What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?
You’re Leaving Money on the Table if You Don’t Have One…
Copyright © 2004, Chris Marlow
If you've done any freelance work in marketing, you may be
familiar with the phrase "unique selling proposition" (commonly
known as the "USP").
The USP tells your prospect what differentiates your product
from everyone else's in your category. And it's the single most
important reason your prospect will buy from you…or from someone
But did you know that you, as a freelancer, are a "product"
too…and that you need a USP to differentiate you from all of
the other business freelancers working in your field? The most
successful copywriters can say why they're the best writer for
the job. Can you?
There are many ways to differentiate yourself from the
competition. I trade on my agency experience and "big name"
clients. When I help my coaching students discover their Unique
Selling Proposition, we start with a review of their experience
We are positioning one of my students as a "problem solver,"
because he's taken start-up companies to great success as a
software salesman. Another student is positioned as "the
headline Doctor" because she feels she is exceptional at
writing headlines. She offers potential clients a free
headline critique of their marketing materials, valued at
Even if you think you have nothing in your background that will
position you as special or unique, you're almost certainly
wrong. One of my students is entering copywriting after spending
a lifetime in anthropology. "How can I possibly find anything in
anthropology that a marketer would value?" she asked. "Tell me
about anthropology I replied."
After a 10-minute discussion she mentioned that there are seven
motivators that are common to all people in all cultures. "Could
a product or service have any kind of connection to any of these
motivators?" I asked. And we brainstormed common products and
services that are commonly sold via direct mail, ads, or
It turned out that there was a link to the seven motivators for
every product or service, which allowed us to say that my student
had a deeper level of empathy for people (and prospects), than
most copywriters. And since the ability to convey empathy is so
critical to the success of a marketing piece, then a client
would be well served by using her copywriting services over
My student went on to create a free report to give to potential
clients, entitled "The Amazing Link Between Anthropology and
Direct Marketing that Can Really Increase Your Profits." We
also created an "Empathy Scale" so she could offer to measure
the "empathy level" of a client's past mailing.
So think for a moment. What would you say if a potential client
asked "Why you?" If you don't have a quick answer, then it's
time to create your own powerful USP.
A veteran freelancer and award-winning copywriter, Chris Marlow
offers business coaching to new, aspiring, and seasoned business
freelancers who want to accelerate their success. She can be
reached via http://www.TheCopywritersCoach.com
Ó 2004 Chris Marlow. All rights reserved
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