Without A USP You're Dead
Competition. Oh dear!
Unfortunately this aggravating obstacle keeps getting
in the way of our first million. Or perhaps in your
case your second.
But with so many people selling almost identical
products, it's often difficult to tell the difference.
So how do you persuade your prospect to buy yours, and
not one of the dozens of others so readily available?
Obviously you have to stand out from the crowd. If
you're competing in a crowded marketplace you must at
least appear different.
You have to isolate your product's Unique Selling Point
and THRUST IT at your prospect. If you don't, you're
dead in the water.
Yes you do have something unique to offer
What's that - your product is similar to your
competitors? Join the club! Let's consider my position
as a Copywriter and Marketing Consultant. (Yes I know
you've been waiting for the commercial. But at least
this one is educational.)
There are lots of 'average' copywriters around. And a
few really good ones. Yet even though many of my
clients tell me that I am a cut above the rest, I still
have to convince potential new clients they will be
wiser choosing me.
So I had to identify my USP. And what is it? In which
area am I different to most other copywriters. And more
importantly, what can I offer my clients that would
specifically benefit them?
It's 30 self-employed years in marketing and one-to-one
sales. And the fact that I rely on my Copywriting
skills to sell my own books through my own Direct
So I have a very unique benefit to offer my prospective
clients. I have hands-on practical experience of doing
exactly the same thing they are doing - selling a
product through advertising.
So my clients get more than just professionally crafted
words. Their sales results benefit from skilled
advertising copy filled with marketing experience, and
my natural instinct to sell. As David Ogilvy said of
himself "Once a salesman always a salesman".
That's my USP. And there is no point in being coy about
it, so I thrust it up front for everyone to see. And
they buy. David Ogilvy, as you may know, is regarded by
many as the most successful advertising copywriter of
his generation, building one of the largest Advertising
Agencies in the world.
So don't kid yourself that your product, or service,
has no USP. If you can't find one, you have to work
hard to create one. Fast!
What can you offer that's different?
Deliver your gizmo by hand. Plate it in 14ct gold. Give
a longer guarantee. Offer a Free Bonus (make sure your
bonus will be of benefit.) Open longer hours. Give Free
training. Add some some extra value. Slash your price
(WHAT!!!! No please don't do that.)
There are countless things you can do to make your
product, and your company, stand out from the rest! And
very often, a sales-winning USP can be created from a
feature that is common in all other products similar to
I recently went to buy some bread from my local
supermarket. A simple enough task you may think. Not
exactly. There must have been at least 30 different
brands, and prices, stacked high on the shelves.
Then I chanced to over-hear a lady remark to her
friend "Oh I think I'll buy a couple of these - it says on the wrapper it's suitable for vegetarians!"
Now I'm no dietician, but I'll bet good money that many
of the other 29 brands were just as suitable. I read
the list of ingredients of 8 different brands and 5 of
them simply mentioned in tiny print that their
bread 'contains no animal fats'. But they hadn't told
the prospect that 'no animal fat' made their bread
suitable for vegetarians.
One enterprising company had created a USP from a
feature common in many of its competitors products.
Then thrust it up-front for everyone to see.
And the Advertising Hall Of Fame is filled with high
profile examples of this very thinking. "Our toothpaste is approved by the British Dental Association" (not 'Recommended' but simply 'Approved' like most
other toothpastes.) "XYZ Toilet Soap Stops B.O." (if
you bathe often enough doesn't all soap achieve the
All it takes is a little work
So sit down and list every single feature of your
product or service, and look at each one from a
different angle. Put yourself in your prospect's shoes.
And as you examine each feature write alongside it the
answer to the question that everyone of us asks when an
ad makes a statement or claim. "What's in it for me?"
Or if you want some really revealing answers read your
feature out loud and ask "So What?" You will be
surprised at the answers you come up with.
But by paying close attention to your own answers, and
turning them into benefits, you'll eventually reveal
your strongest benefit. One that you just know is a
And remember. To achieve maximum impact, your USP must
be offered as a benefit. Don't simply tell your
prospect you give a 12 month guarantee because it will
come over as a feature, and get lost in the rest of
your ad. 'No animal fat' is a feature - 'suitable for
vegetarians' is a benefit.
So before you attempt to write any copy for your
product or service, you must identify your USP. Get
knuckled down and spend a great deal of effort - nay a
huge amount of effort - on this vitally important task.
You will also discover that writing your advertising
will become a great deal easier. And you'll see a
dramatic increase in your sales.
And that, as they say, is what it's all about!
Copyright 2003 by Joe Robson * All rights reserved
Joe Robson is co-author of 'Make Your Words SELL' with Ken
Evoy. Joe and Tom Glander own The Newbie Club which is
bulging with unique NET and PC Newbie tutorials and eBooks.
CLICK ON OVER to http://newbieclub.com/ and look at their
very professional Affiliate Program. It's BIG! Joe's
Copywriting site is at http://www.adcopywriting.com
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