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Develop Your USP

Sell yourself and your desktop publishing business

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USP is your unique selling point. Also called your unique selling proposition, it is what sets you and your business — or you as an individual — apart from your competition. It can be an actual fact or a perceived difference or specialty. Every business needs one.

Your USP may be expressed as a summary of what you do and how you do it better or differently than others. Often, a USP can be summed up in just a few words that become something of an advertising jingle or catch-phrase. No matter how you express it, your USP should focus on how it benefits the customer. Here are a few well-known examples:

  • Burger King: Have it your way
    They build on the premise that it's easy for a customer to request changes. Benefit to the customer: Satisfaction. No hassles (for trying to change the standard burger offerings) and a hamburger that's just the way you like it.

  • Enterprise: Pick Enterprise. We'll pick you up.
    While Avis made a name for itself with its "We're number two, We try harder" slogan that emphasized customer service, Enterprise focuses on one key selling point - customer pick up. Benefit to the customer: Convenience. You don't have to worry about taking a cab or bother with finding some other way to go get your rental car. It comes to you.

  • Bounty: The Quicker Picker-Upper
    Many products, such as paper towels or toilet tissue, have similar qualities. Bounty makes their mark by saying that their product absorbs spills faster. Benefit to the customer: Time-Savings. You get the dirty work done sooner and can get on to other more important matters.

What's Unique About You
When you're doing desktop publishing, on the surface you're offering the same thing that thousands of others are offering. How do you set yourself apart? Look at what you do and how you do it. Look at your current customers (or those you wish to attract).

  • What do you do? If you have a broad offering, can you focus on one or two key services that are most in demand? List your specialities or niche areas.

  • How do you do business? Is there something special, unusual, or significant about the way you do business? Do you offer 24 or 48 hour turnaround? Do you deliver for free?

  • Who are your customers? Look at the demographics - age, interests, location (local, all over the world).

  • What do your customers want? Is it low-price, your personality, your location, your reputation, or something else that attracts customers to your business? List the benefits that customers derive from you.
    There may be very little difference between your product and your competitors' — but if you can't find a way to communicate uniqueness and connect it to a need of your target, you might as well quit fighting your competition and sell out to them. — BusinessTown.com

Your Assignment
Answer the four questions, above, about your business. Pick out at least one key point from your answers to each question. Which one stands out in your mind? Run your ideas past a few trusted friends to find the one that best expresses what is special about what you offer. Now, take what's unique about your business and express it as a benefit to your customer.

For inspiration, here are some examples* that a desktop publishing business might use:

  1. Deb's Designs specializes in taking files created by her customers in programs such as Microsoft Word, Publisher, and PowerPoint and getting them commercially printed. Her USP and the benefit to the customer is her ability to take files that commercial printers traditionally don't like and get her customers the professional-looking results they want without the hassles.

  2. Orion's Best Logos do meticulous research in their city to find out what logos are being used and strive to create unique designs for the small local businesses they do work for. Their USP is summed up as "No Other One Like It" with the benefit to the customer being a unique logo that makes their business stand out from the competition.

  3. The owner of Maverick Desktop Publishing is fluent in French, English, and Spanish. The bulk of his business now comes from clubs, schools, and some businesses that want to produce bi-lingual newsletters (his specialty), brochures, and other similar documents. He's even considering either hiring employees or teaming up with other bi-lingual desktop publishers to offer more languages to better match his slogan of "We Speak Your Language." The benefit to the customer is consistent design and appearance of materials in the languages they need it in — without having to hire additional writers to do the translations.

*These are fictional businesses.

Freelance Design > Start a Desktop Publishing Business > Developing Your USP

Doing Desktop Publishing & Graphic Design
Training, Education, Jobs:Careers in Desktop Publishing
In the Classroom: Back to School With Desktop Publishing
Jobs: How to Find an Entry-Level Design Job or Internship
Business: How to Start a Freelance Desktop Publishing or Graphic Design Business
Pick Your Path to Desktop Publishing
Get Started:Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing
Choose Software:Desktop Publishing and Design Software
Tips & Tutorials:How to Do Desktop Publishing
Make Something: Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing
Use Templates: Templates for Print and Web Publishing

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