Graphic illustrating a variety of different marketing tactics around a unique selling proposition.

How to Write a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Small Business

Learn How to Write a Unique Selling Proposition to Make Your Business Stand Out!

A unique selling proposition is the key selling point your company will use to differentiate itself from the competition.

But why does your company need to know how to write a unique selling proposition? Shouldn’t it be enough that your company has high-quality products and services?

Yes, it should.

In a perfect world, your high-quality work would speak for itself, and customers would come and reward you for your efforts.

But we don’t live in a perfect world.

The sad truth is, the highest quality small businesses can still get crowded out by the competition. Consumers will overlook your business if you don’t effectively communicate with them.

Therefore, you need to tell potential customers why they should come to you and not your competitors. And this is often more complicated than just saying you have the best products.

After all, everyone claims they have the best products and services, which is why that message quickly becomes white noise in today’s crowded market. So, instead of touting your superiority, you need to get a little more creative.

You need to look at what your competitors are doing and find something that you do that they don’t do. You need to look at how they market themselves and find something about your business to highlight that they aren’t highlighting.

Once you find that fundamental difference, you have the heart of your USP. The trick is finding it.

So, are you ready to learn how to write a unique selling proposition?

Good, then let’s begin!

Image of a journal with the words “What Makes You Unique?” written in it.
A good USP will make you stand out from the crowd.

Step 1: Empathize with Your Customers

You’ll never truly understand a person until you walk a mile in his or her shoes. While this is a cliché, it’s still a fact.

Therefore, the first step in creating a unique selling proposition for your business is identifying your target audience.

There are two different ways to do this: through personal experience and data collecting.

Method 1: Personal Experience

Take some time to think about your customers. Who are they? What are their passions, interests, and goals?

Reflect on these questions for your customer base. As you do, create a list of the characteristics that define your audience. Some of the factors you’ll want to consider include:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Attitudes
  • Challenges
  • Goals

Of course, making this list will be easier if you have a lot of personal experience with your customers to draw from. Newer businesses will probably have more luck with data collecting.

Data Collecting

If you don’t know your customer base very well, then the best way to learn about them is to ask. You can do this by talking to your customers or by asking them to fill out a survey.

If you do create a survey, remember to keep it short, simple, and focused on collecting the information you most want to know.

Combine and Analyze

Once you’ve collected the pieces of the puzzle that is your customer base, it’s time to put it together.

Comb through the data and come up with a few key factors that identify your target audience.

Once you have those, you are ready for step two.

Step 2: Look at Your Rivals

It stands to reason that if you want to stand out from your competition, you must know what your competitors are saying.

So, don’t be shy. Take a look!

Scour the websites, social media posts, ads, and videos put out by your biggest competitors. Notice the types of words they use to describe their services. Do they emphasize their products? Or are they more focused on their customer service?

Most importantly, notice what they DON’T emphasize.

As you look at their marketing materials, reflect on how you might do things differently. If you notice something that you think is lacking, write it down! That will be a handy insight to have for the next steps in the process.

Once you feel like you understand how your competitors are communicating, put them aside.

It’s now time to focus on you.

Step 3: Brainstorm Your Biggest Strengths

We want to warn you right up front: If you have a hard time bragging about your business, then this step might be tough for you. But it is a necessary evil if you ever want your company to stand out.

The goal of this step is to get all the best things about your company out on paper. It’s the best way to figure out what makes your product or service unique.

To do this step right, you are going to have to turn off your mental filter and let your ideas flow free. That’s right, we’re talking about a good old-fashioned brainstorm!

An excellent way to do this is to block off a couple of hours so that you’re free from distraction. You need the thoughts to flow without hindrance.

You can also invite trusted members of your team along to help you brainstorm. The more, the merrier!

Image of a bright lightbulb above a team hard at work.
The more strengths your team can brainstorm for your unique selling proposition, the better.

Step 4: Filter Your Results

Hopefully, you came up with a decent list. Now it’s time to start crossing things out.

At this point, you will have collected three different sets of data:

  • Your audience’s characteristics
  • How your rivals communicate to your audience
  • Your company’s biggest strengths

Now it’s time for those three lists to collide.

You need to go through your company’s list of strengths one by one and ask yourself two questions: 1) How does this strength help my target audience? And 2) Are any of my competitors already using this strength to market their business?

Let’s look at each of these questions separately below:

How Does This Strength Help My Target Audience?

Now that you know who your customers are, it should be easy to intuit the types of problems they need help with.

So, as you go through your list of strengths, you need to filter them through the lens of whether they directly contribute to giving your customers what they need most.

For example, one of your company’s strengths may be its excellent customer service. However, you may have found that your target audience is more interested in the quality of your product. Since that strength doesn’t primarily contribute to meeting their biggest need, you probably won’t want to emphasize it in your unique selling proposition.

So, cross out any strengths that don’t solve your customer’s biggest problems.

Are Any of My Competitors Already Using This Strength?

While you may find that a strength of your company does solve your customer’s problems, it still may not be USP material. This is because your competitors could already have the market cornered on that strength.

So, as you go through your list if you find any strengths that match up with your rivals’ marketing messages, cross them out.

As you do this, you will hopefully find that your list is narrowing down significantly.

Step 5: Lay Out Your Uniqueness

Once you’ve filtered your initial list of strengths, it’s time to see what you have left.

Write out your final list and mull it over.

Are there any commonalities you see between the items on your list? If so, then consider combining similar elements.

The goal is to narrow it down to the one point you want to emphasize. So, any condensing you can do during this step will only help make things easier for you.

Next, try taking all the elements from your list and combining them into a short paragraph.

Graphic of a funnel featuring the steps involved in writing a unique selling proposition.
As you compare your business’ strengths with the needs of your audience and your competitors’ strategies, your USP will start to take shape.

Step 6: Play Around for a While

Good news: that paragraph you created contains your unique selling proposition! The only problem is it’s like a diamond hidden in a lump of coal. You’re going to have to do some work to remove that diamond from the rough.

The good news is, this work can be fun!

Play around with the paragraph you came up with. Try to cut it down to one sentence that sums up what makes you different.

The fun part is there are no wrong answers here. You’ve already done the work of collecting and filtering the data. Now you can enjoy messing around with the results you’ve come up with.

So, cut it down to one sentence. Then save that sentence and cut it down again.

Try to come up with a wide selection of 5-10 different USPs for you to choose from.

Once you have a bunch of potential USPs, it’s time to test them out on people.

Step 7: See What People Like

Seek out the feedback of trusted employees or loyal customers.

Give them your list of potential USPs and ask them to give you their honest feedback. Have them pick their favorite or their top three favorites. Ask them if there are any elements from any of the options they like or things they would like to see improved.

They may tell you that they like different parts from a few of the USPs on your list. This could indicate that you may want to try to create a new USP that combines those elements. It never hurts to try!

As you seek people’s feedback, remember that the final decision is ultimately your company’s. So, at the end of the day, when you find that special sentence that most rings true to you, make that your final choice.

Step 8: Flaunt Your New USP

Once you’ve found that beautiful sentence that perfectly describes what sets your business apart, shout it from the mountain tops!

Your unique selling proposition should be the central theme across all your marketing materials. After all, it is the perfect summation of your company’s top selling point. Don’t hide it under a bushel; let is shine!

Ready to Create a USP for Your Business?

As you can see, crafting the perfect USP is an exercise in cutting through the clutter. There’s a lot of information out there about your customers, your competition, and your business. Somewhere in all of that is the perfect message that will distinguish you from your rivals.

By following the steps we’ve laid out in this blog, you can find your USP and hopefully have some fun in the process!

Need some assistance writing your USP in Fox Lake, IL or the Chicago area? We at Frontier Marketing would be happy to help. If you have questions about any of the steps, feel free to reach out. You can give us a call at 847-254-0837 or send us a message on Facebook. We’d be more than happy to help!