One of the most deadly things a startup can do is fail to find a unique selling proposition (USP). This mistake causes many small businesses to crash and burn, which reimburses the statistic that 80% of entrepreneurs fail in the first 18 months.
Avoiding the trap of blending into the crowd is tricky, but here are some effective tips to determine your company’s USP:
Target a specific niche of people
As Laura Click says in her article on how to get your business to stand out, “when you try to serve everyone, you serve no one.”
Targeting “everyone” as your audience is foolish and just downright impossible. Don’t shoot for the stars when it comes to marketing to as many people as possible since focusing on a specific niche of people allows you to concentrate your effort and resources.
Also, by selecting a niche audience, you distinguish yourself from the competition out there simply by targeting a slightly different crowd.
Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes
One of the most crucial things to focus on as you develop a product or service is to listen to what your target audience wants. Failing to meet current needs within the market and creating something that people aren’t looking to use can mean a rapid spiral for your business.
Although it’s tempting to make assumptions about what your customers are craving, don’t. It’s risky business to produce any kind of product or service without thoroughly listening and engaging in dialogue with people.
Pinpoint how your business meets an emotional need
When finding your company’s unique selling point, it’s important to ask yourself, “How does my product or service meet an emotional need?” As humans, we’re driven by our emotions, and they can influence a lot of the decisions we make.
So pinpointing the emotional needs of your customers helps you brand your business in a way that’s relevant. A great example of how a company successfully told a story and appealed to emotions is Extra Gum and their commercial on Sarah and Juan.
In general, to find the driving emotions, you need to study what motivates and inspires your customers to buy. Uncovering the real reasons, whether it be convenience, fear, or comfort, can allow you to develop cutting-edge marketing strategies.
Communicate your proposition clearly
No matter how profound or well-thought out your proposition and mission are, they fall flat if you can’t communicate them to your customers in a way they understand and can relate to.
Practice summing up the purpose of your business in just one sentence. For example, you could say something along the lines of, “With [insert business name], you can connect with like-minded entrepreneurs to partner and build connections.”
After you “figure out the true value you bring to the table which is unique and different than others in the marketplace,” as Wagner writes, articulate it in a “clear, concise, and compelling” way.
Tell your personal story
Your personal story can pack a punch when drawing in customers because your personality and experience can make a business unique just like a product or service can.
Maybe you’re starting a nonprofit to help homeless people because you’ve gone through poverty at some point in your life. Maximize experiences that relate to your mission to:
- Make your brand personal
- Connect with others who have experienced similar things
- Appeal to emotions
If you want your business to stand out from the competition, the key is to find your unique selling proposition, target a niche group of people, understand their tendencies and emotional needs, communicate your purpose clearly, and include your personal story.