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What is Your Unique Selling Proposition? You're Leaving Money on the Table if You Don't Have One...

Aug 17, 2007
If you've done any freelance work in marketing, you may be familiar with the phrase "unique selling proposition" (commonly known as the "USP").

The USP tells your prospect what differentiates your product from everyone else's in your category. And it's the single most important reason your prospect will buy from you...or from someone else.

But did you know that you, as a freelancer, are a "product" too...and that you need a USP to differentiate you from all of the other business freelancers working in your field? The most successful copywriters can say why they're the best writer for the job. Can you?

There are many ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. I trade on my agency experience and "big name" clients. When I help my coaching students discover their Unique Selling Proposition, we start with a review of their experience and successes.

We are positioning one of my students as a "problem solver," because he's taken start-up companies to great success as a software salesman. Another student is positioned as "the headline Doctor" because she feels she is exceptional at writing headlines. She offers potential clients a free headline critique of their marketing materials, valued at $300.

Even if you think you have nothing in your background that will position you as special or unique, you're almost certainly wrong. One of my students is entering copywriting after spending a lifetime in anthropology. "How can I possibly find anything in anthropology that a marketer would value?" she asked. "Tell me about anthropology I replied."

After a 10-minute discussion she mentioned that there are seven motivators that are common to all people in all cultures. "Could a product or service have any kind of connection to any of these motivators?" I asked. And we brainstormed common products and services that are commonly sold via direct mail, ads, or ecommerce.

It turned out that there was a link to the seven motivators for every product or service, which allowed us to say that my student had a deeper level of empathy for people (and prospects), than most copywriters. And since the ability to convey empathy is so critical to the success of a marketing piece, then a client would be well served by using her copywriting services over someone else's.

My student went on to create a free report to give to potential clients, entitled "The Amazing Link Between Anthropology and Direct Marketing that Can Really Increase Your Profits." We also created an "Empathy Scale" so she could offer to measure the "empathy level" of a client's past mailing.

So think for a moment. What would you say if a potential client asked "Why you?" If you don't have a quick answer, then it's time to create your own powerful USP.
About the Author
Award-winning copywriter Chris Marlow publishes a free newsletter for freelancers who want to build a successful business. Visit:


Chris also shows business freelancers how to quickly build a successful business.Visit:


PO Box 1134, Palm Desert, CA, 92261
P: 760-340-2045
chris@chrismarlow.com

Chris Marlow, all rights reserved
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