinion. Or, leave an additional Unique Selling Proposition idea in the comments. I love hearing from you!
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