If you’re a start-up business, it can be really difficult to get off to the best start and really maximise the power of your brand. One of the most important things you should include in our business plan is your unique selling point or sometimes referred to as unique selling proposition (USP). Your unique selling point is the reason your business stands out to your audience and competitors. When identifying your unique selling point, there are a few things that you need to consider. UK Car Finance are an established UK brand who have put together their top tips on how to identify your USPs for your new business or start up.
In order to maximise your USP, you need to understand who you’re selling to. The product/service you’re selling will have a natural and usually obvious audience. Drilldown your audience by demographics and characteristics. Think about specifics such as age location, gender, occupation, ethnicity, personality, values, hobbies and interests. How will your product or service benefit their life? If you’re already established, look at your current customer base and determine whether they’re still suitable to your product or service. Look at similarities and trends of your best performing customers and use this information to find new, similar customers. From previous marketing campaigns, you can find a whole load of data about what works well for your customers and what USPs they react to. Do you have a certain tag line or product range that is particularly popular? Utilise this to your advantage.
Learning from your competitors is a great way to get ahead of the game. Identify who is your local, national and even international competitors and check out their websites, reviews and social media feeds. It is easy to see from social media posts which posts get the most engagement, likes and comments etc. Have a look at their products and services and what they are promoting. This helps you to identify your strengths and how you are similar but also what sets you aside from the competition. Some of your competitors may have an established position in the current market but are they meeting all of the customer’s needs?
Each company’s USP will be different, but even more so depending on which industry you’re working in. For some industries, the current market will change more frequently and diversely than others. Identify the key trends in your industry and any issues that this poses for your business and use this to your advantage. The best thing you can do is to expect the unexpected and plan for the worst. Your USPs should be solid and consistent but also flexible enough to move with the times. You don’t want to be left behind. For example, within the car finance industry, new regulations set by the Financial Conduct Authority could affect a promotion or advert that you’re currently advertising.
Take a look at your products or services and decide what makes you stand out from the crowd. Are your prices the most competitive on the market? What makes your product unique? How will you market your service? All of these can determine what your main USP will be. For UK Car Finance, they identified one of their unique selling points to be their Car Finance Calculator. Their calculator allows you to work out your monthly budget, by inputting how much you would like to spend each month and the length of term for your agreement. When you usually make a car finance application or use a calculator, lenders will perform a hard search on your credit file. What sets UK Car Finance aside is that their application process only performs a ‘soft search’ on your credit file. So, there is no harm to the applicant’s credit score and gives them and the applicant an indication of where they currently fall on the credit scale. You want to do something similar when you create your USP. Identify what your customers need, is there a pain point you can resolve for them?
Once you have identified your unique selling points, you need to think about how you will market your product and how you will talk to your audience. How engaging will you be? Will you be informal or formal? Which social channels will you use? Firstly, define your personality. Will you be honest, friendly, funny, sarcastic, helpful, formal or politically correct? Research from SproutSocial, has shown that 86% of people want brands to be ‘honest’ on social media. With this in mind, you should consider being personalised rather than automated when replying to queries or complaints, especially on social platforms. You should also evaluate your competitors again for this and see how your industry reacts.
Identifying your unique selling points takes time and it’s important to get it right. The best thing you can do is come up with a whole load of ideas and then whittle them down. For some brands, your USPs will be glaringly obvious but for others it will take a few goes. Remember the most important thing is how you are perceived to customers, where you place in the industry and what sets you aside from the competition.
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