Different Types of USPs and Why They Work


Your unique selling proposition (USP), also called a unique value proposition, is what makes you stand out from competitors. You can’t just slap a general USP tag on your site and expect it to attract new clients, though. It’s important to carefully analyze the type of unique selling proposition you need and why it would work for your particular target audience.

In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 30.7 million small businesses, and the economy continues to grow. This massive number gives you a lot of examples to look at when deciding what benefits your company brings to the masses. However, the vast amount of comparables also makes it confusing to narrow down your choices.

We’ve looked at six different types of USPs, why they work and the types of businesses they benefit. Think about which ones make the most sense to you and where you’re at right now. You can always change your USP later on as your firm improves and changes.

1. Price Yourself Lower

Finding your USP is about knowing where you fit in with the competition and what makes you stand out. If you can compete on value, then saving money is an attractive offer to most consumers. Who doesn’t want to pay less for the same thing? However, make sure you can compete with big-box retailers before saying you have lower prices. There are plenty of USP types you can go with if cost isn’t the right one for you.

Target has a USP of “Expect More. Pay Less.” They highlight this idea in their advertising and the special offers on their website. Note how even their weekly ads match the USP with headlines such as, “More to love for less.” They offer unique products at a reasonable cost, perfectly meshing with their target audience.

2. Choose a Brand Identity

Your brand identity can tie into your USP as well. For example, if your image is a young, hip company, then your personality will reflect that attitude. Think about some of the clothing stores you’ve visited that have certain music, lighting and a fun vibe. The way we see brands has evolved, but today’s consumers want to feel they share the same values and attitudes as the business they’re frequenting.

3. Show Your Longevity

Some types of businesses are well suited to showing their reliable side. When people have to count on you for finances, equipment or other trust factors, they must know you didn’t put your sign up today and may take it back down tomorrow. Showing how long you’ve been in business can add a level of trust. You may even want to mention the founding date in your logo and company materials.

Louisiana CAT showcases their 80 plus years in business. They explain some of the work they’ve done over the last eight decades and how they are a complete part and machine service. They tie the entire USP into how they can help you make progress with your own company. By highlighting their longevity, they build trust with customers.

4. Create a Better Product

Another popular USP is stating why your product or service is better than that of your competitors. You may even want to create a table and highlight the differences between what you offer and what they offer, clearly showing why customers would choose you over someone else. If you don’t already have a better product, you can focus on creating one to attract those looking for quality above all else. Add features no one else offers or increase the quality of materials.

5. Find a Unique Target Audience

If you sell a standard product, it might be challenging to find an edge amidst already established brands. However, finding a new target audience can be your USP and help you get a foot in the door of a crowded market space. Try to think outside of the box about audience segments that might not use the product but would be interested.

Tortuga Backpacks is an excellent example of a brand tapping into a unique market segment. Backpack retailers typically market to school children or college students. However, Tortuga markets to travelers, pointing out how convenient their products are for adventures. Their bags have unique dividers meant for clothing and toiletries, and they show how it all works. They also highlight that the backpacks are considered carry-on luggage.

6. Save Them Time

If there is one thing people have little of these days, it’s time. If you can figure out a way to combine services or products and save your customers time and effort, you’ll have a great USP that attracts new clients. You will also increase revenue as you’ll be selling more to each person. Look at your current offerings and think of how you can offer similar products or services and bundle things together.

Change Your USPs Up As Needed

You certainly shouldn’t feel limited to a single USP. Plus, when you use a unique selling proposition, remember you aren’t tied to it forever. Revisit the idea frequently, think about where you’ve improved as a business and what new benefits you offer to customers. Over time, you’ll find you have several main USPs and a number of smaller ones you can market to potential customers.

Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

Different Types of USPs and Why They Work

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