The Pippin A-Z of Copywriting: USP

in Top copywriting tips

USP can stand for a couple of things: Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition.

However, whichever option you choose, what we mean by USP is always the same thing. It’s the thing that you do differently or better than your competitors. It’s the thing that makes you stand out. In other words, it’s the reason people should choose to work with your business rather than your competitor down the road.

You can use your USP as your strapline. You can use it to inform any business decision you make whether it’s minor or major. You can use it to inform the culture in your business. You can bear it in mind in everything you write so you know you’re always communicating what makes you different.

So how do you find your USP?

Here’s a (very) quick guide.

  • As always, start with your target customer (by which I mean your perfect customer)
  • Understand what your target customer needs from what you provide (you’ll need to think not only about what you deliver but the way you deliver it)
  • Look at how your competitors fulfil what your target customer needs
  • Find the things you do that your target customer needs but your competitors don’t deliver
  • Decide which of these things is the most important to your target customer

For example…

My target customer is the person who makes marketing/copywriting decisions in a technical or professional business. The business is great at what it does but it struggles to convey this effectively.

My target market needs a copywriter who can:

  • get the job done well (they recognise they don’t have the skills they need to do justice to the quality of work their business provides)
  • get the job done (they don’t have time to write copy)
  • grasp complicated concepts quickly (they’re happy to support the copywriting process but on the other hand they don’t want to spend hours explaining something)
  • be easy to work with by delivering copy when they said they would, giving fixed prices for work and generally being nice to be around (no one likes working with divas or uncertainty)
  • add more value by being able to populate web pages with content / schedule social media posts / work with Mailchimp to get newsletters out there / liaise with designers to make sure copy and design work well together / speak to customers to get input for case studies / etc (a whole service that gets the copy working rather than lurking as an attachment in an inbox waiting for someone else to have time to take it to the next stage)

My assessment of the market is that my difference is, in descending order of importance and scarcity:

  • my ability to make subjects that could be dry or technical sound interesting and understandable
  • my enthusiasm and willingness to take on technical or professional subjects that other copywriters might find boring
  • my general easiness to work with

So my USP can be variously expressed as:

  • I make the words you use as good as the solution you sell
  • I make the complex clear and the clunky compelling
  • I specialise in working with professional and technical businesses and organisations that need to convey complex concepts clearly

So there you have it.

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