May 25, 2024

9 ideas for developing your unique value proposition (or USP)

Here are nine ways to design your value proposition i.e. your business’ unique identity.

Most marketers know they need this. You must be able to answer “Why me? Why should people do business with me and not somebody else?”

Aaah, but there’s another “competitor,” which is: Why should people do business with you instead of doing nothing; instead of making no change at all?

So today, I’m going to give you 9 ways to go about answering these questions. This should help you design your unique value proposition.


1. What are you really selling?

Rich owns an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. It’s nothing special. I’ve had better and I’ve had worse. But… they got my business on Valentines day.


Because Rich is a smart man, and he knows that he’s not really selling pasta and meatballs. He’s selling a quiet place for romance; a place for reconnection.

You see, I got a letter in the mail from Rich. So did all my neighbors. It was exquisite. Red envelope, nice calligraphy. The letter was addressed to me (because he was targeted men). It was a well written letter about romance, and how to keep your lady happy.

And the solution was his restaurant for Valentines Day. I was so impressed by his marketing that I just HAD to try it. I wasn’t disappointed. More importantly, neither was my sweetheart.

Now, Rich doesn’t sell pasta and meatballs. I might have paid for that, but that’s not Rich’s business. His business is romance.

Know what you’re selling.


2. What do they dislike about the “other guy?”

You know what I hate… (maybe you do too)

I hate it when I have to call the plumber!

It always costs me money. More than I want to spend. It’s not like I’m getting anything out of the deal either. No one is coming to deliver a new leather couch. It’s awful.

Know what else?

Most of the plumbers I call don’t come on time, have dirty shoes that track in dirt, and the dudes normally stink. When they bend over I can see their ass crack.

I have to give my money to THAT GUY!?

That’s what I hate about the “other guy.”

A plumbing business that advertises that they’re plumbers arrive on time, won’t track in dirt or stink, and wear a belt so we don’t see their ass crack is a plumbing business that gets my business.

Know what I mean!?

Okay, so there’s the lesson: what does the consumer in your niche hate about the other guy? Whatever it is, address it, be the opposite of it and advertise THAT as your unique value proposition.


3. Create a club for them

Not necessarily online membership site. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about here.

Think of your coffee card.

The little coffee card where you buy ten coffees and you get one free,that’s kind of a real low-key way to do “membership.”

For example, If I was going to do the coffee card concept, I would make it a preferred members club of some kind. Have them either prepay or in some way give them a financial incentive and then give them special good stuff. Like drinks just for them. Give them special pricing and bonus coupons so if they come in and got a latte, they’d get an extra muffin for free. Things like that.

That’s club / membership.


4. White collar product at a blue collar price

Simple concept here…

If you can deliver a very high quality personal experience, a white glove experience at a good cost effective price, that’s a terrific USP.

WARNING: You don’t want to cut into your profit margin. The most important thing for you as a businessperson is to watch your profit margins and make sure your cash flow stays healthy.

Businesses that try to compete on price usually race to the bottom. So be sure it’s done in a smart way.

Point is though… everyone LOVES value at a good price.


5. Content

This only works if you’re in a business that doesn’t usually offer content.

For example, if you’re an acupuncturist and have a dozens of competitors in your town, if you have a book that’s all about your unique approach to acupuncture, general wellness, pain management and physical strength and health, etc…

…and you offer that book — could be an e-book, website, a membership site, something bound with paper and pictures, and you offer that to your customers, you stand out above the others who just hand out printed computer paper handouts.

Depending on your industry, content can be a USP.

I’d argue that content is becoming to be a MUST anyway. Do your best to make it as good as you can get it.


6. Be dependable

This one is the most powerful value proposition there is. It might surprise you. Also, you can use this immediately. It doesn’t even cost any money.


Be dependable.

That’s right. Simply do what you say you are going to do.

Let me tell you something…

This winter, I paid extra money to have a better heating company service my 20 year old boiler.


They have a package where they come out and service my heater once a month during the winter months.

I live in the country here in Michigan on a lake. It gets really cold. Plus I have a 7 month old and 3 year old. I can’t have my heat going out of me.

And my heater has been known to go wrong and break down. Whether it’s some little part in it that keeps busting, or the pilot won’t light, it’s a pain in the ass. I decided I needed special treatment.

So that’s worth a lot of money to me.

I paid extra for this special package.

And guess what?

They show up when they say they’re going to show up. The guy is clean and he’s presentable.

He’s professional.

He doesn’t track in mud. He doesn’t have a “plumbers crack” showing and he doesn’t try to hard sell me on the whatever “upgrade” there is (because I’ve already upgraded). The dude just gives me my options.

Plus, I know I call these guys day or night. They arrive reasonably quickly and show up when they say they will.

They’re dependable. I’d refer them to my mom or dad. And THAT is a GREAT USP to have.


7. The confluence

A “confluence” is when you take two things that would seemingly be unrelated and you match them together.

Ray and Ferny from SEO Networker are an example. They’re network marketers who are experts at SEO.

Copyblogger is an example. Copyblogger is a blog that merges direct response copywriting with social media.

Take two ideas that don’t seem to be related, find the intersections and build a business around that.

It’s a great way to set yourself / business apart from the rest.


8. New audience for an old product

Think yoga for stock brokers. Or, maybe stock tips for yoga teachers.

The idea here is that you have a product many people are selling but you find a new audience for it and then you find a way to translate what you’ve got to the needs of the new audience.


9. YOU

Your best USP especially for the audience who is reading this blog is YOU.

Your personality, your persona, your take on things.

What you love and what you dislike.

How you express yourself.

The language that you choose. Your style.

The people you like to have in your life as friends and customers.

The people you do not want in your life as friends or customers. Your quirks, all the stuff that’s weird about you. This can be enough. This can be your USP 100% just be REALLY good (and comfortable) with promoting it, and working it in naturally to your business.


Here’s 133 more ideas for you to try on for size.

About Eric Walker

Eric is an 80/20 Marketing staff member and marketing collaborator. He spends his days writing content and copy for a marketing purpose. Eric is an optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. If you have a question, and/or would like to communicate with Eric directly, email


  1. Great post. Definitely agreed with “Be Dependale” and “Content.” Will be checking back for more updates. Thanks!

  2. Great food for thought Eric! I like the idea of a site for yoga for stockbrokers! Come to think of it one of my best private clients in Boston was a stockbroker and his wife – They rarely missed a session!

    I’ve been meaning to write an article entitled Yoga for Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners and CEOs and submitting it to my local Chamber of Commerce.

    I think you and I are on the same wave length! Great blog post as usual :-)

  3. I’m working on my usp right now and this article was very, very helpful. I am going to definitely bring in the in depth contact and research that I have done to benefit my clients and be a part of my usp. Thanks, Eric.

  4. Eric I love this post. As I was reading I did every exercise here to create a well crafted usp and I look forward to more from DMC+ team.

  5. Hi Eric, your a god-send to me.
    I’ve stopped pulling out my hair due to you reading my mind.
    I have been searching the web to find your kind of information, to build my e-mail sequence marketing plan and to start generating quality prospects .The next thing I need i a way to learn How to create links and use them correctly for internal and external postings. Any ideas where I should look?

  6. This post literally expanded my USP as I was reading it. I found myself having to find a different approach, which basically means LEARN SOMETHING NEW!! And I can honestly say, this post accomplished just that. Thanks so much for sharing.. keep smiling

  7. Thanks Eric. This was a real eye opener for me. Learning how to be uniquely YOU is extremely important and I can see why it would work so well to connect with your audience.


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