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Post 2 of 2: How To Create Your Unique Selling Proposition And Avoid The Deadliest Mistake Business Owners Make In Marketing Their Business

In the previous post, we talked about the importance of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). So if you don’t have a USP for your business right now, I recommend you get comfortable, read this post and get ready for a real game changer.

Because in today’s post, I am revealing three simple and powerful exercises you can start using right now to correct or avoid this deadly marketing mistake.


I see this pattern almost all the time. When some entrepreneurs are desperate for sales, their most common marketing strategy is to “try” some Internet marketing…tossing something against the digital wall and see what clicks. The most common outcome, of course, is to lose your shirt, pants, and the rest of your wardrobe.

Mr. Gamble of Proctor and Gamble said it brilliantly: 
“Any fool can make soap. It takes a genius to sell soap.”


Does that mean that you have to be a genius to craft a perfect Unique Selling Proposition for your business and correct or avoid this deadly marketing mistake?


Not really but you can take a basic and wise shortcut by answering one of your prospects’ most critical questions:


“What’s in it for me?”


Later on, we will take a closer look at emotional advertising and you will discover how to make a deeper connection with your prospects. But for now, to answer that question, you simply have to concentrate on selling the “benefits” and not the “features” of your products and service.


So…What’s the difference between a benefit and a feature?


Take the eraser on a pencil for example. The feature of that eraser is that is will erase your mistakes. The eraser benefits you by saving you time and effort by not requiring you to rewrite everything from the beginning if you make a mistake. The benefit is the time you save. See the difference?


How about a benefit versus a feature in action in a Unique Selling Proposition?


Let’s take Domino’s Pizza. They advertise “Piping Hot Pizza Delivered in 30 minutes or less…” The benefit is hot, instead of cold, pizza and fast, instead of slow, delivery. By focusing on the benefits, they are showing the consumers what’s in it for them. Every consumer now knows if you order Domino’s, you’ll get hot pizza delivered fast.


This is how Domino’s differentiated themselves from the other competitors in the pizza delivery business and created a multi-­‐million dollar business. NOTE – Domino’s never claimed to be the best tasting pizza. They focused on their target market -­‐ people who want and need pizza fast and cheap. Focus on your prospective clients.


Your Unique Selling Proposition should tell them that you’re the ONE that can give it to them better than any other. This is key. You must know what your prospective clients want in order to create a Unique Selling Proposition that works. One of the best ways to hash out your business’s features vs. benefits is to use the Gary Halbert Index Card Shuffle method. This method was popularized by the famous copywriter Garry Halbert.


He suggested getting a bunch of index cards, writing a service feature on one side and then, on the other side, turning that feature into a benefit. For instance, is said feature eliminating pain or generating pleasure?


How do you turn features into benefits?


Simply use the methods I’m about to teach you, and you’ll nail it every time. Each time you consider one of your service features, put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask, “So what? What’s in it for me? What does that do for me?” Answer those questions for each and every service feature and design your USP around how you serve your clients better than everyone else.Fulfilling their needs and satisfying their desires is the key to growing your business.


What you will offer your clients are benefits “BIG BENEFITS” – benefits galore! And you’ll do this as you answer the question “What’s in it for me?” You will have turned features into benefits. Benefits are what clients want. After you finish writing a whole stack of cards, one for each feature/benefit combination, flip through and rank them. Select the strongest, most powerful or most unique benefit, and put that card at the top of your deck.


Then proceed by prioritizing the benefits regarding what’s most important to the marketplace, hardest for a competitor to duplicate, or what you do best. Every situation is different; so prioritize accordingly taking the particular circumstances of your market into account. Next, sort and arrange the remaining cards in descending order based on their ranking assigned during prioritization. The most powerful benefit should become the cornerstone of your Unique Selling Proposition and the headline of any ad you run. The remaining benefits should become subheadings throughout your advertising copy.


Here’s An Example Of How I used Frustration vs. Satisfaction To Craft A Powerful Unique Selling Proposition


Several months ago I was running a promotion for a few highly targeted local small businesses. I did my research on a few non-competing businesses within the same niche. This research led me to discover that these business owners had a similar target audience, problems, and frustrations across the board:


Problem: they did not have an effective customer reactivation campaign

Frustration: they were not sure what to do with their email list

Fear: being taken advantage of and wasting money by hiring the wrong agency or consultant.

Solution: I used this fear to create the perfect Unique Selling Proposition for that particular campaign.


“I will work with you one-on- one in your business to help you double your traffic and increase sales for the next three months. The best part…you pay nothing out of pocket. – Guaranteed!”


Of course, I had strict but fair criteria for that particular promotion, but it was a success because I took the time to understand the problems, challenges, fears, needs, wants and desires of my target audience. While it’s an overall compelling offer, the main benefit to the potential client is that they can double traffic and increase sales without paying anything out of pocket. If you ask me, that’s the closest thing to free money there is.


Since I took most of the risk, leaving the client able and willing to take action risk-­‐free. The benefit, again, is that they are not stuck with a marketing consultant or agency they are not happy with. The concept of capitalizing on frustration vs. satisfaction leads me to the second method for creating your Unique Selling Proposition, which has been popularized by marketing guru, Dan Kennedy, one of the brightest marketing minds in the world.


Do you know why or when your target audience wouldn’t pay for products or services like yours?


Ask them. Bring your customers into the mix.


As illustrated above, you want to find out what keeps potential clients from taking action. What are they most dissatisfied with regarding your type of service. In other words, what do they care about most? Whatever it is, place the fact that you’ve solved these issues squarely in the middle of your Unique Selling Proposition. After all, that’s what people want fixed when they deal with businesses like yours.


So if you want to be the go-to guy or gal, fix the problems your ideal clients have, and they will beat a path to your door. Let’s put it another way….find out what is less than perfect about your type of business. Then, rid your business of those imperfections by making it better than any of the other business available.


Finally, start advertising the fact that you’ve addressed those issues and solved those problems. That will be your new competitive advantage. First, ask a few of your current and prior customers questions about their: worries, frustrations and things they dislike the most.


Here are a some examples of how to do this….


1. What is your greatest frustration about dealing with ____________________?

2. What is your biggest worry in dealing with ____________________?

3. What’s the thing you hate most about dealing with ____________________?

4. Why do you really hate coming to this type of business?


Once you get your answers, you’ll know exactly what the clients want because you’ll know what they don’t want. You are basically asking people what’s missing in the marketplace and then supplying it. Don’t just wing it, guess what people want and pull any old concept out of the sky. Do some actual research. You are going to put a lot of money behind this idea. So you want to be sure your efforts are solid.


Your business’s survival is at stake. Many entrepreneurs are too close to their own business and think they know everything about them, including what their clients want. Therefore they are hesitant, stubborn, afraid and unwilling to ask their clients what they think.


This is a huge mistake. You must ask them. You are not your client. If you try to give your client something they don’t want or something you think they want without asking or at least testing the idea and they go for it, you will just be a lawyer in your market who got lucky.


If they don’t go for it, well, that’s like taking two or three years to write a book and then finding out no one wants to buy it. You will have wasted all that time and effort, when you could’ve been smarter about it, done some market research and nailed it. You’ve got to avoid the trap of thinking you know what your clients want. I’ll say it again…you are not your client.


The key thing to remember when developing and using a Unique Seling Proposition is this:


You can’t be all things to all people. Select your USP and stick with it! You should use it for everything you do to market and advertise your business. It should become your mantra – and you should use the heck out of it!


Uncover Your Hidden Unique Selling Proposition – Why You Instead Of Your Competitor?


There is an old rule in business called the 80/20 rule. It says that 80 percent of your profits come from about 20 percent of your clients. Interesting, yes, but how does this help you craft a Unique Selling Proposition? To craft a successful USP, as I mentioned before, the best strategy is to perform research to determine the buying motivation for your target audience.


The two previous exercises were meant to aid you with just that. This third exercise will solidify the foundation established by your efforts during the first two exercises and give you the finishing tools needed to complete the construction of the perfect Unique Selling Proposition for your business.


Here’s what you do….


First, pick out your top 50 clients who send you the most referrals. Why? Because they are your best clients and they are your raving fans.


They are probably the ones that account for most of your profits or volume, so they are your firm’s most valuable clients. These are the people you want to learn more about. Why did they buy from you? What is it about your business that made them choose you instead of your competition?


In my humble but accurate opinion these are the top 11 statements you want these clients to complete for you:


  1. The main reason I chose your business was ________________ .
  2. The one word that stands for your business is ________________ .
  3. Every other business does while you do ________________ .
  4. The first thing that comes to mind when I think your business or you personally is ________________.
  5. Your business is unique and special because ________________ .
  6. The one thing you do well is ________________ .
  7. The first time I tried your business I thought ________________ .
  8. I always refer clients to you because ___________________________.
  9. The biggest problem with your business is _________________________.
  10. If only your business would __________________________ instead of __________________.
  11. Your firm is where it is today because of ________________ .


Old clients will always be honest and tell you things about your business and your services – they are wonderful resources. The information they share can supply you with valuable testimonials and endorsements to use in your marketing efforts. Whenever you get positive feedback, ask those clients if you can share their remarks with potential clients.


Opinions of your old clients are opinions your potential clients can use to make the final decision. Those are the important ones, not yours, so ask them what they want and what they think. As I said before, most entrepreneurs are too close to their own business to actually know what’s unique or most important about them. Make it a rule to ask.


This feedback is vital to crafting your Unique Selling Proposition.


You want to avoid using feedback from non-­‐clients or those who just want to weigh in for one reason or another. Feedback from non-­‐clients and opinion-­‐givers who are not qualified is something that we (marketers) call chatter. Everyone has an opinion, but the opinions that matter are from people who are your raving fans. Other opinions, while possibly interesting, actually just chatter and chatter simply doesn’t matter.


Once you’ve created your USP, polish it and use it everywhere. With a little bit of work and perhaps some help from your staff, clients, friends or even marketing consultants, you might be able to reduce a 30 or 40 word USP into just ten words or even just one or two lines.


That’s the task in front of you – editing and adding copywriting to the mix. Try to reduce the size of your USP. It should say everything without saying too much. It shouldn’t be too wordy, but it shouldn’t be reduced down to nothing either. Too few or too many words can be ineffective.


You’ll know it’s right when you’ve got a concise, complete and compelling Unique Selling Proposition that sets you apart from your competition. Once you’ve got it, polish it and use it in every way imaginable and position your business as the go-­‐to business in your market.




Tony Written by:

Tony Aveiro is famous for crafting wildly profitable direct response marketing and digital promotions for local businesses and entrepreneurs. His sought-after advice is known to skyrocket sales, profits, goodwill, and brand loyalty...without being remotely “salesy.”

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