Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) might be the most powerful tool in your kit when you're trying to network with others - here's why.
Properly networking with someone else - whether it's in-person, over the phone, or entirely online - requires you to have a great USP.
In most cases, you only have a few moments to grab someone's attention, so it's absolutely vital to concisely deliver your core message.
Making a Unique Selling Proposition
What is it that you actually want people to know about the products or services you provide? What kind of niche do you work in, and who are you the most effective at helping? These kinds of questions are important when you're deciding on the USP you're going to use.
(That said, it's okay to have more than one USP - but don't try to show all of them to customers, since that will confuse and distract them. Instead, pick the one or two propositions you believe will be most effective for each part of your target audience.)
Most USP's are focused on one or two specific values that matter to your audience. These are the most common:
- Price: A USP focused on price generally tries to convey a sense of value - that is, whatever's being offered is more affordable than the alternatives. This is especially popular with marketing efforts aimed at lower and middle income individuals.
- Quality: Sometimes, quality is the value that matters most to people. They want the best product for the money they're willing to spend, which usually means it's effective and/or safe to use.
- Social Value: This is a harder USP to work with, but there are times when some sort of social value (protecting the environment, providing educational opportunities, etc.) encourages people to act. Whenever you see someone talking about how "10% of the proceeds from this will go to help support this organization", they're using this USP. People are often willing to pay more for something that has social value since they have the sense that they're getting two things (a product or service and contributing to society).
- Scarcity: Some locations sell based on the rarity of whatever they're offering. In many cases, this is linked to Quality - for example, selling based on the rarity of people with as much experience as you.
- Limited-time sales are the most common application of this Unique Selling Proposition. When people fear that they won't get as good of a deal later, they're more likely to buy right away.
- Customer Service: This is most common with professional customers. When people buy something expensive, they want to ensure that they're not going to be taking a loss if something goes wrong or it's not quite as advertised. A solid customer service program can help reassure them and make them feel safer about the transaction. This is typically used as a secondary USP, supporting whatever the primary message is.
Applying Your USP
Once you've created your Unique Selling Proposition and used it to grab people's attention, you can elaborate on the products and services you offer. This can be applied pretty much anywhere you do business - on your home page, on your about pages, through offer forms and email marketing... however you actually communicate with your customers.
Make sure you have your USP ready before your next networking event! 6 Simple Steps to Quickly Create Your Unique Selling Proposition
The point is that your USP is what gets your foot in the door - and you need a solid followup once you've convinced people to hear more. Like we said above, it's best to focus on presenting just one or two propositions to any given customer, but you can mix-and-match them in order to reach a wider audience.
For example, you may have price as your main selling point, with social value as a secondary point - in which case what you're saying is "our prices are similar, but we're also helping to make the world a better place."
Alternatively, you might have social value as your primary proposition, with scarcity as your secondary - and here, you might be trying to convince people to support your cause be.
Remember that your USP is another tool in your marketing strategy so use it well and don't be afraid to get creative. Remember that in the end, your choice needs to matter to your audience.
Thanks for stopping by,
Breezy Hill Marketing is a full-service marketing agency specializing in inbound marketing strategy, web design, and social media marketing. We are based in Vermont and work with clients throughout the United States. At BHM, we work closely with each individual client to create a program specific to their needs.