Your Unique Selling Proposition or USP can be your most powerful motivational tool. Your USP is what makes you different than all your competitors. It’s the one thing that gets people excited about your business rather than anyone else’s.
In order for a USP to be effective, it has to genuinely be different than anything else that’s out there. If you put out a USP that doesn’t sound shockingly powerful, chances are it won’t work.
Here are a few examples of USPs and how they motivated their markets.
==> Radiohead’s Donation-Based Album
The discussion of the internet’s desire to be free versus the record label’s desire to stay profitable has been an active topic since the very beginning of the web.
Radiohead’s album, released on a “pay what you want” basis on the internet, was designed to test this out. Their USP was very simple: Download the album; pay whatever you want.
This USP generated massive press and buzz. They had a massively successful album launch and proceeded to have a home run concert tour.
==> Zappos: Free Shipping Both Ways, 365-Day Return Policy
Another clear and simple USP is Zappos’ 365-day return policy. If you buy a pair of shoes from Zappos and decide you don’t like them, you can return them months later for free.
Furthermore, Zappos will pay for you to return your shoes. Unlike other companies, Zappos aims to make it easy rather than hard to make a return.
This “no risk” USP allowed their customers to make snap decisions on purchases. They knew that even if they didn’t like it, they could just send it back.
==> Prosper Marketplace
Prosper Marketplace offers a very unique proposition for both lenders and borrowers. Instead of lenders buying stocks or bonds, they can lend directly to real people instead. Real people can submit their applications to real lenders, rather than a bank, who will then decide whether or not they deserve the money.
This USP appealed to both lenders and borrowers. Lenders felt they had more control over their money and had a chance at a higher return. Borrowers relished the chance to make their case to real people.
==> The Secret to a Great USP
A USP that motivates customers is a USP that finds an existing desire and solves it. Usually a USP entails taking some risk by the company.
Zappos takes a big risk by offering a 365-day return policy. Customers want safety when they buy, and that USP offers it.
Radiohead took a big risk when they offered their album on a “pay what you want” basis. What if everyone just downloaded it for free, or only paid a dollar?
Figure out what your customers want, then find a method to fulfill it. If it seems like there’s a big risk involved, then you’re probably on the right track. Do everything you can to manage the risk, but don’t back out because it’s risky. That’s where the money is made.