I asked, you answered

Yesterday, I asked you to get in touch and tell me your USP. I had several replies, so I thought I’d share a couple with you. 

Owl camouflaged against a tree

You need a clear USP so your business doesn’t just fade into the background. What makes you stand out?

All the replies I received were along the same lines, so I wanted to show you what we can do to improve them. Here’s one:

“I guarantee I will never miss a deadline, I will talk to you on the phone and not hide behind emails, I am interested in you and your business and I will supply you with story-telling high quality photographs from Scotland.”

I’ve noticed something odd that happens when you ask people what they do, and what makes them special. They get flustered. They panic. They forget because we live in this world of scarcity where there’s never enough.

So what do they do? They list a whole bunch of bits and pieces in an effort to convince themselves as much as anyone else. It’s okay, though – it’s very common. I used to do the same thing myself.

So let’s take a quick look at this reply.

The first problem is it’s a list. It’s not one unique thing that sets her apart in her industry. I’m not sure what she does, but I am interested, because the last sentence gets close to what her USP could be. But the first part? It’s a minimum requirement, again. Or it should be. It’s a good starting point to start thinking about a USP, for sure – promising not to do what others do (miss deadlines and hide behind emails)…

But it’s not until we get to the end that we’re getting somewhere (although high-quality should go without saying). That’s an idea we can develop, and make it regional, too.

Here’s another:

“I guarantee to give value in excess of my costs. Whether it’s immediate new business, a connection that will pay off later, strategy advice that makes life easier or more profitable, direct cost savings or even an investor (if that’s what you need), you’ll end up with more out of our relationship than I do.”

This is more of a developed idea, and it could grow legs, but again – I always expect value in excess of my investment, whatever I’m buying. Then there’s the worried list of attributes again. It’s missing the one big idea. It doesn’t tell me what he does for me, or why. It doesn’t tell me what’s in it for me.

If it were more specific, it’d have mileage and could be developed into something that’ll truly make him stand out.

Most people don’t give this process much thought, and I understand why. It’s hard. And it should be obvious, right? It’s obvious why we’re different from everyone else.

The thing is, though, it’s not obvious. Not to your prospective customers and clients, anyway. To them, you look like everybody else, more or less. There’s nothing to grab them, shake them by the hair, and make them declare, “You! I want you!”

So, if you got to thinking about your USP yesterday and you came up with something along those lines, look at it carefully. Ask yourself: is it different to what everyone else is saying? Really?

It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. It doesn’t have to be a superheros and circus shenanigans. But it does have to give people a reason to choose you above everyone else.

Still feeling stuck or confused in your business? You’re in luck! I’ve written a book for people just like you, using all my own experience of what works and what doesn’t. You can – and should – buy a copy here.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS I do love getting missives from you, so thank you for replying. If you really want to get this fundamental part of your business sorted, though, give some serious consideration to buying my book.

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