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The 6 Essential Elements of a Powerful Unique Selling Proposition

Your Google AdWords campaigns won't work if you don't have a strong USP. Here's how to create one.
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In their book Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, online advertising and Google AdWords experts Perry Marshall, Mike Rhodes and Bryan Todd offer information thatwill help you get more clicks from Google for less money, convert more visitors to buyers, and make your online business more effective than ever.In this edited excerpt, the authors explain how you can use your unique selling proposition to create Google adds that get the clicks.

A USP stands for "unique selling proposition." It’s the thing that makes you unique in the marketplace—it’s what customers can get from you that they can’t find anyplace else. Having a clear USP gives you a clear response for these questions:

  • How are you unique?
  • In what way are you different from your competitors?
  • Why should I buy from you, rather than from someone else?
  • Why should I care at all about you or anything you sell?

The term came from Rosser Reeves, a pioneer in the use of TV ads. His message on USPs was simple:

  • Your ad has to have some way of clearly saying, “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
  • Your promise has to be one that your competitor cannot or does not offer.
  • Your promise has to win over new customers.

A USP is worthless if it doesn’t convince people to buy from you. USP is the knife-edge of your chisel that empowers you to “chisel your way in” anytime, anywhere. If you’re not getting enough traction, sharpen your USP.

Any time you’re communicating with a prospect, you can appeal to any one of these, or all of them together:

1. You’re unique because of the buyer you serve.

2. You’re unique because of what you sell.

3. You’re unique because you have an unusual angle.

4. You’re unique because of what your product or service does not do.

5. You’re unique because of the time frame around your offer.

6. You’re unique because of how you guarantee your product.

Let's explore these one at a time, with examples of how each one might look in a Google ad.

1. You’re unique because of the buyer you serve. Your business gets traction when you zero in on a niche. Maybe you target people of a specific demographic—a certain age, gender, income level, or religious or political leaning. Or maybe you solve a very specific kind of problem—a rare health issue, or a peculiar type of software malfunction. Maybe you cater to a particular hobby. If you’re in B2B, there might be a specific narrow vertical you serve, or a particular stripe of business owner.

Test the unique-buyer approach in your ads, whether you serve a unique demographic:

Meet Singles Your Age

We’re an over-50 dating site

made for older singles.

Or help people with a unique struggle:

Beat Procrastination

If you’ve tried everything else & failed,

my method is for you.

2. You’re unique because of what you sell. Do you offer a service where others only offer a product? Do you offer a product where everyone else is selling services? Are you the thing for sale, as a skilled technician, consultant, coach or performer? Are you the entertaining or compelling personality that makes the business what it is?

Having a story to tell will instantly separate you from the herd. Test the “unique thing for sale” in your ads. Here are some examples:

A product for sale, instead of a service:

Clogged Drains?

Skip the plumber. Fix the problem for good.

This ships in 24 hours.

You for sale, with a unique story:

Social Media Done Right

Canada’s only social media expert

running his own 8-figure business.

3. You’re unique because you’ve found an unusual angle. There are so many “angles” you can use to separate yourself from competitors. Here are just a few:

  • You promise a unique and specific outcome.
  • You have a noteworthy track record.
  • You have an unusual level of quality.
  • The experience of doing business with you is one-of-a-kind.
  • You offer a unique payment plan.

This ad celebrates a track record:

Iron-Clad Backup

A record 7 years without a system failure.

Reliability you crave.

4. You’re unique because of what your product or service does not do. We call these “negative promises.” They’re just as powerful as positive promises, often more so.

Maybe there’s some unwanted ingredient or feature your product doesn’t have. Maybe there’s a bad result you prevent. Maybe there’s some prerequisite for effectiveness that your product lets users bypass. Maybe your product avoids cost or waste.

This example ad captures the “negative promise” concept perfectly:

Reduce Carpel Tunnel 50%

No office visits. No physical therapy.

No painful surgery.

5. You’re unique because of the time frame of your offer. You can promise results within a set amount of time or for a set amount of time. The question is, how specific can you actually get? The more explicit you are, the better your ads will perform.

Fast Corn Relief

Corns gone in 5 days or money back.

Easy-to-use Kit.

Ads that use specific number symbols perform better. It’s practically an ironclad law. There are two reasons why: 1) The brain processes the number symbol faster than written words, and 2) numbers make your message specific.

6. You’re unique because of how you guarantee your product. Give your offer an “or else.” A penalty to you if you don’t deliver. Refund your customer’s money. Replace your product. Redo your service. Test a guarantee in your ad like this:

I Get You the Right Hire

Or I redo the entire recruiting process,

any time within 1 year.

The more ballsy and specific you make it, the more your prospects will sit up and take notice:

  • “Double your money back”
  •  “Your money back plus $1,000”
  • “We’ll refund your money and pay our competitor to come in and give you a replacement.”

Test as many of these concepts in your Google ads as you can find the time for. Some will completely tank. Plan on it. But somewhere among these USP concepts will be a new winning ad and a new, proven way for you to approach your prospects, regardless of what media you use.

That's how you hammer out your USP in the crucible.