How to Define Your Competitive Edge and USP (plus what to do if you can't find your competitors)

 
“With tens or hundreds of potential options out there, you have to answer the question, ‘why should I buy from you?’ If you don’t answer that question quickly, your potential customers will move on. It’s really pretty simple.” – Fizzle That's why you need to find your competitive edge and craft your positioning statement. And that's exactly what I'm teaching you how to do in this post. Click through to read (plus a video)!
With tens or hundreds of potential options out there, you have to answer the question, ‘why should I buy from you?’ If you don’t answer that question quickly, your potential customers or readers will move on. It’s really pretty simple.
— Fizzle

Today's live training: How to Define Your Competitive Edge and USP (plus what to do if you can't find your competitors).

GRAB THE WEB PREP CHECKLIST HERE: https://craftingcreative.com/checklist

You’ll learn about:

  1. Why different is better than better.

  2. What a USP is and why we need one.

  3. How to write your USP (with examples).

  4. Scoping out the competition (+ a spreadsheet)

And I’ve put together a packet with bonus materials for this lesson at craftingcreative.com/usp

 

In the Web Prep Checklist series, we are on step 3!

In step 1, we talked about how YOU make your brand stand out, how to find the right blend between you and your ideal client to create a captivating personal brand, and how to define your website’s goals the right way (which incidentally is not the SMART way).

In step 2, we talked about how to research your ideal CLIENT using the sleuthing method, in order to uncover her struggles and aspirations as related to your area of expertise (without sending surveys).


1. Different is better than “better”

“Be different to be better. Don’t be different for the sake of being different.” – Ramit Sethi

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Derek Halpern (CEO of SocialTriggers.com) but did you know that he grew his email list to 125,000 within 2 years? Yeah, me neither. That’s some insane growth.

You know how he did it? He focused on 3 things:

  1. Positioning:

Don’t be a “me too” blog that says the same things as everyone else.

Find your 1-3 areas of focus (that are either completely different from the crowd OR are a different take on what’s commonly said).

Say the same things over and over again. Don’t be afraid to get repetitive about your message.

You see this, not only with Derek, but with someone like Denise Duffield-Thomas, she is very repetitive in her message and teachings but people love her (myself included). AND that’s her positioning at work (which in turn, builds her authority because she starts to be known as the go-to money mindset expert).

  1. Authority

You can be seen as an authority by proxy (for example wearing a police uniform transfers authority to you, even if you aren’t an officer).

So, to use this authority transfer principle in business, getting people that have already established authority to mention you, automatically transfers some authority to you.

(PS: This is where relationship building comes in and my friend Halley Gray teaches you a system for making this easy in her signature Be Booked Out program).

  1. Promotion:

Making sure that people know what you have to offer. Derek’s 80/20 principle has been 20% creating the best material and 80% promoting it.

(PS: My wordsmithing friend Hillary Weiss teaches you how to find and write in your brand voice so you can write kickass promotion & sales copy).


2. What is a USP:

Crafting your USP / positioning statement. I don’t care what you want to call it–your USP (unique selling proposition) or positioning statement–but you need to be clear on what differentiates your brand from everyone else’s.

And this clarity needs to come right away when I land on your site. If I have to go on an easter egg hunt to figure out who you are, what you do, and who you serve, then forget about it. And, unfortunately there’s no plug-and-play template for you to use.

But, you want to create a single sentence that tells us: 

  • WHO you serve:
    • I’m talking to people that have websites and (implied) use them for a business purpose
  • WHAT you do:
    • I do website design or optimization
  • HOW you help:
    • I help them by taking their websites from bleh to badass

The difference between your brand message and your USP is that your brand message focuses on the WHY, whereas your USP is more about the HOW.


3. Why you need to declare your USP:

Imagine this: you’re a coach with a comprehensive group program that you want to sell out. You’ve written a sales page, but you know the copy isn’t quite powerful enough to drive those sign-ups. So, you’ve decided to hire a copywriter. You’ve narrowed it down to two–let’s call them Alfalfa and Barley.

Alfalfa positions herself like this:

“I’m a copywriter that works with creative entrepreneurs to craft sales copy that converts browsers to buyers.” Not bad, right? Now, let’s take a look at Barley.

Here’s Barley’s positioning statement:

“Hey there, I’m Barley! If you’re a creative entrepreneur looking for an easy-going wordsmith with a healthy respect for chocolate, then I’m your girl. I’ll work with you to craft a sales page that sells like hot cakes.”

You see the difference?

Alfalfa uses the standard, formulaic positioning statement whereas Barley infuses hers with personality. This is the key. Which one of these copywriters would you choose? Of course, the person who stands out.


4. How to define your USP, questions to ask:

  • What do you want to be known for?
    • eg: I want to be known as the go-to expert for improving your website’s effectiveness so that it doesn’t just look good, it becomes your 24/7 salesperson and you can stop hustling and enjoy more freedom.
  • If someone asks one of my followers what I do, I want her to respond with:
    • eg: "She's a web design strategist for online entrepreneurs that want their website to be a tool for their business growth so that they can get more clients with less hustle.“
  • If I were to give a 60-min workshop, I'd cover:
    • eg: The first 3 essential pieces for crafting a website that converts leads on autopilot.

The USP checklist:

Is it USEFUL? Does my ideal client understand the usefulness of what I do?

  • “They should not look to dazzle with style over substance.”

Is it UNIQUE? Does this sound like all the other [insert your industry] businesses online?

  • “They should not be applicable to every company that can afford marketing consultants .”

Is it ÜBER-SPECIFIC? Remember that clear beats clever every time.

  • “They should not make vague promises that can neither be kept nor broken.”

“— please, for the love of God, please just tell me what your company does.” – Kasper Kubica

5. The Competitive Audit

A really helpful way to position yourself in a way that stands out from the competition is to LOOK AT THE COMPETITION. Don’t just assume or make things up. I want you to create a spreadsheet and do a proper audit. (PS: Grab my exact spreadsheet in the Positioning Packet)

A competitive audit (what to look for):

  1. What are they doing really well?

  2. What are they doing really poorly?

  3. What are some words or phrases they use repeatedly?

  4. What are some of the features + benefits of their product?

  5. What do they seem to be missing?

  6. How can we position ourselves as different or better?

Grab your own copy of the competitive audit spreadsheet template that I use in the Positioning Packet bundle at craftingcreative.com/usp

Grab your own copy of the competitive audit spreadsheet template that I use in the Positioning Packet bundle at craftingcreative.com/usp

QUESTION:

“I'm having trouble finding brands in my market that don't already have a pretty sizable following. Is it okay to still use them when coming up with my USP? I just don't see myself as their competition per se bc I'm not that far along.”

ANSWER: You may feel like you’re not competing with those brands because you’re not as far along or don’t have a comparable audience BUT it’s not about your list size or how much revenue you’re making (because we’re building a growth-focused brand).

Keys to look for when finding competitors are:

  1. Audience: They’re selling to the same people you want to sell to.

  2. Expertise: They’re in the same area of expertise.

  3. Offers: They’re selling similar services (or products).

That way you can see what kind of marketing messages your audience is already getting and where there might be gaps.


Where we’re at in the Web Prep series:

In step 1, we talked about how YOU are what makes your brand stand out and about finding the right blend between you and your ideal client to create a captivating personal brand.

In step 2, we talked about how to research your ideal CLIENT the right way, in order to uncover her struggles and aspirations as related to your area of expertise.

Today we talked about:

  1. Why different is better than better.

  2. What a USP is and why we need one.

  3. How to write your USP (with examples).

  4. Scoping out the competition (+ a spreadsheet)

Next week, we’ll talk about: How to systematically clarify your brand “style” and create a moodboard (plus why you NEED to do this before writing your copy).

AND, for this lesson, I’ve put together a very special Positioning Packet, which includes:

  1. Trigger questions to shake loose your USP

  2. Checklists to validate that you’ve hit the sweet spot

  3. How to test your positioning in 5-seconds (the tool I use)

  4. Bonus resources for finding your uniqueness