Your unique selling proposition (USP), also known as your unique selling point or business value proposition, will drive your tech startup marketing and sales strategy, so it must be good and well-thought out. What is surprising about so many unique selling propositions is that they are not unique at all, but rather very similar to their competitors’ own versions. This happens often in tech sectors and verticals, as there is often a lot of competition. Is your USP truly unique? If not, you’re in the right place, because we are going to look at how to write a unique selling proposition for your tech startup.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
Your USP is what separates you from other companies. It is what sets your product apart from the rest and the one element that will attract customers that your competitors can’t match. Say there are four hotels in a small holiday resort. One has a rooftop terrace bar and the others don’t. This gives the hotel with a swimming pool a great USP.
This is a simple example, although in competitive industries it can be difficult to write a unique selling proposition that really sets your company apart in a positive way. So what can you do to write a great USP?
6 Essential Steps: How to Write a Unique Selling Proposition
1. Understand the scope of the USP creation process
Coming up with a good USP takes considerable time. It is such an important task, that requires an approach of total commitment, patience and understanding of the scope involved. This will help ensure that it isn’t rushed and that it is done in the best way to support your company’s growth.
2. Create a comprehensive buyer persona
Your buyer persona is a formulated representation of your ideal customer. It is the person who you will target to be your client through marketing, business development and sales.
When creating your buyer persona, depending on your product and sector of course, include elements such as demographics, pain points, challenges, motivation, behaviour patterns and goals. Your buyer persona guides how you approach and interact with potential and current clients, and helps form the foundation of your USP.
3. Explain how you solve your customers’ problems
This is the very reason why a customer will buy your product. It’s all about solving problems, not because of how cool your company is or how much venture capital money you have raised!
How exactly does your product solve your customers’ problems? Is it convenient? Is it efficient? Do you offer great customer service? What are all the benefits that you offer to your customer?
These are what will resonate with customers.
Crucially, your USP should talk to your customer. Don’t make the mistake that many companies do, which is to focus more on talking about themselves. Explaining how to solve your customers’ problems is based on number 2 - your buyer persona. They go hand in hand.
4. List your most important, distinctive benefits
Be careful not to mix benefits with features. Your cutting-edge equipment is not a benefit, it’s a feature. Speed of delivery is a benefit. Now write out the most important benefits that will appeal to customers. Aim for at least 3.
Examples of benefits include saved time, reduced costs and more business opportunities. What can you offer your customers to solve their problems that your competitors can’t?
5. Create your customer promise
A good USP makes a pledge to customers. Something that they know they will receive with you. Let’s look at Domino’s Pizzas as an example: Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free. Domino’s promises pizza that is fresh and hot. You will get it in 30 minutes or less. And if they take longer, they promise that you get it for free.
It’s a great USP that combines a customer promise with benefits. What can you promise your customers to make you stand apart from your competitors? It can also be based on what customers are most interested in, whether it’s price, service, quality, or increasingly, it’s eco-friendly credentials.
6. Now write out a concise, compelling USP
You now know your ideal customer well. You know their behaviour patterns, their problems and so forth. You also know exactly how your product can help them to achieve their goals, solve their problems and help them meet their daily challenges. Now it’s time to put into words exactly why a potential customer should choose your company over your competition. Why should they choose you?
Begin by writing out a paragraph of, say, 3-5 lines. Then try to cut it down. Keep front of mind that it must be concise and compelling. What are the essential elements that you want to communicate? Are there parts that you can reduce in length or delete completely?
Once you get it down to between 1-2 lines, you then want to make it one standalone sentence or phrase.
This is your USP and it will form the cornerstone of your company’s sales and marketing success.