The Emotionally Unique Selling Proposition

In my work with Terry Dean on The Total Conversion Code (anticipated launch date shortly after Valentines), I believe I’ve come to an important conclusion: the quintessential marketing insight is the “Emotionally Unique Selling Proposition”, or your E-USP.

Follow my logic for a moment please.

The Unique Selling Proposition (a term first coined, if I’m not mistaken, by Rosser Reeves), is the reason your prospect should do business with you as compared to every other option in the market. (For example “Guaranteed First Page Video Rankings for the Keywords of Your Choice on Google” or “Double Your Visitor Value or Double Your Money Back”)

Given this definition, it follows a USP should be built upon the strongest “point of difference” benefit you can offer your market (as compared to the “price of entry” benefits every other vendor provides just to get into the running).

Which is why my research methods have always been centered around finding points of difference.

But to truly leverage your USP, you need to know the emotional environment it operates within… what human needs does your real point of difference fulfill?  What heartstrings does it tug on?

And you need to know THAT because you’re going to have to support your USP with a full set of advertising materials.  That starts with a full sales presentation of course (whether in long copy, short copy, video, etc), but extends to every word you communicate, every image you select, every person you choose to represent your company… everything about your “brand”.

(Please don’t shoot me for mentioning “brand”… brands actually DO matter online for direct response marketers… and they’re nothing more than a consistent set of expected benefits and features associated with your company due to repeated presentation)

For example, “Double Your Visitor Value or Double Your Money Back” is a VERY  unique point of difference.  And I know it captures the serious attention of anyone with a web business.

But you can’t maximize the value of that USP without knowing the EMOTIONAL REASON WHY the market desires it.  Without knowing WHY, we can’t “fortify our position” with message after message, video after video, word after word, etc.

And there could be DOZENS of reasons .

On the surface, people want to double their visitor value so they can afford to buy more advertising and grow their business.  Duh. (As an important side note… you only THINK you’ve got a traffic problem, you really have a CONVERSION problem… which you’ll realize as soon as you’ve got an extremely high converting offer and can suddenly afford to pay outrageous bounties/commissions for traffic )

Buy why does this particular market want to grow their business?  Is it for Power?  Control?  Safety?  A Sense of Accomplishment?   Independence?  Financial Security?  Adventure?  To Feel Intelligent?  To Take a Leadership Role?

I’m sure you can envision vastly different advertising messages dependent upon which emotional end benefit this particular USP was associated with.

If it were for Power, I’d highlight the ability to “make deals happen” at will, and at-your-fingers paid traffic available for the taking…

If Safety was the prime emotional mover, I’d talk about how a high visitor value site makes you immune to “Slaps”, or even the disappearance of any media, because you can afford to test and optimize multiple channels (and I’d agitate the pain of business after business failing because they didn’t diversify their lead acquisition methods)

If it were for a Sense of Accomplishment, I’d tell stories which illustrated there was “nothing like the feeling of building something from the ground up” and seeing the fruits of your labor come to fruition in a real business, helping real people…

If it were for Financial Security, I’d talk about families which had to put their loved ones in shoddy nursing homes, or couldn’t afford to pay for their children’s college (with all the negative implications of same), simply because the bread winner couldn’t ever quite figure out how to turn visitors into dollars at a good enough rate.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I guess what I’m saying is, a USP is infinitely more powerful when you can isolate the Emotional context in which it operates.  And your Emotionally Unique Selling Proposition is the whole package… it’s something nice you help your prospect to say or feel about themselves because of a powerful benefit your company offers which no other competitor can match.

For example you, (Mr. or Ms. prospect) will feel more powerful when you double your visitor value, and you can feel confident about this because if you don’t, I’ll give you double your money back.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the E-USP… a critical insight for you as a marketer.  But it’s NOT how you would present it to the prospect.  99% of the time, when it comes to delivering emotional benefits, you want to SHOW the prospect via stories, analogies, and metaphors… NOT telling them directly, because that interferes with their need to feel like a smart shopper.  (Sharon and I call this “Rational Purchasing Consciousness” and it’s the emotional marketer’s worst enemy)

How do you figure out the emotional component of your USP?

Well, first, it goes without saying that you’ve gotta have a USP!  (You DO have one, right?  If not, get thy behind into my club and learn how to identify point of difference gaps in your market!)

Once you know your point of difference, you need to talk to your prospects and customers, and use the “ladder” exercise to find out which of these 37 emotional benefits it’s connected with.   Sharon and I did two MP3s you can download (Self Esteem & Purchase Behavior Part One | Self Esteem & Purchase Behavior Part Two) to demonstrate this technique.  NOTE: these interviews are  several years old, so the audio quality isn’t great, but they’re EXTREMELY powerful and you’ll be able to hear every word if you listen closely.

There’s more material on emotional marketing in the club, and Terry and I are really going to town on this in the Total Conversion Code because emotion is  what bridges my ultimate research methods and Terry’s superior copywriting/conversion system.

Last thing… did you know most all my previous audios are available on iTunes as a FREE podcast subscription?

Onwards and upwards,

Dr. G 🙂

PS – Henry Ford once said “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” The older I get, the more truth I see in this, and the more I treasure the insights I’ve gleaned from others.   So please SHARE below!