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The importance of a unique selling point

Artist's block? NewArtOriginals.com founder Graham Jules reveals the simple steps you can take to go from amateur to professional artist overnight. In the second of six exclusive articles for Voodoochilli, he discusses the importance of the Unique Selling Point (USP).

Artist's block? NewArtOriginals.com founder Graham Jules reveals the simple steps you can take to go from amateur to professional artist overnight. In the second of six exclusive articles for Voodoochilli, he discusses the importance of the Unique Selling Point (USP).

What is a USP?

In a tough economy, it's more important than ever to make your business stand out from the crowd. Unless your product or service is unique, it runs the risk of getting lost in the market, usually because your competitors will be doing the same thing. The secret is your Unique Selling Point -  a sentence, phrase or list of services that sets you apart and makes your brand special. It is the backbone of the business, and is what distinguishes you from your competitors. Essentially, it's the answer you give when a potential customer asks, 'Why should I buy from you?'

How to identify you USP?
The best USPs consist of unique concepts that set your work favourably apart from the competition. When you do this, you effectively make the prospective customer a promise that you do things a certain way, and get certain results. The first step in a simple three-stage process is:

1. Understanding your customer base To get started you'll need to identify what customers value about your work, and about those of your competitors. Move beyond the basics common to all suppliers in the industry, and look at the criteria customers use to decide which product or service to buy. Talk to sales people, customer service teams and, most importantly, talk to customers themselves.

2. Ranking your work

Now identify your closest competitors. Score yourself and each of your competitors out of 10 for each characteristic. Do your best to see things from a customer’s perspective and make your best guess. Whatever you do, try to remain objective.

Some USPs for an artist might be:

  • Price - can you offer your work for a competitive price?
  • Size - Is your work of a unique size?
  • Style - Does your work have a truly unique style that others rarely use?
  • Variety - Does your work use a variety of colours and designs?
  • Premium - Is your work a premium product worthy of premium pricing?
  • Service - Do you offer a specific service alongside your work?
  • Personalised - Can you cater to the specific needs of a customer and create what they want?
  • Quality - Is the quality of the products you use superior to that of your competitors?
  • Value - Is the customer receiving an exceptionally good deal for your work?
  • Time - Has your work been slowly developed over time? Unique - Is your work itself truly unique, one-of-a-kind? Or mass produced?
  • Personality - What does your work convey? A specific emotion or theme?
  • Purchasing - Is the ordering and delivery of your work particularly effective and easy?

3. Putting your USP in writing

Once you've scored your own service and identified your USP, the next step is to write it down. This isn't always easy, and might take longer than steps one and two combined! Try to keep your USP to a sentence or less, and use easy-to-understand language wherever possible. If you've established a USP, it makes sense to invest to defend it - that way, competitors will struggle to keep up. You can do this by continuously updating your USP. By the time they've improved, you've already moved to the next stage

So now you've identified your own USP. Congratulations! The next step will be using your USP to build a brand - the topic of the next article in this series. For more information, feel free to contact me through www.newartoriginals.com