What’s Your Unique Selling Proposition in 2023?

unique selling proposition

Unique Selling Proposition

Why should you have a Unique Selling Proposition? Competition is continually increasing.  Even if you are in a local niche business your products and services will eventually become a commodity. Then for consumers the only question is: who has the lowest price?

The good news is that you can command both customer loyalty and higher pricing. How can you do that? With a great Unique Selling Proposition.

Consumers Have Many Choices

Consumers have many choices, and they desire to quickly understand what differentiates one product/service or brand from the other. As a result, developing the correct way to position yourself and your goods/services can mean the difference between standing out and blending in. That’s why the best entrepreneurs use a unique selling proposition (USP) to guide their branding and marketing decisions.

Put in the simplest terms, the Unique Selling Proposition (commonly referred to as USP) is what sets your products and/or services apart from your competitors.

A USP Communicates the Heart of Your Business

Stated as a unique strategy that communicates the heart of your business, the USP serves as the theme of all your marketing endeavors. The question the USP answers for your client is this: “I love to purchase/order/hire from your business, instead of your competition.”

Unique Selling Proposition

A Unique Selling Proposition or USP is a company’s distinctive “hook” that tells the marketplace what sets them apart from the competition. Your USP defines the reputation and value of your company and allows you to charge higher prices than lower-value commodity products or services. Your Unique Selling Proposition is strategic and long-term, while your tactical marketing plan is short term.

Stop Your Customer from Shopping Around

Research has shown that most people check out 4-5 different businesses before purchasing goods or services. Having a magnetic USP can turn the buyer’s head. Much like curb appeal is to selling a home, a USP is crucial to making a significant first impression that results in a sale.

Your USP should tell the story of how your product or service is different or better than your competitors. It identifies your strongest values or benefits – and drives customers to choose you, not them.

Characteristics of Good and Bad USPs

 * *  Best Elements  * * * *  Worst Elements * *
Contains specific benefits or features A general statement without detailed information
Clear, easy-to-understand, simple Confusing, vague, jargon, hype (superlatives like “stupendous” or “world-famous”)
Unique and distinctive from the competition Generic, common offer. Using platitudes- “we offer quality.” Your competition is saying the same thing.
Short and concise Rambling; too long
Attention-grabbing; exciting Forgettable
Explains how you can solve customer problems Doesn’t clarify your value in solving customer needs
Uses different language than that of company or product names Repeats wording from your company name or offerings
Appealing verbiage Bland, boring wording
Focuses on benefits Just talks about features
Exhibits value, solution, or uniqueness Is really a mission statement
Is based in sincerity and commitment Says only what they think the customer wants to hear

The best USP should be truly one-of-a-kind – there’s no point in making a distinction about yourself that’s already being used by competitors. It also should be something that your customers want … and recognize as a benefit. Let’s look at a few examples that spell out the difference between better and poor:

Bad USPs

Good USPs

An email automation business uses the tagline “The ultimate solution.”

It’s a vague claim that says nothing about what makes them different.

An HVAC company – Their jingle is “There’ll be cool air at your house tonight!” Potential customers immediately get their guarantee that the service will be fast and effective.
Connect your entire workforce with <name of company>.” Focuses on a feature, not a benefit. WalMart – Has the lowest price. Not a tagline, but this megastores unwritten value proposition is undeniable.
A software firm declares “We provide systemized technological solutions for query-based operating systems in a Linux environment.” It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, nor is it something a customer will remember. Also, avoid “we,” “our,” and “I” as it’s company-centered, not customer-centered. Avis – Were number two, so we try harder. This promise is so believable.

Fundly Raise Money for Anything. Everybody knows what they do in a second.

Listia Get rid of old stuff. Get new stuff for free. And, it gets right to the point.

Serving the entire Southeast.” Well, they do cover some territory, but lacks the details needed to stand out. LegalShield – Worry Less. Live More. Easy to remember and is compelling. Who doesn’t want this promise?
A hair salon: “We’re a cut above the rest.” Not what you’d call unique. Tiffany – Provides the highest quality luxury items. Tiffany’s 180-year reputation is known worldwide.

So Whats Your USP?

As you can see, creating a great USP requires some soul-searching, knowledge of what your customers really want, and a bit of writing finesse.

business meeting with the team

Four Steps for Building a Unique Selling Proposition

  1. Begin by examining your company offerings from the prospect of the target market, which may be sectioned by factors like gender, age, culture, race, income level, religion, education, and so on. What does your ideal consumer actually want? Does your client station prefer lower prices, loyal customer service, an appropriate location, comfort, home delivery, etc.?
  2. Challenge yourself with questions such as “what does my goods or service offer that my competitors’ goods or services do not?” Then find out the specific advantages this provides to your consumers. If you can not provide definite answers to these questions in a few simple phrases then you probably might not be doing enough to distinguish your business products/services from your competitors in the marketplace.
  3. Create a paragraph or two that describes all the unique elements of your business.
  4. Put all of these together in a single sentence that is remarkable enough to be utilized as an advertising slogan.

You can consider these questions to ferret out your true value proposition:

  • What are the aspects of our services or products that make a difference to buyers?
  • Who is our target audience/client?
  • What are the pain points of our ideal customer?
  • What problem(s) are we solving?
  • How is your company or offerings different from the competition?
  • What do my existing clients say they like about our business or offerings?
  • Which are my company’s greatest strengths? Why do we stand out?
  • Since your company is a reflection of you, how are you unique?
  • What are the concrete, most desirable benefits that you give customers?
  • Exactly what are we selling?
  • How do we clearly and concisely state our USP?

Unique Selling Proposition

Creating a USP Where None Exists

If you’re struggling to find your own unique selling proposition, that could signal there’s something missing. Consider adding worth or uniqueness through some of these value-adds:

  • Guaranteeing your work. Providing a guarantee is a well-honored way to build trust with clientele. Potential customers see value in a company that will back up their work with a promise to make things right when a customer has a complaint about your product or service.

One distinction – a “guarantee” in this context is a verb; it offers a promise. A “warranty” is a noun; it’s a written contract.

Factors to consider when defining your guarantee:

  • Be specific. A promise of “Your satisfaction is guaranteed, or your money back” is too open-ended and open to interpretation. This generalized statement invites abuse by a client and can end with bad feelings all the way around. It could result in a poor rating on Yelp, which can be damaging to your reputation and future business.
  • It should address the main frustrations of your target customers. If you’re a hotel, guarantee what you know customers are typically concerned about.
  • Make it impressive. Avoid being too humble – make sure they know you firmly and boldly stand behind what you say.
  • Ensure you can and will back up your guarantee! If there’s a possibility that fulfilling your guarantee may not be immediate, but that it eventually will be done, then let customers know that.
  • Empower your employees to immediately honor your guarantee. Then back your employees’ decision without fail.

A Ritz-Carlton hotel was the largest client in one of my past businesses. This world-class hotel chain did not want any of their clients to walk away disgruntled because of an incident, regardless of fault. Their policy was for any employee who became aware of a problem instantly became “the owner” of the problem. Every employee was required to immediately pacify the customer with up to $2,000 worth of room upgrades, meals, concierge services, etc. without management approval! This kind of guarantee was one of the practices that made the Ritz Carlton world-class.

  • Developing a distinctive brand. Your logo, colors, fonts, and graphics can say a lot about you and draw in customers while indicating your unique selling proposition. A compelling visual identity can instantly tell a prospect who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.

Companies who do branding right:


  • Dropbox. A vibrant color palette with an emphasis on imagery tells the story of their creativity and services.


  • Wells Fargo. A bank that builds familiarity and subtle sophistication with its consistent use of that cherry red font and horse-drawn stagecoach. Their slogan “Together, we can go far” is splendid. What other bank trademarks can you recall?



  • Parkinson’s Foundation. A logo that resembles a brain inside a head clues everyone immediately on its research around the neurological disorder. They use a bright blue that suggests hope and vibrancy.


Branding may require that you engage with a company that specializes in this field, but it can have a worthwhile return.

  • Brainstorm Your Unique Values. Gather a few team members and have a session to drive out your USP(s). Think about who your perfect customer is, what they really want, and what motivates them to buy from you.

Following are some examples of strengths, benefits, and differentiating qualities that could be the basis for your USP:

  • Lowest Cost
  • Fastest delivery
  • Highest quality
  • Always in stock
  • Dependability
  • Guarantees
  • Speed to market
  • Open 24/7
  • Craftsmanship
  • Unique design features
  • Unparalleled service
  • American-made
  • Handmade
  • Product durability
  • Selling style, glamour, or prestige

Draft Five USP’s

While all these ideas and considerations may seem obvious, the truth is that it isn’t easy to come up with that one magic USP. Don’t limit yourself to just one USP; set out to draft at least five.

If your business is in a mature industry or niche, you may have a hard time figuring out what hasn’t already been said or done. Just take a look at your business from different perspectives, or ask someone outside of your business to look at it with fresh eyes.

As soon as you decide on a strong USP, make sure that everyone knows about it. Include it in every ad, message, email, social media post, and landing page. Put it on your business card, flyers, postcards, and brochures. List it on banners and signage. Instruct your entire team to use your USP to compel customers to choose your services and products over your competitors.

Testing Your Unique Selling Proposition


If you’re undecided on which is the best of your draft USPs, then try these ideas:

  • Create a landing page for each USP, then wait a bit to see which has the highest activity rate.
  • Set up a simple contest with your customers – post a numbered list of your proposed USPs. Have them write down their choice on their business card, which is put in a fishbowl. Hold a drawing after a week or a month, offering them a discount or prize.
  • At your next networking event (or two or three), show a print of your potential USPs to a few attendees and have them pick a favorite. You can thank them for their opinion with a lollipop, pen, or other small giveaways.
  • Post your USP on Survey Monkey, Facebook, or other forum and wait for the feedback. Don’t be discouraged at the negative comments – unfortunately, it’s the price everyone pays in the incognito world of the internet.
  • Email your employees to request their two cents … and ask them to weigh in with some of their USP suggestions (they might come up with a gem)!


However you find and define your unique selling proposition, it’s not just about getting more customers in the door. It’s a sure thing that you’ll learn a lot more … about your company’s purpose, direction, products, and services … about your existing and potential clients … and about building a business that has value, character, and long-lasting appeal.


small business coach

Marketing Strategy Definition- Win More Clients!

Marketing strategy

Any small business owner knows they must create a marketing strategy and update it regularly. This is an extremely important tool to plan how to sell and to track your sales performance.

Marketing Strategy Definition- Win More Clients!

Whether this a start-up plan or one created after you’ve launched your business, the fundamentals remain the same.

When tackling the subject of marketing, you must first understand the difference between the strategies and tactics of a general marketing plan.

Strategic Marketing Vs. Tactical Marketing

Strategy refers to the overall vision and approach you want to follow towards your goals, while tactics involve the actions needed to fulfill your strategy.

A sampling of marketing strategies might include:

  • Create a strong and consistent online marketing campaign via social media most used by target audience
  • Build loyalty and trust with free webinars, content, and videos
  • Negotiate with large-scale retailers to sell products
  • Bring product quickly to market to take advantage of a new trend

Marketing is what allows you to place your product or service in front of prospects. It’s also how you create brand awareness. Your approach to marketing is to ultimately pull in potential clients, make sales, and bring in the cash flow needed to make a profit.

Marketing Can Dramatically Grow Your Business

Not surprisingly, the topic of marketing can be intimidating to a business owner because of all the daunting research, data, and choices. As any small business coach will tell you, the typical self-employed owner has to wear many hats to get their company off the ground >  designer, pitchman, social media maven, copywriter. Unfortunately, most are not marketing geniuses.

Once you have an overall marketing strategy, you’ll need to consider the tactical marketing actions needed to achieve those strategic goals.

First, find out what should be in your Strategic Marketing Plan.

Strategic Marketing

As you develop your plan to market your company’s products and services, it all begins with your marketing strategy. This is what determines the direction that your business will follow. Usually it addresses a broad view of the long term, but there’s no reason you can’t start with a high-level vision and narrow it down whenever you want.

Both management and operations should engage in developing this key element.

A strategic marketing plan generally covers:

  • Mission Statement or Goals. Defining what the company wants to accomplish. Write out your USP (unique selling proposition).
  • Market Trends. Spelling out current market drivers that are happening now. Maybe your furniture store decides to sell trendy upcycled furniture in addition to standard inventory.
  • Target Audience. Discerning the demographics of who wants or needs your offerings. If you’re a business coach, then this group would include entrepreneurs, small business owners, and independent business owners.
  • Budget. You have to consider the numbers. Set a limit on how much to spend on:
    • Social media or landing pages or newspaper ads
    • Printed materials, business cards, or banners
    • A consultant, copywriter, or website designer
    • Networking or club fees (have to get out there face-to-face)
    • Associated technology or software (iPad, projector, security)
  • Customer Retention. A plan to ensure repeat customers, thus repeat sales. Possibilities are rewards programs, special promotions, and regular clearance sales. You could give away hats, bumper stickers, or the like.
  • Pricing. Assign a price to your products and services which reflect not only their quality and worth but also on the cost to produce and what the market will bear. You should also consider special pricing:
    • Will there be discounts for large volume bundles?
    • Does the price include guarantees or warranties or can they be sold separately?
    • Will you have special sales or offers at certain times of the year?
  • Promotional strategy. The general approach to sales such as radio and television ads, teleseminars, trade shows, social media, email campaigns, and networking.
  • Distribution. Delineate your high-level strategy for getting products and services to the customer. Will they buy online or in a retail shop? Will customers be able to purchase at special venues/events or at face-to-face meetings? If shipping is needed, how will that be done economically?
  • Your Competitive Edge. Identifying and assessing your competition will be crucial in figuring out where your company stands in the marketplace. If you open a hardware store, you must know how your company will compete against giants like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
  • Partners, Referrals, and Joint Ventures. There could be strong benefits in collaborating with peers, contacts, and other business owners:
    • Referrals for your products or services
    • Sharing email address lists for promotional campaigns
    • Cross-promoting events like showcases, workshops, and tele-seminars.
  • Whether you see them as weaknesses, shortcomings, threats, or roadblocks, you must be aware of the potential risks to your success, like:
    • insufficient or inconsistent income
    • inability to find a skilled workforce
    • lack of business experience
    • being new to a saturated market

You should now be able to confirm if your small business has the finances, resources, and foundation to grab market opportunities while tackling those threats that will pop up.

After defining your overall marketing strategy and goals, you’ve gotten a better grasp on elements like demographics, trends, costs, risks, and logistics. Now, you can then start to develop the actual tactics to reach those goals.

Marketing strategy

Tactical Marketing

As mentioned, tactical marketing refers to the actions to take towards reaching your strategic goals.

Tactical marketing should address the steps needed to reach goals such as building websites, generating leads, placing ads, and promoting sales.

Set your tactics according to your available resources > primarily budget, personnel, vendors, partners, materials, inventory, and facilities.

Developing Your Tactical Marketing Plan

You will find yourself needing two different tactics: foundational and ongoing. Foundational tactics are the ones that you just do once (such as creating your website), while ongoing tactics are the ones that are used in different ways over time (such as promoting a product).

A tactical marketing plan doesn’t have to be a specific size or shape. The main point is that it adapts to your needs, resources, and business objectives.

Following are typical elements of a tactical marketing plan:

#1 Tactical Decisions With Products and Services

This section covers what you want to do with new products and services. It’s the right place to include all the related aspects around decisions needed to market your offerings. It is also important to brainstorm any downstream effects or changes that this may bring, such as changes to your manufacturing process or the need for a new distribution channel.

Begin with an overview of current offerings, which might include:

  • Product and service descriptions
  • Key features
  • Main benefits
  • Manufacturing/development processes
  • Branding
  • Packaging
  • Distribution

#2 Tactical Decisions With Promotion

Describe how your products and services are going to be promoted. This part of your Tactical Marketing Plan usually includes four potential promotional approaches: (1) advertising, (2) sales promotion, (3) personal selling, and (4) public relations.

For this section, timetables are incredibly important. Let’s say that you are considering setting up at a trade show or buying magazine ads. These types of promotions can require long lead times.

In the case of buying magazine ads, lay out time frame and milestones for:

  • researching which magazines reach your target demographic
  • comparing pricing among magazines
  • choosing the ad size, copy, and imagery
  • deciding on the perfect time (month, season) to place the ad

The majority of section should employ graphs and tables to represent key information with a glance.

Include special promotion programs that you define for holiday, seasonal, local events, or other benchmarks.

  • Advertising Objectives: Can address a range of objectives like respond to competitor promotion, encourage product trial, build traffic, increase use or purchase rate, and branding. You should also clarify the ad type to employ, such as direct mail, billboards, social media posts, or television spots.
  • Sales Promotion Objectives: May include goals such as build traffic, encourage repurchase, increase product trial, support other promotions, and build inquiries. You should also clarify the sales promotion type that you’re going to use – it may be product demonstrations or coupons, for instance.
  • Personal Selling Objectives: Could involve aims like encourage purchase, develop new accounts, build traffic, increase product trial, and support accounts. You should also clarify the selling type that you’re going to adopt, like a call center or a sales force.
  • Public Relations Objectives: Might cover actions such as respond to negative news, report an upcoming activity such as a new product release, build inquiries or traffic, or promote a sale or event.
    Spell out the possible PR choices – a press release, social media post, pitch to media, or any other.

#3 Tactical Decisions With Pricing

To write this section of your Tactical Marketing Plan, you need to have good knowledge about economic conditions, the market, your competitors, and your customers.

You may want to use both graphs and tables that allow you to display the different pricing decisions and trends in each one of the categories that you plan to define.

Other Important Areas in Marketing 

There may be less major decisions to make such that your small business reaches its goals, which might cover:

  • Marketing research
  • Customer support service
  • Calls-to-action (Ex. driving potential customers to download a PDF, go to your website, etc., sign up for a teleseminar)
  • On-hand inventory
  • Focus groups, surveys, or other means of customer feedback
  • Thresholds, metrics, and measurements

Drilling Down With Your Marketing Strategy

This is the moment to lay out the details on accomplishing your tactical goals – it’s time to drill down what, who, when, where and how.

WHAT          You need to outline all the tasks that need to be completed to reach the business goals that you defined in your strategic marketing plan.

WHO           Identify the human resources with the skills and knowledge to accomplish the tasks – will it be you, an employee, temporary, consultant, vendor, or intern? If staff not yet in place, use a title (Lead Mechanic, CEO, Editor, Salesperson).

WHERE       Specify if tasks are done on-site or off-site (at a networking event or trade show, or by a third-party vendor or remote worker).

WHEN         Know the timing and order of when things must happen – i.e., a website host site must be in place prior to hosting a webinar.

HOW           Develop the procedures or processes for personnel to execute by.

As always, you know that you can count on our Small Business Consultation Services to ensure that you are on the right track for growing your small business.

Conclusion: Getting Results From Your Marketing Plan

Your Marketing Plan allows you to know your company’s direction, the course that you are following, and your planned destination.

With a well-detailed Tactical Marketing Plan, you will have a measurable plan that includes your estimates in terms of product and service offerings, promotions, pricing, and other relevant areas.

It’s important to check regularly that your plan is on track and to make adjustments as trends, costs, and resources change.

Do you have a marketing strategy? If so, how is your plan impacting your business? Let us know your thoughts in the comments area below.small business coach