Those businesses that seem to have had an overnight success and barely needed to work at promotion? There is something special about them. They know it and their customers know it. Their work can be spotted from a mile off, it’s something that people want, and it’s easy to promote – like a snowball rolling down hill, gathering speed, and getting huge.
Why is it so easy for them? If you have what they have, it will be easy for you, too. If you’re lacking this, it will be like trying to win a race with a bicycle that has square wheels. A crazy amount of work, with few results.
I have a number one piece of advice for new businesses, or businesses that feel like they’ve lost their way. Do this one thing, and everything else will be able to roll into place:
Discover your Unique Selling Proposition
Your Unique Selling Proposition (or USP), is what makes you different from every other company out there. You should be able to immediately tell someone what makes you different from even your closest competitors.
Aeolidia, for example, designs logos and makes websites. There are gazillions of people who design logos and who make websites. Why is Aeolidia special?
We stand out in two very important ways:
Aeolidia is your friendly design team. Customer experience is our top priority, and we pride ourselves on being easy to work with, skipping the jargon, lending a helping hand, and really caring about our clients’ success.
Aeolidia knows creative, handcrafted, designer/maker businesses. Our niche is very narrow, so our clients know that we understand what they need and how it should work before we’ve even started talking with them.
What is unique about your business?
What about you? Of course the most broad description of what you do includes all of your competitors, and is not what’s important about you. You need to narrow down and focus inward and think of your story.
So, “stationery designer” is not what you’re going for. You want to realize that you’re a “simple, beautiful, sustainable family paper goods company, focusing on minimal bohemian designs” (That’s Eva from Sycamore Street Press’ insight into her branding and finding her style – you can read more about that here).
Here are some questions to help you get to the heart of what’s unique about your business:
- Why did you start your business?
- What makes you passionate about it?
- What is your style?
- How do you design your products?
- How do you make your products?
- Why are your products special?
- What is your mission?
- What problem do you solve for your customers?
- What can your customers get from you that they can’t find elsewhere?
You should be able to take these questions and pinpoint your USP fairly easily. If you can’t, sit back and reassess. Is this what you want to be doing? Why are you doing it? Is it special to you? If so, how can you make it special to your customers as well?
The huge advantage that small businesses have is their story. What is your story, and how can you communicate it to your customers?
If you aren’t able to determine your USP with this exercise, you’ve got a problem! You don’t want to be a copy of an existing business, or have nothing new to offer. If you can’t distinguish yourself, you’re going to be fighting hard for your marketing to give you any traction. If you are able to stand out as unique, marketing will just consist of giving your little snowball a shove, and letting word of mouth, social media, networking connections, and your own hard work in your business take care of the rest.
Some example USPs from Aeolidia clients:
These are my descriptions of the USPs of these great businesses: Project Life, Emily Ley, Robert Mahar, Fernworks, Bamboletta.
What to do with your Unique Selling Proposition?
Once you know what your USP is, don’t keep it to yourself! You need to make sure that everything you do glows with this, the heart of your brand identity. Examine what you’re showing the world and see if it matches up with what you know about your business.
Does your logo make sense for what your business stands for? Does your website make it clear to your visitors what is different about you? Do your social media interactions, blog posts, and press mentions speak loud and clear to your target audience, instantly letting them know why you’re special and why you’re just what they need?
This, of course, is the part we can help with, and we would be proud to craft a strong brand identity that communicates your unique vision to the world. Browse our brand identity portfolio, read branding case studies on our blog, and get in touch!
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10 thoughts on “Make Marketing Easy With a Unique Selling Proposition”
Thanks Arianne! This topic is so important and something my wife and I are in the process of reassessing. We are new to Aeolidia and hopeful we might be a good fit…being confronted with a topic like USP is already a good indication we found the right place 🙂
Wonderful, Dennis! I’m glad you’re thinking about what makes you unique (or how to make your business unique if you’re feeling generic!).
Hi Arianne! I signed up for your blog a couple of months ago and I’m so happy that I did. There’s so much truly helpful, actionable information here! It’s clear you know your stuff and I’m impatiently waiting for the day I can afford to hire you. Until then, this post has helped immeasurably. Thanks!
Thanks for this article Arianne. I’ve been doing lots of work on defining my brand recently, but feel I still haven’t quite nailed the USP that is totally unique to me. Think these questions will help!
So glad to hear it, Michelle!
[…] good source of inspiration on brand development is Aeolidia’s post on having a unique selling proposition. Arianna says “It’s what makes you different from every other company out there. You […]
[…] will not come just because you have built it! Know what your Unique Selling Proposition is, who your Dream Customer is , and then tell your story and grow relationships so you can drive […]