Return to: GROK Dot Com 12/01/2001

Unique Selling Proposition: Your Visitors Are Asking Why

I'm plugging my queries into Google. I'm moving fast. I'm on a mission. Gonna get me one of those all-in-one printer/scanner/copier beasts. And when I land on your site, the first thing I want to know - even before I bother to find out anything else - is why I should buy from you. That is my Number One Most Pressing Question.

You need to answer it for me, competently and succinctly, within seconds, or I'm moving on to the next search result in a list of 6,620 entries. How? Easy! You're going to tell me your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

It's not just me. Every one of your visitors is asking the same thing. It's the biggest "What's In It For Me?" (W.I.I.F.M.) question your visitors have: why you? Yet lots of businesses online and off don’t provide an answer - and very few online ones make sure that answer appears on their landing and home pages. If you can’t cut through the clutter, grab attention and communicate immediately that you offer value nobody else has, your visitors are gone to someone who can.

Your USP is a strong, concise, simple statement about your business or brand that tells your prospects why you are the only alternative for them. Two, three sentences at most. Not an advertising slogan (although that's one use for your USP), but an answer to The Implicit Question.

Haven't got around to your USP yet? Then it's time to roll up those shirt sleeves.

The Grok’s How-To-Create-Your-USP

Write down every possible reason you can think of why someone would want to do business with you. If you want the best results from this exercise, involve everybody in your company in a high-energy brainstorming session (yeah, everybody - you’ll be amazed where some of the best ideas come from).

Don’t be afraid to get professional help on this. Your survival can depend on it. Afterwards, review the list and eliminate everything that is also true of your competitors. If a competitor can make the same claim, it's not a "unique" proposition. Some quick guidelines:

1. What is unique about your product, service or brand compared to your direct competitors?

2. Which of these factors are most important to your prospects?

3. Which of these factors are most difficult for your competitors to imitate?

4. Which of these factors can be understood most easily by your prospects?

Now create a memorable message out of these unique, meaningful qualities. Make sure it’s a message that speaks to the need your prospective customers feel, not some self-centered stuff about you. And here’s the extra discipline part: keep editing and distilling until it’s at most 2-3 concise sentences.

It might surprise you, but good service, good selection, fair prices and honest dealing are NOT effective components of your USP. Why? These are things your prospects already expect. “Declaring” them gives folks that same queasy feeling you get when a used car salesman says, “let me be honest with you…” So there were times he was lying? Besides, they’re “me-too’s.” Anybody can (and does) say them.

Sample USPs

· Future Now, Inc.: The Conversion Rate Specialists: Persuading your prospects to take ACTION!

· Avis: We Try Harder.

So, do your homework. Come up with a crisp, powerful statement that answers your visitors' implicit question and engages their imaginations and emotions. Position it prominently on your home page, and watch that conversion rate improve.

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Return to: GROK Dot Com 12/01/2001

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