Communicating Your USP
“I feel that if a person has problems communicating the very least he can do is to shut up.” – Tom Lehrer
There’s a lot of noise out there at the moment, and you would be forgiven for thinking that the only way to market a business any more is online or through social media. Communicating your USP can be difficult but having a unique selling point certainly makes the task easier as your customer will be drawn to you.
In truth you need to use a mix of channels (both online and in the real world) to communicate your USP to your target audience – and which one you use should be based on the people you are trying to connect with, not your own favourites. You should have strategically worked this out already by creating your customer profile.
Channels of communication
Let’s take a look at all the different ways that you can communicate your USP to your potential customers:
- Direct mail (leaflets or postcards sent in the post)
- Direct email (electronic versions sent to prospects by email) and email newsletters (regularly weekly / monthly / quarterly email to your customers)
- Google search (Pay-Per-Click, local results and search engine optimisation)
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter etc)
- Direct phone calls
- Dropping-in to your potentials customer’s place of business
- Networking events
- Trade shows
- News stories (Industry magazines, local magazines, newspapers and websites)
- Local directory booklets
- Your own website
- Blog posts (Your own website and others).
- Local radio adverts
- Display advertising (posters, billboards, bus adverts, signs etc)
Go back to the profile you wrote for your target customer and rate out of ten how well each communication channel fits with what you know about them. Will you be able to drop in on Terry the Tradesman or contact him on LinkedIn? Unlikely. Will he be listening to the local radio and seeing adverts on the back of a bus as he’s driving his van between jobs? Most definitely. Solicitor Sarah will be sat at her desk most of the day, but how many emails does she get? Would something fun in the post work better?
Once you have rated the different communication channels above against your profiles, pick the top three and concentrate on these first. OK – you may love Facebook and be keen to do social media, but if something else fits with your customer profile better, do that first.
Now that you have planned how you are going to talk to potential customers, the next step is to work out what you are going to say. This is where, again, having invested time learning about your customers and coming up with a point of difference for your business really pays off.
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When communicating your USP, you only have a very short time to get your message across, so if it takes you 60 seconds to explain to someone why they should buy from you then that is 57 seconds too long! Instead, you need to base your company marketing around one, strong concept that can be gotten across in a single short sentence.
Start by asking yourself the following questions about your customer:
- What is your customer’s biggest headache and how can your product or service solve it for them?
- Where do they want to take their business (or themselves personally) in the next 12 months and how can your product or service get them there?
- What is their biggest fear, and how will your product or service stop this fear becoming a reality?
For example, airlines selling business class travel used to try and outdo each other by listing a whole range of reasons why they were better – building advertising campaigns around saying they had more leg-room, more free-drinks, quicker check-ins, softer beds and better food than their competition. But it was British Airways who came to dominate the business travel market because they looked at what the customer wanted from business travel and summed it up in one point – if you travelled with BA Business class you would ‘arrive ready to do business’. This gave them a single, strong message to build all their marketing around and you need the same for your business.
Use the three questions above. Come up with a single, strong reason for someone to use your product or service that you can get across in a sentence. And don’t be afraid to ask for help – find someone in the target market that you are looking to sell to and ask them if you can talk to them for half an hour about what messages will resonate with them the best. Or spend an hour with an expert advisor who knows the marketplace and what motivates people in it.
Communicating your USP is essential – having the right message can often be the challenge.
Communicating your USP with your customers has to be what they want to hear … not what you want to tell them. Seek help from marketing experts and business advisers to get the best results.