Prime Insights

Using USPs to Create Benefit Messages

“I’m having trouble. I know my marketing message is well written, but it doesn’t seem to always connect with my prospects. It seems hit and miss no matter what I write. Any suggestions?”

Ford responds:
An important step related to benefit messages is crafting your compelling Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.

The concept of the USP is used by thousands of marketers like me to create benefit messages in advertising, branding and promotions. It was first defined by Rosser Reeves over 60 years ago in his book “Reality in Advertising” and it’s just as relevant now as it was back then.

Some good current examples of products with a clear USP are:

  • “You get rid of dandruff”—Head & Shoulders
  • “You get younger-looking skin”—Olay
  • “You get stimulation of body and mind”—Red Bull

Some unique propositions that were pioneers when first introduced:

  • “Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”—Domino’s Pizza
  • “Your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”—FedEx
  • “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hands!”—of course, M&Ms candy
  • “It helps build strong bones 12 ways”—Wonder Bread

It’s common to have different USPs for different product lines and markets. For example, for my company, Prime Concepts Group, we use USPs like:

  • “We help you find, attract and keep your customers using our unique PSP Method for maximizing your results…”
  • “Get on the first page in Google and dramatically increase your website traffic in less than an hour…”
  • “We help our clients dramatically improve their marketing results by as much as 500% using our unique three-part system…”

It’s not about the number of words as much as it’s about communicating the value you offer in a unique and memorable way.

If I were to ask you what your company’s USPs are, what would you say? To help you define your USPs, keep these concepts in mind:

  • Each marketing message must make a proposition to the customer (“buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit”).
  • The proposition itself must be unique; something that competitors do not (or will not) offer.
  • The proposition must be strong enough to pull new customers to the product.

You can use this three-step strategy to help you define your USPs.

Step 1:  Ask Yourself…
·         What is my business really good at?
·         What benefit is unique to our offer?
·         What aspect of my business is unique? Who is the target market?
·         What do I provide that no other competitor does?

Step 2: Ask someone else…
·         Ask a client or customer why they selected you?
·         What is it about your company, service or products that they like?

Step 3: Imagine you’re the customer…
·         Come up with a reason to do business with your company, then ask yourself,
“so what?”
·         Keep asking yourself this until you come up with a product or service that
is unique to your business. That’s a USP!

Now that you understand the concept of USPs, are you ready for an online ‘hot seat’? Answer the following as honestly and as accurately as you can. Here goes…

  • How many USPs can you list for your products and services?
  • Do you have at least one?
  • How effective are your USPs in helping you increase sales? Are they working? (If not, you now have the framework and strategy to create new ones.)

So let’s review. You have the magic questions to ask yourself to define your USPs, and you know that USPs help prospects become customers. Ultimately, your customer’s buying decision will reflect his or her own needs, but your ability to fit into that ‘need structure’ is tied to how effectively you communicate the USPs of your products or services.

If you’d like to learn more about writing killer marketing copy, check out Randy Gage’s popular 12-part study course
How to Become a Copywriting Stud! in our online Success Store.

Author Byline: Ford Saeks, Business Growth Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Consultant. Helping you find, attract, and keep your customers.

June 8, 2007 Posted By : Ford Saeks


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