By Karon Thackston
Why did you pick the toothpaste you use?
Were you looking for whiter teeth? Fresher breath? Help with sensitivity? Tarter control? It’s pretty unlikely you just walked down the isle at the store and swiped one off the shelf without thinking. There is almost always a reason for using a particular toothpaste because each one carefully broadcasts why you should buy theirs right on the side of the box.
While there are now a couple of toothpastes that offer to do it all, most profess a single, unique competitive advantage (UCA). They do one thing and they do it very well. It makes it extremely easy for people to choose the right one for them.
Take note because that’s also all it takes when you’re creating a UCA: ONE way you’re different or better than your competition. Not a dozen ways, not four ways . . . just one.
A Single UCA?
Most of us are used to discussions about creating a UCA for our companies or websites. And it’s true, you need one of those. But recognizing a single UCA isn’t the stopping point. In all actuality, you need a UCA for *every* site . . . in fact, for *every* offer.
What makes this new site different or better? How about that product you’re getting ready to launch next month? What makes it different or better than what currently exists on the market?
All of this needs to be considered before you move on to writing the first word of copy. Otherwise, how will you possibly communicate with your customers that you’re the obvious choice for them?
Not a Slogan – A Guidepost
Contrary to popular belief, your UCA is not the same thing as your slogan or tag line. It’s not a short, catchy little ditty that people will easily remember. Instead, think of it more like a guidepost.
Your UCA is for your use rather than your customers’. It’s a measuring stick of sorts. It outlines specifically how you are different and/or better, what you’ll offer, how, why, etc. Instead of a one- or two-sentence blurb, it might be several sentences long.
Is Your UCA Strong Enough??
Let’s take a look at a couple of UCAs and see just how they measure up.
According to Marketing Experiments, “The force of a value proposition can be measured by four essential elements of the offer:”
- Appeal – How much do I desire this offer?
- Exclusivity – Where else can I get this offer?
- Credibility – Can I trust your claims?
- Clarity – What are you actually offering?
The goal is to craft a UCA that gets high marks in all four categories.
Put it to the Test
Considering what we’ve talked about above, let’s put a few UCAs to the test and see how they come out.
#1: Helping small business owners get started on the right foot.
- Appeal? Eh. Kind of ordinary. Lots of businesses and/or product offers say this same thing.
- Exclusivity? None.
Credibility? There is nothing here that leaps out at me and screams, “These people/this offer is credible.”
- Clarity? So-so. You’re dealing with small businesses, but what, exactly, are you/your product specifically helping them start with? Setting up a 401K? Choosing an insurance program? Developing a website? Could be anything.
What might be better? Something like:
Helping small businesses 1-3 years old identify, analyze and choose a 401k plan using our one-of-a-kind investment calculator.
#2: Making great-tasting ice cream snacks for dessert lovers who know that looking good and staying healthy doesn’t mean a life without indulgence.
Appeal? It has great emotional appeal in my opinion. (Looking good, staying healthy, indulgence.)
Exclusivity? Pretty good. There are only a few companies that this UCA could fit well with.
Credibility? Nothing particularly stands out.
Clarity? Very clear!
Give it some thought then ask some people for their opinions. Your testimonials, surveys and other such info are great sources for discovering what other people think your UCA is. Don’t have any? Then just ask your existing customers what they feel your single best attribute is and why. It will certainly give you a jumping off point for UCA creation as well as some great insight into your customer base.
Find 28 ways to discover your unique competitive advantage (UCA) with the new video version of the Step-by-Step Copywriting Course. Real-life examples come to life as you watch over my shoulder while I teach you all my favorite tips and tricks for high-converting copy.
Check it out now at The Step by Step Copywriting course by Karon Thackston