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When I work with new clients, I send them a creative brief so I can gather the best information for my SEO copywriting project.
And quite often, when I receive the completed brief from my clients, the following scenario unfolds:
Me: “I reviewed your creative brief, and I see that you left your company’s USP section blank.”
Client: “Yes, we need help with that. What’s a USP again?”
Me: “That’s your company’s Unique Selling Proposition — the main, unique reason a customer will choose your company, products or services over other options in your market.”
Client: “Oh… OK. So our USP is that we’ve been around since 1975.” (Or) ” Our USP is that we’re the leading manufacturer of [fill in the blank].”
Me: “Cool! Let’s dig deeper to find something exciting for customers; something that will stop them in their tracks and choose you now.”
Client: “OK, sounds good.”
This is where your genius work as an SEO Copywriter truly begins.
Let me be clear: you’re not just helping the client articulate a single company-wide USP.
For each page of a company’s website, you’re writing “mini USPs” that set each product, service or offer apart from the competition so customers will become excited and make an immediate choice.
I’d guess that about 80% of companies (maybe more!) never consider their USP when writing web content for products, services, free trials, enewsletter sign-ups and other offerings. They just put it out there as a flat statement (“We have this product…”) It seems that way, anyway, when I search for various things in Google.
For instance, if you Google a specific topic on any given day, you’ll probably find that most search result descriptions simply list what they do (“We’re the leading supplier of…”). Or include a list of keywords with no context or inviting sentences. Or say something like, “Save 25%!”
They don’t make an effort to set themselves apart with mini USPs. And therefore, potential customers scan right by them, searching for something special.
I tried this with all kinds of keywords, from “dental equipment” to “party supplies” to “corporate training programs.” Most descriptions in the search results look very similar; it’s hard to tell them apart.
In contrast, Southwest Airlines does a great job of standing apart from other airlines with mini USPs. For example, they offer “Bags fly free” and “No change fee.” I love that about them, plus these are great examples of mini USPs — unique reasons to fly Southwest. And guess what? Southwest shows up first in Google search results for “free bags” and “no change fee.”
To give you some more ideas, here’s a variety of website headlines that articulate mini USPs in customer-friendly ways, using keywords:
• Nest Protect: “Programs Itself. Then Pays for Itself. Meet the Nest Learning Thermostat.”
• ShopKeep: “ShopKeep Point of Sale transforms chores to child’s play, while providing genius reporting and analytics.” (I also like this cheeky line: “Make sure that ‘love’ is the only four-letter word you associate with business.”)
• The Honest Company: “Honest Organic Baby Powder: Extra gentle natural dusting powder with probiotics.”
So, how do you create mini USPs for your SEO copywriting projects?
Here are three simple steps to help your clients help YOU identify mini USPs for each product or service, and then articulate them beautifully (with keywords) through SEO content.
1. Create a mini USP table for the products or services you’ll be writing about.
• Column A lists each product, service or offering (free trial, watch our demo, etc.).
• Column B lists the USP(s): the benefits or attributes that make the product or service better than any other relevant options. There could be 1-5 or even more mini USPs. (Saves more time, easier to use, delivers more robust reports, etc.) You’ll work with your clients to go through each one and confirm that you’ve covered the best possible USPs.
2. Match up the USPs with keywords you’ve discovered during your keyword research.
For instance, if the USP is “this tool is the only one that eliminates manual data entry” — perhaps there’s a keyword for “automated data entry.”
3. Review the list with your client to make sure the keywords accurately reflect the prospect’s intent.
We all know that keywords can have various or ambiguous meanings at times, so this is a good time to do a gut-check: would potential customers truly use these phrases when searching for the products/services your client offers?
That’s it! Now you have a roadmap for creating mini USPs for each page of your SEO copywriting efforts in headlines, bullets, photo captions, page title tags, meta descriptions, calls to action and other strategic locations.
Here’s to your web success!
Pam Foster is a SuccessWorks Certified SEO Copywriter and the owner of ContentClear Marketing and PetCopywriter.com. She works mainly in the highly competitive pet-veterinary industry and enjoys helping her clients drive conversions by creating mini USPs.