How a Unique Selling Proposition Can Set You Apart

Business owners, ask yourselves: What makes your business stand out above the competition? Why should customers choose your product over another company’s? What differentiates your brand from others and sets it above the competition? As a business-owner or marketing guru, the answers to these questions are crucial to your overall success as a business.

In today’s economy, every sector and industry is facing crowded markets. How do consumers decide who to do business with? Online reviews help, and familiarity, convenience, and shared values are a huge bonus, but the businesses attracting new customers are the ones who prove what makes them different, and exemplify that to their customers.

Any big-box store can sell shoes through an online e-commerce site, but only Zappos has marketed and established themselves as being “Powered by Service,” providing the absolute best customer experience of any online shoe retailer, proven again and again.

There are dozens of car insurance options on the market, yet State Farm owns 18% of the auto insurance market share because they have branded themselves as being “Here to Help Life go Right,” and consistently score higher than average in customer satisfaction.

You can buy eyeglasses almost anywhere, and online the options are endless. But Warby Parker, an eyeglass retailer started in 2010, set themselves apart with their “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” platform. For every pair of eyeglasses purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need. This simple platform helped them grow a $1.2 billion e-commerce company in just 5 years, leaving their competition in the dust.

What these companies have are unique selling propositions - a “factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition” (Entrepreneur.com). So, how does a small business owner or financial professional without a 70-person marketing department create a unique selling proposition that will set them apart from the competition? It starts with getting to know yourself and your customers.

Your unique selling proposition will be personal to you - it will depend on your story, your experience, and your skills - but there are a few tips will help you construct a simple statement that will establish establish your brand, build a positive reputation, and expand your customer base.

  1. Keep it short and sweet. Simple statements are more effective and memorable with customers. Some of the most famous brands communicate their unique selling proposition in just a few words; for example, Geico’s famous slogan “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” succinctly communicates what makes them different, and what they are offering to customers.

  2. Stay consistent. Once you’ve established your unique selling proposition, infuse it into all of your marketing strategies - this will help establish brand recognition. Consistency also means following up on your brand’s promise. Geico’s famous advertising slogan would not be effective if it weren’t actually true.

  3. Know your audience. Consider who you will be working with and what services they are looking for. Keep your audience and your customers in mind when deciding on your unique selling proposition - what will attract them to your business over another? What do you offer that your customers didn’t know they needed?

In crowded markets, especially in real estate and entrepreneurial endeavors, it’s especially important to know how to set yourself apart from the competition. Building your brand and establishing trust will be crucial to your success. Find what makes your business unique, and sell it.

Ryan Winter