How to Come Up with a Standout Unique Selling Proposition

Posted on February 22, 2021 | Updated on May 10, 2023

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes you stand out from the competition. What makes you different from similar businesses in your industry? When sharing your USP, you must think about how it benefits the user. They don’t care if you are the biggest company unless you also provide perks for them. 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are 31.7 million small businesses in the country, employing around 60.6 million people. No matter what type of enterprise you run, there is likely at least one competitor. People also may choose to spend their money on other things than what you offer. You have to give them a reason to shop with you. 

Offers flood the inboxes and mailboxes of buyers. If you don’t grab their attention with a unique selling proposition and show how you are unique, you risk losing them. Here are some steps to take to write a fabulous USP. 

1. Understand Customer Pain Points

Your first step is figuring out who your target audience is and what problems they face. The pain points drive them to seek a solution, and you’ll be the answer. For example, a busy working mom wants to eat out less. She worries about her family eating fast food and wants healthier options but has little time to plan out meals. You offer packaged, pre-cooked meals that people heat and eat.

Since her focus is on fear for her family’s health, your unique selling proposition is healthier, home-cooked meals without the hassle.

2. What Makes the Competition Tick?

Take time to study your competitors’ unique selling proposition. Why are they good at what they do? Can you offer the same or better quality in the same area? Perhaps you should focus on something different. If your competitor offers the fastest service, go for the best follow-up. 

It is worth your time to do a detailed competitive analysis. You’ll see where other companies excel and fail. You should also survey customers and ask what they like and don’t like about your brand. 

It’s challenging to develop something truly unique for your USP if you don’t understand what makes your competition tick. Spend time studying what they do well and getting to know their weaknesses. Only then will you be able to match their value while surpassing their limitations. Your USP should be something you work on consistently, improving it month after month. 

3. Understand Human Emotion

What makes people tick? Why do some people buy from the same store repeatedly, even though the cost is higher than at chain stores? It’s likely the mom and pop store taps into emotions and fulfills a customer’s emotional needs. 

Part of your unique selling proposition includes figuring out how you are different and embracing those special abilities you have. Perhaps your competition offers a lower price, but the service is very neutral. Can you personalize things, so they are specific to each customer? A fantastic experience is something people pay more for.

It’s also vital to know what people care about. If you point out your low prices, but people are more worried about the product’s quality, you’re missing the point. Think through who your typical customers are and speak to them about the things mattering most to them. 

4. Study the Human Brain

People’s brains function in precise ways. Understanding the neuroscience of marketing allows you to tap into how consumers think and meet their needs on both an emotional and physiological level.

In a recent study by Brain Scientific Inc., the company looked at marketing messages during the COVID-19 crisis and found the ones with a positive spin had a bigger impact on consumers. 

Your unique selling proposition should focus on your product’s positives and ignore the negatives even of competitors. You can inform leads of the benefits you offer without trashing other companies and their limitations.

For example:

Negative: Our competitors are impersonal and lack customer service skills.

Positive: We create the most personalized experience in the industry and offer excellent customer service with a smile.

5. Tell Your Story

Perhaps you’re having a hard time finding what is unique about your product or business. Don’t despair. There is only one person with your story about why you started your business and the challenges you’ve overcome. Share your history and how it shaped the company you are today.

People love a good marrative, so tie what you do with your background for a powerful emotional tug. Think about the elements of your tale others can relate to. Did you come from poor beginnings and work your way up? Perhaps you faced an adversary who almost defeated you. Think about how to put a positive spin on the hard times by showing how you overcame them.

Your story is as unique as you and is a big part of how you sell, why you’re in business and your customer service model. Merge your unique selling proposition with your about info.

6. Create Loyal Customers

Each positive experience a customer has with your brand creates additional value. Your unique selling proposition is your promise to consumers. If you state you offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and the customer sees you stand behind the promise, they’re more likely to take a chance on a new product you offer they aren’t quite sure of. 

Your USP gives you a chance to prove you are authentic and trustworthy. The more times a client sees you fulfill your promise, the more likely they will tell others about your company. Your word-of-mouth marketing will grow the longer you are open. 

Develop a Company Persona

Who are you as a brand? You need to think about not only how you want to be known but how other people currently see you. Your unique selling proposition must match your personality as a business. If you are fun and exciting, taking a serious tone isn’t going to come off as well as a tongue-in-cheek approach.

Know what your customers want and how to merge their desires into your brand’s persona. With a little effort and time, people will start to see the value of what you offer and flock to your business as their number one choice.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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