I’ve written a lot, taught a lot, coached a lot on the subject of USP or Unique Selling Proposition. While most of our Worldwide Salon Marketing Members ‘get’ the reasoning behind all the Emotional Direct Response salon marketing ads, flyers, letters and other material in the Simple Salon Marketing manual, very few owners of salons & spas even attempt to understand the importance of having a truly unique message for their prospects and customers, and it’s effect on your salon’s income.
In 1961, famous American advertising executive Rosser Reeves introduced the idea of USP in his book Reality in Advertising.
According to Reeves, there are three requirements for a USP:
1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Each must say, “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.” (Your headline must contain a benefit – a promise to the reader.)
2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. Here’s where the “unique” in Unique Selling Proposition comes in. It is not enough merely to offer a benefit. You must also differentiate your product.
3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the masses, i.e., pull over new customers to your product or service. The differentiation cannot be trivial. It must be a difference that is very important to the reader. (What Reeves was talking about here was making a BIG promise. But not necessarily an expensive one.)
By contrast, so much beauty industry marketing, particularly among average ‘corner store’ hair and beauty salons, is so timid that it disappears, becomes invisible. “Come to us and we’ll make you look much better…” Vague, wishy-washy nonsense.) Now, big companies spend millions, billions of dollars building a strong brand.
There are lots of soft drink manufacturers, many of whom sell a ‘cola’ product. But you can only buy Coke from Coca Cola. Unfortunately, YOU don’t have the kind of money Coca Cola has to build a ‘brand’. So we use ‘guerilla marketing’ methods to achieve differentiation in a USP. One of the best methods I know to create a strong USP is when your product or service has a unique feature, one that competitors can’t boast about. Of course, if you have that advantage, it all becomes pretty easy. Okay, I hear you thinking,
“But what if I’m just an average salon doing pretty much the same kind of stuff as the competition?”
According to Reeves – and I agree – uniqueness can either come from a strong brand (an option 95% of salons can’t use) or from a claim not otherwise made in that particular form of advertising.
And that’s what you should be doing in your salon.
In other words, saying something about your business or service that others could be saying, but aren’t!
It’s called Making the Invisible Visible.
Here’s an example of that process in action: