Developing Your USPs : The Key To Small Business Success
In a truly global marketplace, where customers have a seemingly endless choice, one of the most important aspects of launching a small business is figuring out exactly what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is. These are the points of difference that mark out what you have to offer from everything else out there. Developing a USP means that you have something to say, you can target your marketing and reduce wasted budget and you have a platform to begin building brand loyalty and competing on factors other than price. All it needs is some clear thought to put you on the road to being able to do business better. So, what steps do you need to take in order to identify and promote your vision and values to your audience?
Think About The Customer Need
Businesses exist in order to solve problems for their customers. So when you decide to launch a company, the first thing you need to be clear on is exactly what need you serve. This will also help you to determine who the audience you’re marketing to is. List out all the features and benefits of your product or service and relate each one to a problem your customer encounters. Then perform some simple competitor analysis. Who else is out there? What selling messages are they pushing? What problems do they solve – and more importantly – which have they overlooked? Where is the gap in the market that you can address?
Consider Your Specialism
Within some businesses there is a natural specialism in a certain area of operations – this could be down to the track record of clients that you tend to attract within business to business, it could be some training that you’ve had or just an area of interest that you’re naturally drawn to. For example, a marketing agency might specialize in social media packages for small companies because those are the clients they tend to get. A swimwear boutique might become a specialist in plus size bikinis and swimming costumes because no one else is delivering get styles in that corner of the market. An optician may become known for Anti-reflective glasses because they have a great supplier. Such specialisms can either be an organic development of something you’ve been doing well at or they can be deliberately chosen and pursued. Having a specialism does not mean you have to exclude all other areas – unless you choose to do so. It simply means having one flagship thing that you are more known for, that gives you an in to talk about your business with customers and connects to your brand identity. It also offers the chance for thought leadership in a particular topic – you can choose to emphasise it in your marketing activity and seek out platforms where you can talk about it knowledgeably.
Develop Your Marketing Messages
Once you’re clear on your unique points, it’s time to develop them into marketing messages that you can use across all your channels – website, social media, printed collateral, events. If you have taken the time to develop marketing personas, remember that you can segment your messaging, so that each strand directly answers the problems or addresses a user need of that customer type. This will make your marketing activity much more targeted and likely to hit the mark. Refine the messages so that they can be communicated clearly.
Connect To Your Values
Customers develop relationships with businesses that stand for something. So knowing what values you have as an entrepreneur and in what way you want to instill those into your business is critical. Today’s consumer or corporate client pays more attention to world issues than ever before. Consider which ones affect what you do, and what your response to them will be. For example, if you’re in a business relating to food it could be to do with provenance and supporting local providers. If you work in fashion, it could be about sourcing ethically produced fabrics or supporting emerging design talent. Every business is touched by environmental issues, so it could be about finding ways of doing the things you need to do that are less harmful to the planet. Think around the issue and consider what stance you have and what actions you are going to take. Customers love to hear about businesses that are trying to make the world a better place in their own small way, and it automatically gives you a hook when you’re talking about what you do, plus helps people to feel better about spending their money or corporate budgets with you. If you can gain something and help a cause at the same time, it’s a wonderful thing.