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How to Create a Strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP)









[ BLOG ]

Table of contents of the article

A strong USP emphasizes customer benefits and advantages, attracts an audience, and boosts conversion rates. In this guide, our advertising agency WGG will talk about the pros and cons of USP and how to create them.

What is a USP?

A USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, is a marketing tool that highlights the uniqueness of a product or service, helps differentiate it from competitors, and showcases the product’s overall advantages.

A USP is a targeted offer aimed at a specific segment of the target audience. Its essence is that it significantly differs from other market offerings of products and services.
For example, the company "Cozy Home" specializes in interior design. Simply stating on their website or in advertisements, "We offer interior design at an affordable price," does not constitute a USP—it lacks uniqueness, and there are hundreds of similar offers on the market. To stand out from competitors, the company must understand what sets them apart from the rest.

If the firm works in the mass market, a USP could sound like this: "We will design your interior considering beauty and functionality within the agreed budget and provide three layout options in two days." Such a USP will attract exactly the target audience the company needs.

Common Misconceptions: Offer vs. USP

Often, an offer is confused with a USP, but these are two different concepts. An offer is a specific proposal, such as a discount on a product, an individual offer, etc. Offers are time-limited, work in the here and now, and are often supplemented by triggers.

A USP should also be distinguished from a slogan. A slogan is a branding tool for positioning a brand or product.

The scope of a USP is broader than that of an offer; it pertains to the product as a whole. A USP is a more permanent tool, not changing every week like a promotion or discount. A USP highlights the long-term value of a product or service to the consumer.

For instance, the fitness center "Health Academy" uses the slogan "Only Forward." It is not unique but fits a wide audience and aligns with the company's mission—to propel people towards a healthy body and athletic spirit. If a visitor comes for a tour of the fitness club, after the tour, they might be offered a six-month membership card with two months of freeze and a free training session with a coach—this is an offer supplemented by a benefit trigger. Meanwhile, "Yoga with Puppies on Sundays with a 30% discount" is a unique selling proposition targeted at a specific audience.

Key Characteristics of a USP:

  • Uniqueness: A USP should not copy competitors' offers; otherwise, it won't be effective.
  • Specificity: The offer must be clearly formulated, not vague. A strong USP precisely reflects the uniqueness and benefit that a person will get from the product or service. Exact figures work well: not just fast, but in 7 days; not just cheaper than the market, but 15% cheaper.
  • Brevity: A USP is the concentrated essence, the main point. It should be short and polished like a spear, striking the target audience effectively.
  • Simplicity: There's no need to come up with something overly complex or sophisticated; the USP should be easily understood by the buyer. In simple terms, a five-year-old child or your grandmother should be able to understand it.
  • Magnetism: The USP should be compelling, addressing the needs and pains of the target audience. It should be exactly what they need.
example of a facebook text

Why Create a USP and Who Needs It?

The main goal of using a USP is to increase conversion rates, with the primary effectiveness criterion being the number of conversions. A well-crafted USP can boost website conversion rates by 2 to 4 times. Similarly, using a USP in advertising attracts the right audience, reducing the cost per click and conversion. When someone responds to a USP, they are already inclined to buy because the company has met their needs, reducing the time needed to address objections and complete the purchase.

For example, if a company sells bed linens and their banner ad simply says, "We sell bed linens, click here," they will get a lot of irrelevant traffic and few sales. However, if the brand offers exclusive sets with original designs starting at 20,000 ₽ and includes this in their USP, it will attract exactly the target audience for whom the offer is intended. Consequently, the number of sales will increase, as most users clicking on the ad are already predisposed to buy; it matches their budget and their needs.

Every company engaged in sales should have a USP. It is possible to operate without a USP, but it's important to understand the negative consequences of such a business decision. Without a USP, a company's efficiency and profit growth will be significantly lower. To test the effectiveness of a USP, you can launch two landing pages: one with a USP and one without, and compare the resulting metrics.

USPs should be formulated separately for different segments of a company's target audience. Large companies with a wide range of products or services use multiple USPs for different target audience segments. Smaller companies with low turnover and a narrow audience typically use a single USP.

Types of Unique Selling Propositions

USPs can be categorized based on their construction formulas—Product plus:

  • Benefit: This is the most effective formula—show the user what benefit they will gain by purchasing a product or service from a specific company.
  • Benefit plus benefit: An enhanced version of the first model, offering double benefits that meet the client's needs.
  • Solving the client’s problem or absence of difficulties: Address the fears and resolve the issues of the target audience. This formula uses the preposition "without": provide a benefit and specify what will be absent. For example, "We will design and implement your apartment project without your involvement." Or "We will renovate your apartment in one month without increasing the budget."
  • Limitation: Works well in personal areas where there is direct interaction with the client and a high initial cost of error: medicine, finance, legal services. "Sign up for a meeting and consultation with a real estate sales specialist without risks; there are three consultations available this week." This formula suits areas where the sales model is based on personal consultations.
  • Expertise: Emphasize professionalism and experience. "Consultation with a pediatric neurologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences with 10 years of experience." Expertise works well in conjunction with limitation.
  • Cost reduction or obvious benefit: Provide a program or service that will reduce the client's expenses. Often, USPs cannot offer a significant benefit as prices in the market are more or less the same. In this situation, highlight how the company reduces the client's costs. For example, a cleaning service offer could be phrased as "Office cleaning," or it could be "We service offices up to 100 sq. m and reduce your team’s expenses by 20%."
  • Guarantee: The company is so confident in its product that it is ready to refund the money if something goes wrong.

Pros and Cons of a USP

Let's consider the positive and negative aspects of using a USP.

Pros
  • Reduces advertising costs and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), i.e., the cost of attracting a customer.
  • Increases ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment), improving the efficiency of the company's marketing budget.
  • Simplifies the sales process, saving working time for managers who process requests and answer questions.
  • Supports the customer at every stage of the sales funnel, enhancing brand recognition.
  • Helps differentiate from competitors and stand out in the market.

Cons
  • If the company has no unique differences from competitors, it is difficult to create a USP.
  • A poorly formulated USP converts badly—for example, if it misses the target audience's needs.
  • High risk of competitors copying the USP.
  • A USP that is too narrow or too aggressive may alienate the audience.

How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

To create an effective USP, a company needs to:

Step 1: Study Your Product
Identify its strengths and unique advantages, formulate how it differs from competitors, and determine the reasons why the product is interesting to customers.
Step 2: Study and Segment the Target Audience
Understand who will be interested in the offer, what needs and pain points it addresses, and which segment of the target audience is most likely to be interested. Surveys and statistical analysis, including competitor sales data, will help.
Step 3: Combine Product Benefits and User Needs
Decide on a formula to link the product and the customer to best meet their needs. At this stage, create several draft versions of the USP.
Step 4: Test the USP
Conduct A/B tests, measure metrics, and choose the most conversion-effective option.
Step 5: Launch the Final USP
If necessary, adjust the offer and launch it to the broader market.
example of a facebook text

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