What Is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and How To Create It

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Standing out in your field isn't just something farmers do.

Okay, we deserved that eye roll.

It ain't much but it's honest work


But selling a product isn't just about setting up a “Lemonade 10¢” sign and leaning back to wait. Every other kid on the block is selling lemonade on a hot day. If you don't differentiate yourself, you may never attract business.

Sounds pretty bad, right? So let's talk about USPs or unique selling propositions.

A unique selling proposition is a defining aspect of your business that makes it different from others in your field. A reason to choose your service or product over others like it.

So you have to ask yourself: What is the unique selling proposition of your business?

We're going to answer that question, and more, so you can show how special your lemonade stand really is.

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition?

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a unique feature or aspect of your business that makes it stand out from others. Something that makes it better than other businesses in your field. Something it does better than other businesses in your field.

Forming a solid USP will help your marketing, copywriting, branding, and help develop your target audience.

Your USP should answer the question:

“What differentiates you from the competition?”

It could be a physical, tangible difference – but it could also be something abstract and intangible like the attitude you use in your copywriting.

Just do it


And let's get something straight: 24-hour support, free shipping, or a money-back guarantee aren't USPs. They're great offers and solid business ideas but aren't unique enough on their own.

A unique selling proposition follows three points:



1. The proposition must be something your competitor cannot or does not offer

Hence “unique”. It must be something no one else in your field advertises.

2. The proposition needs a clear benefit

No fluff and puffery. Buy this and get this solid benefit.

3. The proposition must be strong

A strong idea, belief, or need that can attract new customers and keep them.

A USP is one of the building blocks in your overall sales strategy.

Why Do You Need a Unique Selling Proposition in Marketing and Sales?

You need a USP to establish a market, attract customers, stay memorable, and increase overall revenue.

It separates brands like Maybelline and L'Oréal from the 104,839 cosmetic brands in the US.

But how about we address a few points directly?

Stand out from the crowd

It's important to differentiate yourself and make yourself stand out. We made our point with cosmetics but let's grab a few more statistics for you:

In the US alone, there are:

That's almost 500,000 law firms. We'd make a “drowning in a sea of competition” metaphor here but it's nearly a literal ocean anyway.


Now imagine each person is another business.

A unique selling proposition is your surefire way to not only get your foot in the door but be recognized and noticed by your target audience. And this can make outreach sales much easier, too.

Improved revenue

Creating a unique selling proposition will draw more eyes your way. And the hardest part of selling a product is finding and securing customers.

Your customers will not only find you more easily but also pay higher prices for the specific product you offer. It's normal buying behavior. You yourself have said this at least once:

“Well, it's a little more expensive…but they're the only ones who sell it.”

A great, unique experience really matters. 86% of customers will pay more in order to get one. And the more personalized and specific you get, the more orders will pile up.

Because 49% of customers make impulse buys when they feel they have a more personalized experience.

Devoted customers

Devoted Customers

If your company is unique – if it's the only one that sells roast chicken-scented candles – your customers are here to stay. Where else would they buy a product like that?

A unique selling proposition in marketing keeps churn rates ridiculously low. And customer retention is critical:

  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60% and 70%.
  • The probability of selling to a new customer is only between 5% to 20%.


  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try your business's new product.
  • Existing customers are also 31% more likely to spend more on their average order.

You want those loyal customers. A USP can make that happen.

Stay memorable

We don't need to tell you why you want to be memorable – of course, you do.

But we will stress how creating a unique selling proposition will boost your chances of being remembered by prospects, leads, and customers.

Look, we're sure you're a great company but there are so many others out there. And your potential customers are probably considering a large handful of them, so why not make it easy on them?

Then when they're shuffling through stacks of potential brands, they can say to the higher-ups:

“Hey, what about that company with the really unique attitude? You know…the one with the skull logo?”

Smooth selling

Your sales reps and copywriters will have an easier time selling a product with a unique edge. There's only so far your salespeople can take:

But we have free shipping.”

A lot of companies have that. But imagine how simple the selling process would be if your reps could use:

“Where else are you going to find software specifically for healthcare facilities in Arizona?”

And that will lift at least one problem off your plate as a sales rep. For more tips, check out our blog post on inside sales.

Your primary focus point

A great USP can serve as a guiding star for your company's growth and improvement.

You can shape your tactics and moves around your USP. A unique selling proposition helps you make decisions, design products, plan future events and even hire new employees.

You've heard the ol' adage “Hire like-minded people”, right? Exactly.

And if anything along the way doesn't align with your USP – or even worse, goes against it – it can be tossed.

Unique Selling Proposition Analysis: What Goes Into a USP?

The unique selling proposition of your business should be a strong, distinctive characteristic that your company does better than others like it.

Here's a quick unique selling proposition analysis:

  • It should be unique (duh)
  • It should be strong enough to draw attention and be worth talking about
  • It should be clearly communicated
  • It should be difficult to imitate

So it should be eye-catching, distinct, well defined, and hard to copy – like a clown costume.


Okay, that's silly. But it isn't a bad example. Have you ever seen two clown costumes that are identical? Aren't they all a little different?

Following those four simple rules will produce a solid unique selling proposition (USP) that will make your business stand out from the crowd and really cement it into the industry.

How to Write a Unique Selling Proposition: a Step By Step Guide

A unique selling proposition (USP) can be created by knowing your target audience, identifying your strengths, and sharing your mission.

It's different for every organization, but we aim to give you five solid ideas that will act as a template so you know the basics of how to write a unique selling proposition.

Know the customer - be the customer

Customer Analysis

This is something every organization has to do at some point in their sales process.

Create an ideal customer for your product.

Get inside your ideal customer's head. Map out their wants, needs, and pain points. Identifying your ideal prospect will help shape your perfect USP.

Ask yourself:

  1. What do they want?
  2. What would solve their problem?
  3. What motivates their purchasing decisions?
  4. What makes them choose a company to buy from?

Besides using your imagination and a big piece of paper, your perfect customer can be created using data and analytics by examining who's interested in what you're selling.

Believe it or not, 76% of marketers fail to use behavioral data for digital marketing. Big mistake.

You could be using big data provided by software like Ringy to narrow down your target audience and identify what they need.

Aim to solve problems, not just hawk a product

Anyone can scream at passersby: “You want insurance! BUY INSURANCE!

But it isn't the best method (and it's honestly a little threatening).

To make a great USP, your aim shouldn't just be selling a product. When you shift focus to solving your customers' problems, you're setting yourself up to win.

Addressing an issue or problem zeros in on exactly what your product or service should accomplish and this helps identify the unique qualities your business needs. Which in turn makes it more irresistible to customers.

For example, some companies just sell coffee. Death Wish Coffee solves a solid problem – coffee lovers who are tired of weak coffee.

Death Wish Coffee


Especially because most brands specifically advertise a “smooth” cup of coffee. So, if you're like us (we like coffee that gives us a smack), a real problem is solved with a kick-you-in-the-rear cup of coffee.

Solving a problem is essentially communicating your value instead of just pushing a feature, which is sales 101. In fact, it's one of the best sales closing techniques.

Define why you're different than the competitor

Hint: saying that you're “not like other brands” doesn't count.

Your customers aren't stupid. They want a clear reason why you're unique, why you're superior, and why they should give you their money.

So first you have to figure out your significant difference. Nail down exactly why your solution is better.

Start by asking yourself:

  • What sets you apart?
  • What do you do well?
  • What is the mainstream market in need of?
  • What's the biggest benefit that a client gets from choosing you over others?

Companies like Voodoo Doughnut make it clear why they're unique.

Voodoo Doughnut


Doughnut shops are literally everywhere. Plus, you can grab doughnuts from grocery stores. But Voodoo Doughnut asks their customers a few specific questions:

  1. Will other doughnut shops have wacky flavors like mango-ginger and Captain Crunch?
  2. Are other doughnut shops open from 5 AM to 3 AM?
  3. Do other doughnut shops host weddings?

You can see how they stand out, huh?

Don't leave it vague. Defining your difference makes it simpler for you to showcase it and include it in your marketing. For example, center your design, logo, and slogan around it.

This leads us to our next point.

Become tantalizing to your audience

You now have a firm grasp of who your customer is, what they want, and the problem that's caused them to look for a solution. Now relay to them why you're the perfect fit.

This can be in the form of a great slogan or motto, an eye-catching USP-displaying logo, or a promise or guarantee.

Here are a couple of ways that companies fold their USP right into their advertising:


Where they show their USP

What it conveys

Saddleback Leather

  • Their slogan: “They'll fight over it when you're dead.”
  • Their 100-year warranty

The extremely long life and excellent quality of their leather

Deathwish Coffee

  • Their slogan: “Time to create the world's strongest coffee.”
  • Their skull and crossbones logo
  • Their all-black packaging

This coffee isn't your normal cup of joe. This coffee is strong and srs bsns.


  • Their slogan: “Empowering the world to design.”

The simplicity of the product (no fancy degree required to use it) and the low price

USP-related imagery might be one of your best tactics, as companies that create custom visual content have a conversion rate that's up to 7X higher.

This is definitely something you could work into your digital marketing CRM campaign.

Convey your unique selling proposition quickly

How long do you spend looking at an article or website before skimming and leaving? You want to convey your message quickly to grab attention.

Take the health and fitness DTC brand, Nerd Fitness:

Nerd Fitness


They state their mission, their service, and their niche in one sentence.

“We help nerds, misfits, and mutants lose weight, get strong & get healthy permanently!”

One sentence on the landing page lets you know a whole lot.

  1. They're a health and fitness site
  2. They aim their services at nerds and geeks
  3. They have weight loss content
  4. They have strength-training content
  5. They have nutrition content

Think of your USP like an elevator pitch – it should be condensed into something easy to explain and be immediately obvious. In one sentence, they tell you their target audience and main services, so if you aren't a nerd and don't want a workout themed after Batman – you can leave right now.

It's always better to appeal strongly to a small audience than vaguely appealing to everyone.

But really, who wouldn't want to try a Batman workout?

USP Unique Selling Proposition Additional Resources

Looking for a launching point to start narrowing down your unique selling proposition?

Here are a few experts' opinions on creating a unique selling proposition. They really know their stuff when it comes to USPs and have some solid advice and ideas.

Simon Sinek and the golden circle

Simon Sinek and the golden circle


British-American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek wrote the book on USPs. No really, it's called Start with Why, and it's a bestselling leadership book.

Simon talks about USPs, inspiration, and selling in his famous TED talk (which is worth a watch, if you haven't seen it). In summary, Simon says to start with “why” – why do you do what you do? Why does your company provide this service?

If you know what you believe and loudly display it, you'll attract like-minded people who believe what you believe.

He goes on to cite a great example: people didn't wait in line for 6 hours to get an iPhone because the technology was never seen before or better than other phones. Apple's technology is good but it isn't worlds better than others.

Those people waited in line for 6 hours for themselves. They wanted to experience something that lined up with who they were and what they wanted.

Plus, the majority won't try something until someone else has tried it first – so getting that small group of like-minded individuals to follow you will eventually bring a wider audience in.

Lynda Resnick's three questions

Lynda Resnick's three questions


Businesswoman and marketer Lynda Resnick has been dealing with USPs her whole life. When she and her business partner, her husband Stewart, bought a flower delivery service, her first thought was: “How do we separate ourselves from other florists?

They ended up standing out by delivering their flowers in unique, quirky vessels – like cookie jars and watering cans.

Owning brands like POM, Fiji Water, Wonderful Pistachios, and more, Lynda has created her share of USPs. After a lifetime of writing them, she says you need to ask yourself three questions:

  • Is what we're saying about our product true?
  • Is our message clear, concise, and easy to understand?
  • Does our product's unique quality answer a need in the marketplace, whether consumers know it or not?

Lynda says this boils down to honesty and simplicity, which are needed by the customer.

Lynda Resnick wrote about USPS in-depth in her book: Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business.

Steve Jobs: don't sell products, sell dreams

Okay, we really can't leave this blog post without talking about Steve Jobs. If anyone knew how to entice and excite an audience, it was him.

We even just mentioned Apple above.

Steve Jobs


One of Jobs' main marketing tips is this: don't sell products, sell dreams.

There's plenty of tech out there and Apple definitely didn't invent computers and phones. Rather, they focus on the sensations, the excitement, and the overall experience the product brings the customer.

It isn't just a service – it's a shared belief and a passion. Customers aren't just consumers - they're people with dreams and ambitions.

Jobs' commitment to this model made the Apple brand nearly a lifestyle and certainly a status symbol. It loudly proclaims what type of person you are, your beliefs, and your interests. Jobs wanted to ensure he didn't squander his time away living someone else's life. And that's what he wanted for his customers.


“How do you find your unique selling proposition?”

Creating a unique selling proposition comes down to what your business does well, what your target audience wants, and what your main competitor doesn't have.

It may be more complicated in practice and take some time to narrow down but that's the bare bones of it.

“Is a USP essential in business?”

Yes, absolutely. I mean…if you want to make money and retain loyal customers.

But seriously, if you want to have a fighting chance against thousands of other brands and organizations, you'll need to stick out in one way or another.

“Can a business have more than one USP?”

Yes, a company can successfully hold more than one USP, although it isn't the most common.

It's usually not a great idea to have more than three. It can spread your audience too thin or end up confusing them.

Also, the organizations that adopt more than one will generally pick related points. Remember Voodoo Doughnut from earlier? Their out-there, rebel theme really goes with their late open hours and wacky flavors.


Unique Sales Proposition

Creating a unique selling proposition (USP) is tantamount to creating a logo, hiring employees, or handling finances – it's necessary to start a solid business.

A USP will help you stand out from the crowd, secure loyal customers, improve revenue, define your company's mission, and even aid your sales reps in creating pitches and making deals.

Just remember these five steps when writing a unique selling proposition:

  1. Know your ideal customer
  2. Don't just sell a product, solve a problem
  3. Identify exactly why you're different than the competition
  4. Display your solution in your advertising
  5. Convey your USP quickly

You may just find your profits increasing faster than you thought after adopting that new USP. If you happen to need any help managing all those new prospects, go ahead and request a demo with Ringy.

You'll have way too many customers to handle to do it without a good CRM.

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