Unique Selling Propositions for SaaS: Stand Out or Go Home

create a unique selling proposition

Author: Irina Tsumarava

What if your SaaS company’s website doesn’t bring enough leads? Or maybe it brings you the wrong audience? There’s one thing that may help you solve these problems (apart from having a solid marketing plan, of course).

It is a simple three-word phrase and it can put you in good stead. Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Let’s discuss the USP and its benefits.

What Is a Unique Selling Proposition?

Let’s start by taking a look at how Unique Selling Proposition is defined across a few sources:

Business Set Free defines a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP, as “the reason that you give for why people should buy from you and not from the others.” This is a simple and accurate definition.

If you want a more sophisticated definition, here is one from the Entrepreneur. The USP is “the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.

Unique Selling Proposition matrix

This USP accurately shows how the product differs from the others. (source: contentful.com)

In other words, we can say that a Unique Selling Proposition is what your business stands for. It highlights your business and shows why it is unique. Here’s another example of a USP, where the target audience is immediately clear.

Github Unique Selling Proposition

(source: github.com)

How Can a USP Help You in Promoting Your SaaS Business?

You probably already have a good idea of the advantages that a USP brings to your cloud-based business. So, let’s clarify them.

The first and most obvious is that a USP will allow your product to claim a unique place in the market and stand out among competitors.

Kissmetrics’ article, “What a Unique Selling Proposition Really Means & Why Your Business MUST Have One,” provides the very clear example of Zappos, an online retailer.

It says, “Zappos has a unique selling proposition that is quite simple: have the best return policy ever. A return policy that removes the fear of buying online and buying shoes that might not fit.

Here is how Zappos “bribes” its customers:

Zappos Unique Selling Proposition

Zappos stresses the uniqueness of their service in the form of their USP. This has allowed them to claim their place in the market and become one of the most popular online stores in the world.

Another benefit of having a USP is that your sales efforts will always be targeted successfully.

Vend, a retail point of sale (POS), inventory management, and e-commerce cloud software, provides an excellent example.

POS, Vend, Unique Selling Proposition

source: vendhq.com

They accurately define their audience and aim precisely at the type of customers they need who will benefit from their product.

This helps not only raise sales of the product but also access the customers who are most in need of your SaaS solution.

The creation of a USP makes sense not just for the improvement of your product’s promotion. Managing a SaaS business without a clear Unique Selling Proposition is next to impossible.

Corbett Barr, co-founder and CEO of FizzleCo, states, “It’s possible, but definitely not as easy. And success without a good USP requires better product development and promotion, along with some outside factors (maybe a little luck).

Of course, you can always invest large amounts in product development. But this does not guarantee you success. And it is obvious that relying on luck and word of mouth is not the best plan.

In fact, today the buying process begins earlier than ever and often excludes the company selling a product for a long time. A fact confirmed by CEB’s research, “buyers have (on average) progressed 57% through their buying process before they engage a salesperson.

Purchase Process Before Engaging Sales

source: cebglobal.com

This means that you need to have something to catch the attention of a potential customer and make him choose you as a solution provider.

In addition, according to the “Research In Action GmbH” report, having a clear USP equates to 35% of a successful marketing strategy.

Research on Differentiation

source: sumerian.com

If you understand the significance of marketing, you must have a USP.

How to Define Your USP

According to Entrepreneur’s article, “Unique Selling Proposition,” you need to “Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.”

This means that you have to try to think like a potential customer. You should attempt to understand what it might take to make him choose your product instead of a product from one of your competitors. This will help determine the value of your product for your audience.

Here is the example of Basecamp, a SaaS management tool. You can see how their USP expresses all the problems their customers can face.

basecamp Unique Selling Proposition

source: basecamp.com

You can also check websites such as Capterra, Getapp and G2 Crowd to find user reviews about your competitors‘ products and find out what annoys or pleases their customers. This information will help you understand how your product can attract that audience.

If your company provides customer service software, you can check users’ feedbacks on similar products like Zendesk.

Capterra Research Unique Selling Proposition

source: capterra.com

The inclusion of a point like, “Chat support on lower plans,” in your USP will certainly attract some customers.

You can also write directly to your competitors’ users and ask what features they like in the product they are using. Of course, this will require a certain amount of courage, but the result will be worth it.

We should mention one more thing. As Corbett Barr says, “Do not try to please everyone because you will end up pleasing no one.

You need to demonstrate clarity on exactly for whom your product is designed. Customers are reluctant to deal with firms that claim their solution is suitable for everyone.

Here is an example of an organization that knows their potential audience very well.

Bamboo HR Unique Selling Proposition

source: bamboohr.com

You want your customer to immediately see that your product meets their needs. 

What Does A USP Look Like?

There are several types of USPs, which I will quickly describe.

1. A one-liner with a subtitle of a few sentences.

Simple and catchy USPs help many companies achieve success.

Unique Selling Proposition

source: dropbox.com

This type of USP is also the most popular.

ChartMogul analyzed the 40+ top SaaS landing pages and came to the conclusion that most companies use one-liners, followed by a subtitle of one to two sentences.

The difficulty with this style is that you must fit all of the necessary information about your product into a very restricted format.

2. A list of customer benefits and an enumeration of your guarantees.

SpingSled Unique Selling Proposition

source: springsled.com

With a USP like this, you will be able to show potential customers all of the benefits of your product and assure them that they will succeed if they choose your service.

Your potential customers will see that you clearly understand the difficulties they are facing and that you are capable of solving them.

3. Imagery or video that conveys your USP.

Webengage made a short video that you can find on their landing page. It plays the role of a USP and serves as a brief introduction to their product.

Webengage

source: webengage.com

Many people prefer to receive information in video, and this trend is increasing as mobile video consumption grows each year.

Another advantage of the video format is that it allows you to tell more about the product than just a simple one-liner.

Of course, creating a clip requires additional time and money, but the result are often worth it.

Here is the last (and quite obvious) piece of advice: once you develop your perfect USP, put it on a landing page.

According to “Scrolling and Attention” research by Nielsen Norman Group, “website visitors users spend 80% of their time looking at the information above the page fold. This includes your headline, unique selling proposition, and CTA.

Slack’s landing page follows this pattern: Headline, USP, and Call to Action all in one bundle. 

Slack Unique Selling Proposition

(source: slack.com)

Wrap-Up

You’ve gotten this far in the article, so you’ve witnessed that a USP is very valuable for SaaS business’. Its creation is worth your organization’s time and money. Here are some key takeaways.

  1. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the reason that you give for why people should buy from you and not from the competition. It is something that represents and briefly describes your SaaS business.
  2. A USP allows your cloud-based product to claim a unique place in the market and stand out among competitors.
  3. With a good USP, you will always target the right audience.
  4. It is difficult to achieve success without a clear USP in the cloud business because the buying process begins before the customer communicates directly with the company.
  5. To define your USP, you must try to think like a customer. You can check software review websites to find users’ opinions about your competitors‘ products and understand what they like or dislike. You can also ask competitors’ users directly about what aspects of the product suit them or not.
  6. Your USP can be a one-liner or a list of customer benefits and an enumeration of your guarantees. A USP can also be supported by an image or a video.
  7. A USP should be placed on your landing page because website visitors spend 80% of their time looking at the information above the page fold. And it is a perfect spot to catch their attention.

Do you have any advice to share on how to create and utilize a stellar USP? Or, an example of an organization that’s doing a great job? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 


Unique Selling Propositions for SaaS: Stand Out or Go Home was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

The post Unique Selling Propositions for SaaS: Stand Out or Go Home appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.



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