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Website Audit Series – The Unique Selling Proposition

At RadiateWP, we conduct a comprehensive site audit for every website that we manage. One of the important audit points that we look at is the Unique Selling Proposition. Each audit asks the question if the website has adequately conveyed their unique selling proposition.

Does this website exhibit a Unique Selling Proposition?

We ask this question on every website audit that we conduct. 

Picture of the audit point looking at the Unique Selling Proposition

This is a screenshot of an actual audit point on one of our website audits looking at the Unique Selling Proposition.

When you’re positioning your business to be successful, naturally you want to figure out how to be the best of the best, right? Having a well-developed Unique Selling Proposition (USP) can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s not necessarily best to be a “Jack (or Jill) of all trades”. In the following paragraphs, we’ll help you develop an understanding of what a USP is and how to create one.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

A unique selling proposition is a marketing term that helps your buyers differentiate your business from your competitor’s. This particular specialty is usually highlighted in a unique selling proposition and helps the buyer make an educated decision. The USP also helps you keep focused on marketing decisions like strategy, branding, and product messaging. In a nutshell, this is what your business stands for above all else. That’s not to say that you can’t dabble in other areas, but your USP is the main focus of your business.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Suppose for a minute that you are experiencing foot pain and need to see a doctor. There are many doctors out there and your quick internet search is going to turn up many specialties. But what you are really looking for is a foot doctor, not an ear doctor or a cardiologist. All of the returned results for doctors, other than the podiatrist you are looking for, are “noise” and not something you are going to click on. You are probably going to skip right past them and click on the one “specializing in foot pain”.

Having a unique selling proposition helps you define your business and attract the clients that are looking for you. A spotlight on your specific benefit or expertise that makes your business stand out amongst the rest.

How do I create a Unique Selling Proposition?

First, a brainstorming session is in order. Before you start, think about a product that you regularly purchase. It can be any product. Ask yourself why you choose that product over an almost identical product offered by a similar company. This could be a pen, a loaf of bread, a pair of shoes, a computer, etc. The point is you have two similar items, but you have chosen one particular product over and over. Why? Is it because it is more visually appealing; or perhaps has more features; does it feel better when you hold it; taste better? Perhaps it’s just that the company has a better return policy or customer service.

Now, it is time to start brainstorming about what sets you apart from the competition. What do you have to offer that they don’t? Again, it is not about being the best in all areas. You might have a marketing business that specializes in SEO, but you also dabble in web design, branding, and some collateral creations. It is important to keep in mind that many of your competitors may also do these things, and it is ok that you do all of these, but what is your specialty? What are you best at?

Someone wanting an expert marketing person to produce collateral materials probably won’t be happy if you are just producing mediocre materials. But, if they are looking for SEO optimization, and that is your area of expertise, you will make them very happy. Wearing too many hats can be a downfall and be the demise of your business. Remember, you want to highlight your specific benefit or expertise and how  your business is different from the competition.

Ask these questions to find your Unique Selling Proposition

If you need help getting started, try answering these questions:

  • Who is your target audience and what do they want? It may be helpful to do some research and hold some focus groups to gather information, have an online form that can be completed, ask people around you to ensure you are getting what the customer really wants.
  • “How can my business serve its core audience in a way that others cannot?” This could be many things, but it’s important to narrow this down to a specialty that your business stands for above all else. Customer Service, best quality, SEO, changing tires quickly, free returns or shipping, etc. Since bringing value to your customers is vital, this question always needs to have an answer.
  • Check out your competition! Read their reviews and look through their website. What are they doing well? Are there areas they are failing to meet their target audience’s needs?
  • Go back to your list from Brainstorming. What are your strengths? What sets you apart from the competition? Are there one or two things that stand out?

Finally, you can put it all together. What problem can you solve? What are your differentiators? Your unique selling proposition comes down to a single pledge or promise. We are not talking about writing a thesis or anything here. This can be short and sweet, but it is important to ensure a succinct description of what your business stands for.

We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z).

Slack has a fantastic example of a unique selling Proposition. Outcry.io talks about the Slack USP.

 

Slack is a place where your team comes together to collaborate, important information can be found by the right people, and your tools pipe in information when and where you need it.

Differentiation is the Key!

When creating a unique selling proposition, the best approach highlights your product or expertise and the differentiation from your nearest competitor(s) instead of comparing your similarities. The idea is to put your business in a position where it can shine on its own. Duplicating what makes others successful will only ensure short-term success at best while being different. While harder at first, differentiation can make your business stand the test of time. But remember, this will only work if your USP is strong enough!

Now that you have your unique sales proposition, you are ready to begin working on other marketing decisions like strategy, branding, and product messaging.

This post is a part of the website audit series posted by RadiateWP using the aggregated data with hundreds of data points from the many site audits conducted by the site audit team. You can view other posts with valuable tips to improve your website. 

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