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The Complete Guide to Unique Selling Proposition [How Sales Intelligence Software Can Help]

Published on August 31, 2021
Venkat Sridhar
Content Writer, Rafiki.ai

Small businesses are thriving in the United States--there are 31.7 million of them! 

How can you hope to distinguish yourself from others? Competing only on price will not cut it. 

A strong, memorable unique selling proposition will set you apart from your competitors. It will compel customers to pick you over other brands.

You must identify your unique selling proposition and use it to guide your overall branding and marketing strategy.

What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling proposition or a unique selling point (USP) is a summary of the specific benefit(s) that your product/service offers to the customer. 

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It is used by sales and marketing teams to differentiate the brand from direct competitors and communicate its unique value.

The unique sales proposition answers the question: Why should a potential customer buy from you?

Note that marketing offers like “up to 70% off,” “free shipping nationwide,” and “24X7 customer service” are not unique selling points. Everybody can offer them. 

Also, a selling proposition is more than just a catchy headline. Your product/service should be able to hold up to its promise.

What is unique selling proposition

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Why is a unique selling proposition important?

More than 90% of the business population in the United States is composed of small and medium businesses (SalesForce, 2019). That’s the size of the market from which you have to stand apart!

Your unique marketing proposition is important because:

  • It is an important part of your marketing strategy (4Ps). It guides marketing messages in advertisements, banners, social media, and so on.
  • It defines your position in the market and how you provide value.
  • It guides customer-facing teams on messaging and mission.
  • It targets potential customers, offers solutions to their problems, and prevents client churn.

Examples of unique selling propositions

A unique selling proposition shouldn’t be limited to a tagline. But you should be able to summarize your competitive advantage with your tagline.

Let’s take a look at some brilliantly crafted unique selling proposition examples and analyze why they work:

1. FedEx

FedEx has a memorable USP--“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” 

When it was first used in the 1970s, it was the only company that could help you deliver a package overnight.

FedEx has continued to back its USP through its extensive network and infrastructure. Deliveries are done on time and the company focuses on customer experience. 

2. Canva

Canva is an online designing and publishing tool meant for people who cannot use advanced editing tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

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Its USP, “...empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere,” is reflected in its simple and user-friendly platform. 

Users can choose from thousands of pre-made templates, shapes, and elements to design a professional flyer, brochure, or any other document.

Canva discovered a gap in the market and capitalized on it to grow to 30 million active users across 190 countries (as of June 2020).

3. ConvertKit

When ConvertKit launched in 2001 as a paid email marketing service, it was the only one to target professional bloggers and podcasters. It has advanced automation features and other features geared towards bloggers who want to grow their email lists.

Its tagline, “Email Marketing for Professional Bloggers,” is backed by a focus on content rather than design. As a result, it has received the blessings of leading bloggers like Pat Flynn and Abby. 

4. Stripe

With strong competitors like Payoneer and PayPal, how has Stripe distinguished itself?

It has positioned itself as a comprehensive financial solutions provider. Stripe targets developers and business owners who want to actively manage their payments processes. 

It offers various financial facilities and business cards to manage online payments instead of being just a payment gateway. It also has local partner programs to offer complete marketing solutions.

5. Starbucks

The USP of Starbucks is “Commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world.” 

How does it differentiate itself from other coffee shops? It positions itself as a hangout place where you can spend time with friends and family. 

Starbucks focuses not just on the quality of coffee it serves, but also on the overall experience. People like to sit at a Starbucks cafe and work because they enjoy the experience, including having their name written on their coffee cup!

3 ways to identify your unique selling proposition

To grow your sales, you need to discover your unique sales proposition and target your efforts accordingly. You can begin by analyzing the USP of other companies and how they craft their marketing messages.

For instance, airline companies don’t sell tickets, they sell benefits like on-time service or in-flight dining facilities.

Follow these steps to understand what is a USP:

1. Think from the customer’s perspective.

Instead of assuming that you know what your customers want, try to find out what they’re really looking for by conducting market research. 

Apart from pricing, factors like convenience, quality, reliability, and customer service also make a difference in how your customers view you.

Find a feature that meets the needs of your customers and devise your sales and marketing plans around it.

2. Analyze what influences your customers’ purchase decisions.

Remember that customers are not convinced to buy only based on logic. The emotional element is more powerful. For instance, clothing brands don’t sell clothes; they sell things like style and fit. 

It is important to understand the psychological motivation behind customers’ purchases.

3. Find out why your customers choose your products/services over others.

Check out your direct competitors and perform an in-depth analysis to find out why their customers choose them. Look up their marketing messages, social media pages, and websites. 

You’ll be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses as compared to your competitors. 

You can customize your marketing messages to focus on your strengths and not mention your weaknesses. Also, you can devise a strategy to improve on your weaknesses.

Once you’ve completed these three steps, ask yourself:

  • Which feature(s) of your product/service separate you from the pack?
  • How can you position yourself to attract your customers?

4 steps to craft a unique selling proposition

4 steps to craft a unique selling proposition

You have crystallized your strengths and now you know what is a unique selling proposition. But, how do you communicate it effectively?

1. Highlight your differentiating factor

Your unique selling proposition in marketing should make you stand out and should not be something your competitors can also use. Thus, your unique sales proposition should focus on highlighting this competitive edge. 

Selling proposition example: 

Starbucks has the slogan - “Love your beverage. Or let us know, we’ll make it right.” 

They don’t just sell good coffee; they promise that they will customize it based on your preferences.

2. Use short phrases

You should be able to communicate your unique selling proposition clearly and concisely. Long-winded sentences will fail to hold your customers’ interest. 

Your unique marketing proposition should compel your customers to want to know more about you.

Unique selling proposition example: 

BMW’s USP lies in its short and sweet tagline - “Sheer driving pleasure.”

3. Use superlative adjectives.

Use words like best, first, favourite, greatest, only, and so on to communicate your passion and enthusiasm for your brand. 

E.g. 

  • The world’s best chocolate...
  • A favourite among discerning gentlemen…
  • The only tool you need to create your marketing materials...

However, you should be able to back up such statements with your product/service. Else, it will appear overtly salesy.

4. Make your offering irresistible.

Your unique selling proposition should tell customers what’s in it for them, rather than how good you are. Give them a picture of how they stand to benefit after purchasing from you. 

E.g. 

  • Liquor companies sell the social benefits and status that is reflected in your choice of good liquor. 
  • Cosmetics companies sell the beauty, attractiveness, and glamour that customers will gain after using the product. 

How to A/B test your unique selling proposition?

You don’t stop at identifying and crafting your unique selling proposition - you test different versions to see which one gets you more customers.

A/B testing is a common practice in online marketing, wherein brands try to optimize marketing elements for more conversions.

Some of the ways in which you can A/B test your unique selling proposition are:

  • Landing pages

Use variations of your unique selling proposition to figure out which one the customer finds more relatable. Compare using specific metrics such as product purchases.

  •  Sales demo 

If your sales team reports that prospects resonate with a unique selling proposition, you can be confident of running with it. It will cause customers to believe in your offering and ask for more information.

How can Rafiki help you identify your unique selling proposition?

Rafiki is a comprehensive revenue intelligence and conversation intelligence tool that can help you identify your unique selling proposition by generating advanced prospect data. 

Topic trends captured from prospect and customer meetings enable you to research your target market and refine your offerings. 

Sales demo meetings are a source of rich insights into buying behaviour and motivation. Rafiki helps you pinpoint your prospects’ pain points and desires by analyzing these calls.

You can also identify opportunities to sell by mining intent data from prospect calls. Thus, a tool like Rafiki empowers your sales team to connect with the right customer at the right time. 

For more information on how Rafiki can be your sales intelligence partner, contact us today.

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