How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) + Examples

Learn what a USP is, how it works, common value propositions it communicates, and the process to create one, while also seeing examples.

A unique selling proposition (USP) is a value statement that explains why your business is better than the competition. Typically written as an engaging slogan, the USP expresses a key differentiator that's valuable to your customers yet neglected by your competitors, whether that be outstanding service, low prices, or some other factor. Businesses research their audience to find their differentiator, then write a USP to use in their marketing material and sales pitches.

How a Unique Selling Proposition Works

Businesses create a unique selling proposition to communicate to potential buyers how their brand, product, or service stands out from the other businesses they might be considering. Marketers typically place their USP across their marketing assets (e.g., website, marketing emails) in an effort to get potential customers into a buying mindset during lead nurturing. Salespeople use the USP to craft their full sales pitch, which they can then trim down into an elevator pitch.

USPs most commonly manifest as slogans (around 4-8 words), which are used as headlines for advertisements like social media ads and for web pages like the home page, product page, and landing page. Sometimes businesses will also add a short blurb underneath it elaborating on the USP, as Pipedrive has done below:

Pipedrive USP example
Pipedrive USP example

Employing a USP requires three overarching steps related to research, writing, and strategic usage:

  1. Conduct Research to Find Your Differentiator: Conduct customer interviews, competitive analysis, and other methods to find your most valuable and unique differentiator.
  2. Write an Engaging and Memorable USP: Once you’ve found your differentiator, write a USP that expresses the differentiator and the value it offers your customers.
  3. Use Your USP Effectively: Use your USP to create your full sales pitch, which you can then trim down to an elevator pitch. Also, place it across your website's product or service pages.

To create your own effective USP, start by identifying your target audience so you can speak to their desires. Next, brainstorm some differentiators using various methods like interviewing your customers and examining your competition for gaps in their offerings. From there, pick a few of your most unique value propositions and turn them into first drafts of your USP, which you’ll then revise and A/B test. Lastly, use the winning USP to support your marketing and sales strategies.

Common Value Propositions That Effective USPs Communicate

If you look at enough USPs, you’ll start to notice that most of them are expressing one of seven common value propositions in their own unique way. This includes things like price, service, logistics, features, and more. Before writing your USP, you can learn about these value propositions and see if you can use them to position your product as better than your competition’s.

Below are seven of the most common value propositions:

Affordable Price

Convenient Buying Process

Long-Lasting Value

Unique Feature

Quality Service

Corporate Responsibility

Ease of Use

If you’re the low-cost leader in your industry, centering your value proposition around the money your customer will save is a good idea.

Affordable price USP example

Affordable price USP example

A company that reduces friction during the purchase process by delivering quickly, offering free installation, or setting them up with an expert advisor offers immediate value.

Convenient buying process USP example

Convenient buying process USP example

Some USPs rely on the long-term value or reliability of a product relative to others in the space. This communicates to your target audience that they'll need to buy your product less often than if they choose a competitor.

Long-lasting value USP example

Long-lasting value USP example

If your product or service has a feature, offering, or use case that your competition doesn’t offer, or if you serve a different market from your competition, make that clear.

Unique feature USP example

Unique feature USP example

If you offer better customer service and a better overall customer experience when compared to the competition, this could be a great angle for your USP.

Quality service USP example

Quality service USP example

Some USPs focus on how the business helps communities that need it. That could be donating a percentage of profits to a certain charity or using sustainable business practices that protect the environment.

Corporate responsibility USP example

Corporate responsibility USP example

If your competitors’ products are complex, and yours is simple, share that with potential buyers. This is a common tactic in the software industry.

Ease of use USP example

Ease of use USP example

Although they're known to be effective, you don’t have to use these value propositions. If you think of another reason why your business is different from and better than the competition, use it. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start creating your own USP.

How to Create & Use Your Own USP

The process to building an effective USP starts with identifying your target audience and doing research to find your unique value proposition. Next, you’ll pick two value propositions and write out some rough draft USPs before revising and testing them. Lastly, you’ll use them to create your sales pitch, better advertisements, and arresting web copy. Check out these three main steps below, and expand to see details on the substeps involved in each.

1. Conduct Research to Find Your Key Differentiator

You have to do research to figure out which of your value propositions is unique and valuable enough to deserve the spotlight in your USP. Of course, what’s valuable depends on your audience’s tastes, so first identify your customers and their common frustrations. Next, ask your customers why they chose you and investigate your competition’s USPs. By the end of this process, you should have a key differentiator you can use to write your own USP.

Identify Your Target Audience

It’s important to first choose and understand the audience segment you want to target with your USP. That way you can pick a differentiator they want and write it in a way that speaks to their interests and values. To form a solid understanding of your audience, create a customer profile that highlights your existing or target audience’s demographics, cognitive attributes, pain points, and more.

Here are the seven steps for creating a customer profile: 

  1. Select a Group of Customers to Profile: Pick a segment of your current or target audience to profile. It’s often smart to profile audiences for different products and services separately.
  2. Pick Your Customer Profile Categories: Include demographics, psychographics, behavior, firmographics, and/or geographics, plus any industry-specific categories, to get intel that will help you sell and market to your buyers.
  3. Gather Demographic and Firmographic Data: Uncover common socioeconomic traits, plus business-related data points if you’re a B2B seller.
  4. Study Your Customer Base’s Behavior: Do research to figure out how your current or target customers usually learn about, buy, and use your product or ones like it.
  5. Compile and Analyze Psychographics: Use surveys, focus groups, or other strategies to understand customers’ common values, interests, beliefs, and other cognitive attributes.
  6. Collect Geographics and Technographics: Understand where your customers live or work, plus which tools they use and how if you’re with a B2B business.
  7. Build a Buyer Persona: Build a categorical description of a single individual who would be an ideal buyer, including their motivations, fears, challenges, and more. 

A completed customer profile will give you plenty of intel to work with as you write your USP. Plus, you can use that profile to create your buyer persona. Having this document close by can help you write your USP, since you can pretend you’re writing it directly to them, which can keep you focused on making the language interesting to your audience.

Find Common Buyer Frustrations With Your Industry

It’s time to start gathering research data so you can choose the most unique and desirable value proposition to communicate. Often, a good place to start is with frustrations your buyers in your industry typically have with your competition. They might have pain points with the buying process, price, durability, or other factors that you can address in your USP.

Below are the main ways to uncover common customer frustrations: 

  • Send Out a Survey: Send a survey to people who fit your customer profile description and ask them what they wish was different about your industry.
  • Talk to Your Team: Ask other sales reps if they’ve heard any customer complaints about the competition during discovery or sales calls.
  • Go Through Your Notes: Review your CRM call notes to spot any frustrations your leads and customers seem to mention frequently.
  • Read Industry Publications: Read research papers and articles that clue you into the unmet needs of potential buyers in your niche.
  • Look at Review Sites: Check out your competition’s Google and Facebook reviews and look over industry-specific review sites to find complaints often cited against your competitors. For example, G2 is great for finding software reviews. 

As an example, perhaps NYC renters are fed up with poor service from their rental management companies. If a property manager was known for their exceptional service, that’d make a great value proposition for their USP. Challenging industry norms that people dislike is a great way to spark interest in potential leads and gain their trust. 

Conduct Interviews With Current Customers or Ideal Buyers

If you're having trouble thinking of ways you differ from the competition, just ask your customers. They’ll happily tell you why they chose you over the competition, and their answers can clue you into your most valuable key differentiator. If you’re a new company and don’t have customers just yet, you can still interview potential buyers in your niche.

Regardless, follow these steps to conduct interviews:

  1. Set Up Interviews With Happy Customers: Schedule at least 10 interviews with your happiest customers or people who fit your customer profile. These are the types of customers you’ll want to attract with your USP.
  2. Engage in Small Talk: Open the conversation with some small talk to get everyone in a good mood and strengthen your relationship.
  3. Ask Questions That Help You Write Your USP: Ask them why they chose you, what their favorite benefits are, what you helped them accomplish, what pains you removed, and more.
  4. Thank Them for Their Time: Lastly, close out the call with a thank you. If they’re your customer, ask if there’s anything you can do for them. 

After engaging in these interviews, you might find that a lot of your customers said your software was the most customizable tool they’ve come across. That’s great material for a USP. Conducting interviews is a reliable approach for finding long-lasting value or unique feature value propositions.  

Investigate Your Competitor’s Products & Services

Another way to find a differentiating value proposition is by reviewing your competitors’ comparable products or services and looking for any gaps in their offerings. A CRM software company might discover that all of its competitors make users pay for a valuable feature they offer in their free plan. Communicating that lowest-priced value proposition could be their USP.

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2. Write Your USP

After you’ve done this research, you’ll likely have multiple value propositions that you feel would work well in your USP. But, it’s time to narrow them down and pick the most unique and valuable, and turn that value proposition into a shining USP that’s written down and usable.

Pick Your Two Most Intriguing Value Propositions

Once you’ve gathered your data, decide on one or two value propositions that are most unique to your business and the most valuable to your target audience. We say two because some businesses combine them into one USP. For example, the Pipedrive example we called out above highlights that it’s easy to use and built especially for salespeople:

Pipedrive USP example

Remember, the value proposition(s) you choose should be something your customers strongly desire and your competition does poorly or not at all. Next, you’ll turn this into two rough first drafts that you can test against each other. 

Craft First Drafts of Your USP

Now that you have your value proposition, write out two rough first drafts, each expressing the value proposition in a different way. That way you can test them against each other later on. There are some best practices you can keep in mind that will guide you in this attempt.

Here is a framework for crafting your USP:

  • Keep It to 4-8 Words: You only have so much time to grab the attention of your buyers, so stick to a few words. If you have to go over in the first draft, you can trim it down in the next step.
  • Use a Strong Action Word: Sometimes it’s good to start it with a verb indicating what your customers get to do — e.g., “try on five pairs at home.”
  • Express Your Value Proposition: Make sure you either explicitly state your value proposition (“most durable belt out there”) or implicitly state it (“your grandkids will wear it”). Often, inferring the value will create a more memorable USP.
  • Use an 8th Grade Vocabulary: Avoid using big, flashy words that risk confusing your audience. Stick to basic words that are short and punchy and have fewer syllables.  

Don’t worry about being perfect. Just get your thoughts on the page. Because the first attempt will likely lack the zing a USP should have, it’s best to edit these first drafts in the next step and add some flair for memorability. 

Revise Your Drafts Into Memorable Copy

Now edit your rough drafts to create two short and memorable final USPs. Also, try to capture your brand’s voice in the final drafts. One of the best ways to gain inspiration for your USP is to expose yourself to other exceptional USPs. Study them and figure out why they work. Then apply those principles to your own. Later on, we offer examples and share takeaways that explain their success. 

A/B Test Your USPs

Once you’ve written two functional USPs, test them against one another using an A/B testing process. That means you’ll split your ad campaign or email marketing audience into two and each will receive a different USP. Whichever performs better will be the USP you use going forward. Typically, better performance means higher conversion rates on the ads or web pages that host your USP. 

Here are some steps to follow to test your USP: 

  1. Create Variations: For example, make two landing pages for the same product that are the same in every way except for the USP.
  2. Split Your Audience: Evenly and randomly split traffic to the page or advertisement.
  3. Track the Metrics: Often, the metric you’ll want to track is conversions, as this will tell you if your USP is successful.
  4. Pick the Winner: Choose the better performing USP. 

Even after you’ve landed on a USP, it’s important to test it against other USPs from time to time. Or, you could simply tweak a few words and see if it performs better. That way you’ll always be moving towards optimization. For more, check out The Traffic Company’s beginner guide to A/B testing.

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3. Use Your USP Effectively

Now that you have a polished and tested USP, it’s time to put it to use. Plaster it across your website and ads, and use it to develop a sales pitch to use in one-on-one meetings with prospects. For your USP to do its magic, your potential buyers need to see and hear it.

Build Out Your Sales Pitch

Your USP should be included in your sales pitch so that prospects understand why you’re better than the competition. A sales pitch is a one- to two-minute value explanation that salespeople give to leads in an effort to convert them into customers. In the sales pitch, your USP will take a sentence form rather than the slogan form it assumes in your advertisements.

Here’s an example of a sales pitch with the USP: “Unlike other {Your Company Type}, we offer {Unique Value Proposition}, so our customers {Avoid/Receive} {Pain or Benefit}.” For more on sales pitches, read our guide on how to create and deliver a sales pitch

Add Your USP to Your Website & Ad Copy

Place your USP front and center on ads and web pages that need to sell your solution to the customer. That’s often the home page, product or service page, and landing pages. Often, companies will make it the headline of these pages or advertisements. Take a look at what your competition is doing for some ideas of where to put your USP. When you’re on the fence about adding it, it’s best to err on the side of inclusion. Show that winning phrase off.

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11 Best USP Examples From Reputable Companies

Studying USP examples is a great way to gain inspiration for your own USP. Below we’ve listed USPs from such reputable companies as EY, Dell, Robinhood, and Toms. Each USP corresponds with one or two of the common value propositions we discussed earlier. And the majority of them show the three essential elements of a successful USP: research, writing, and strategic usage.


EY USP Example

Value It Communicates: Corporate responsibility

EY’s USP “builders of a better working world” falls under the category of corporate responsibility or social impact value propositions. EY focuses on helping not only their clients achieve success, but also the communities in which they operate. Though the USP doesn’t explicitly express a unique offer that its customers receive, the slogan is memorable and paints the company as altruistic and visionary, which is likely something their clients want.

Dell Technologies' USP

Dell Technologies USP Example

Value It Communicates: Convenient buying process

Dell Technologies’ USP “Wherever your business journey takes you — we’ll be there with you” is communicating a better purchasing process value proposition. This is more clear when supplemented with the subheading telling readers they have free access to Dell’s Technology Advisors. Buying technology for a small business can be a difficult and crucial decision, so this value-add is desirable to its potential customers, and likely uncommon with competitors.

MasterClass' USP

MasterClass USP Example

Value It Communicates: Unique feature

MasterClass’s USP is “MasterClass is where anyone can learn from the world’s best.” It’s a unique feature value proposition and an impactful differentiator. No other online course platform offers access to courses taught by such famous experts as Malcolm Gladwell, Gordon Ramsay, and Martin Scorsese. Their USP is also attractive to potential buyers because it emphasizes that any person can learn on the platform, no matter their skill or education level.

Saddleback Leather's USP

Saddleback Leather USP Example

Value It Communicates: Long-lasting value

Saddleback Leather uses the USP “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead,” which is a form of the durable value proposition, as it implies it’s so durable that it will outlive the owner. People dislike having to replace expensive bags and briefcases, so this is a valuable promise. It also separates Saddleback from the competition since many bags are prone to wear and tear. Lastly, it's memorable and captures the brand’s voice.

HubSpot CRM's USP

HubSpot CRM USP Example

Value It Communicates: Ease of use

HubSpot CRM uses the USP “An easy-to-use CRM. Who knew that'd be revolutionary?” Quite obviously, this is an example of an easy to use value proposition. HubSpot is separating itself from its competitors that typically sell CRM software that’s often difficult to set up and train employees to use effectively. The second sentence of the USP sympathizes with leads who have tried other CRMs and become infuriated at the unnecessary complexity — this builds trust.

Wave Invoicing's USP

Wave Invoicing USP Example

Values It Communicates: Ease of use and affordable price

Wave Invoicing’s USP “invoice software that’s easy and free” is a combination of two value propositions: easy to use and most affordable option. Many of the Wave’s competitors charge fees for invoicing, to the annoyance of their customers. This USP, therefore, lets potential customers know immediately that their invoicing app is completely free of charge, something they’ll find valuable to their small business.

Warby Parker's USP

Warby Parker USP Example

Value It Communicates: Convenient buying process

Warby Parker has a USP that communicates a better purchasing process. The ability to “try 5 frames at home for free” helps generate leads by removing risk or hassle from the purchase. Potential buyers don’t have to go to a store to try them on, which differentiates Warby Parker’s service from other brands. Though the USP is more straightforward than memorable, it does a good job influencing website visitors.

UpLead's USP

UpLead USP Example

Value It Communicates: Quality service

UpLead's USP is “B2B prospecting with 95% data accuracy,” a form of a better service value proposition. Prospecting tools in the space are known to sometimes have inaccurate data, which can be incredibly frustrating to salespeople because an email sent to a faulty email address wastes their time. So, UpLead is doing a nice job here of telling leads that they offer high accuracy, thus better service. That alone is enough to convince buyers to choose them.

Robinhood's USP

Robinhood USP Example

Value It Communicates: Ease of use

Robinhood’s short USP of “investing for everyone” (hosted on their website) is an example of an easy to use value proposition. They’re declaring that anyone, regardless of investing knowledge or funds, can easily get into investing using their service. They go on to explain in the subheading that the investing is also commission-free, further separating them from competition, who often takes a percentage of earnings from customers as commission.

Toms' USP

Toms USP Example

Value It Communicates: Corporate responsibility

Toms, a shoe brand, has a USP that is focused on sharing a corporate responsibility value proposition: “1/3 of profits for grassroots good.” Other brands might talk about their comfort or price, but Toms chooses to focus on how it helps communities and those in need, thereby promoting itself as the shoe company that gives back. This differentiating factor should capture customers who value charity and want to feel like they’re making a difference when shopping.

Carvana's USP

Carvana USP Example

Value It Communicates: Convenient buying process

Carvana’s USP is communicating its better purchasing process value proposition. They make it easy and stress-free to buy cars. “We sell cars, but we’re not car salesmen” tells consumers that their salespeople won’t use any of the shady tactics buyers often correlate with car salespeople. Under the USP, Carvana goes on to suggest that Carvana will make sure their buyers are satisfied before locking them into the purchase. It also uses a trustworthy voice.

Keep your eyes peeled for other USPs that you come across, especially when looking into your competitors. Think of your USP as a work in progress, and every so often test your existing USP with a potential new one as you continue getting inspiration from great ones that you come across.

Bottom Line: Unique Selling Proposition

A unique selling proposition expresses how your brand or solution is better than similar companies and is used throughout the sales process. Businesses must write a USP that contains a significant differentiator that customers care deeply about. Salespeople can then expand on that short sentence in their sales pitch. To further bolster your understanding of a USP and a sales pitch, check out our article on the most important sales terms.

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