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Why your website USP is critical to success

There are a number of important considerations when designing a website to make a business a success. What is concerning is that many businesses and designers will miss the most obvious necessity of all when constructing the site – a great USP.

The Unique Selling Point, or as it is sometimes referred to – a unique value proposition – is the one thing that sets your business apart and elevates your offering from your many competitors.

Without a USP you are simply one of a herd of other companies doing the same thing and you will struggle to compete effectively. The USP can be the most competitive price or added value to the offering, it can be a free gift for the customer or a statement on how easy the product is to use.

Websites must have many things – attractive design, clear messaging, clear navigation, quality content, a call to action but without a USP why should anyone choose your business above another one which is just one click away?

Here are great examples of simple, well-presented USPs:

Square – Set up in minutes – No commitments

WHSmiths – Free Mills and Boon eBook

Toms – With every product your purchase, Toms will help a person in need

And of course, here is our own USP!

Varn – Performance Driven Website Design and Search Engine Optimisation  

Quick To Judge

Visitors browsing for a product or service do not hang around if there is nothing to draw them in specifically. This is the age of choice and every consumer knows it – this is why high street businesses often go under because the same products sold online are cheaper or have extra value attached to the purchase. Once online though – consumers don’t have to work hard to find a handful of websites that sell the same thing and then it’s all up to the USP as the decider as to who wins the business. This is why your USP needs to be obvious, instantly visible and very attractive. Put it on your homepage and the other pages also, as the major draw. The reason you need to put it on all the pages is that if you have many services to offer, a search may bring up a page that is not your homepage first, but one of your service pages.

Gone In 10 Seconds!

According to Jacob Nielson of the research organisation, Nielsen Norman Group: ‘The first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users‘ decision to stay or leave. The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds because users are extremely sceptical, having suffered countless poorly designed web pages in the past.’

Avoid jargon, over explaining, too many superlatives and think ‘sceptical customer!’ You have to give them a good reason to stay on the page.

Imagine a timer ticking down from 10 in seconds – where 0 is the point you stop reading. If from the first instant you are on the website, you cannot absorb the USP in that time frame, then you have failed.

Check Out The Competition

Your competitors will more than likely be shouting about their own USPs so investigate your market and potential business rivals to see what they are offering and if you can do better.

Where To Put Your USP?

Place it in a prominent position above the fold with a short, clear statement. ‘Above the fold’ is a phrase relating to what can be seen when the site first loads – you can check with Google Analytics to the check screen size for visitors.

Make sure once the message is made clear that there is a chance to follow up for more details of the advantages – click through, for instance, to a summary and bullet pointed benefits.

Maybe design the USP in a circle, bubble or ‘splash’ as it is called by designers – a visual pointer highlighting the proposition. If you have a brand logo at the top of the page – why not put the proposition close to this so the association is imprinted visually?

To survive in business it is important to stand out from the crowd and have something a little extra, give something a little extra.

Know what emotions, fears and dreams your customer is driven by and make sure they are inspired by your unique offering.