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How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Online Business

Copyright 2009 OnlineBizU.com

Being the Internet geek that I am, I spend lots of time online looking at websites and collateral materials of various kinds of businesses. Almost unfailingly what I notice is that if I compare all the marketing materials of businesses in a particular industry, they all appear relatively the same. My eyes then start to glaze over in boredom because I haven't found anything particularly compelling about any business that is different enough to stand out and grab my attention.

How good are you at being different and articulating your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? Why would a potential client want to do business with you instead of your competition?

A Unique Selling Proposition is a slogan, thought, idea, and way of doing business that makes you unique, different and distinct from other businesses in your niche or in your industry. If you do a great job of distinguishing yourself from your competition, your USP can hurl you to the front of the pack. However, if you adopt a USP that you can't fulfill, your business will die a quick death.

For example, what company comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "It's so easy a caveman can do it." GEICO is quickly becoming a household name in the car insurance industry. Notice that GEICO doesn't even promise the lowest prices, just that someone might save about 15% with them, and that it's very easy to begin using them for your insurance needs.

During a conversation recently, I asked a friend with a web design business about what makes his business unique. He told me that his competition in his region was focused on one thing -- developing websites for the sole purpose of having an online presence. As a savvy website developer, my friends knows that if your website isn't attracting and converting traffic and thus increasing your business profits, it's simply a pretty online brochure. Consequently, what makes his company different is that he actively pursues strategic alliances with compatible, non-competing businesses so that all of these compatible businesses can drive traffic to each other's sites and band together to make some special promotional offers to their combined client base.

I then asked him what business he thought he was in, and of course, he replied that he was in the website design business. Based on what he told me earlier about how he's connecting businesses and helping them create promotional strategies, I told him he was really in the business of marketing and relationships. He is daring to be different and go above and beyond what other similar companies are doing by strategically connecting businesses who aren't otherwise connected and providing creative ideas about how a collaborative effort will benefit them all.

Wow, what an incredible strategy! My friend wins, as he gets the contracts to do the websites for the compatible businesses he contacts. His clients win because they have a measurable online presence, and the strategic partners win because they are looped into a collaborative marketing effort and are exposed to an entirely new customer base.

When I inquired what had prompted him to create these kinds of relationships for his clients, and he said that his clients want two things: to have more customers walking through their door and to make more sales. Because he stood in the shoes of his clients and listened to their needs, he devised a strategy to significantly differentiate himself from his competition and help them meet these needs.

How can you create an effective USP for your online business? Here are some questions to think about in the creation process:

What do you offer in your business in terms of service or products that makes you different from your direct competitors?

Which of these factors or characteristics resonate with your customers?

What characteristics of your product or service are not easily duplicated by your competition?

Which of these distinctions is easily communicated to and understood by your target market?

What memorable message can you construct for your target market that easily conveys these unique qualities about your business?

How will you communicate this unique message (USP) to your target market?

If you're picking out a dessert on the menu, how boring and ordinary is it to be forced to choose between the relatively plain chocolate cake, white cake, lemon pie, or chocolate brownie? If among those desserts, however, was a white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake, you'd probably go for the cheesecake because it stands out from the other offerings, wouldn't you? And, who can resist the delicious pairing of raspberry and chocolate, anyhow??

Dare to be the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. It's a strategy that'll get you noticed!


Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at GetMoreClientsOnline.com . Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com .

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