Your PPC Needs a USP

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is a critical component of your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy. It needs to be clear, truthful, and unique. 

To determine your USP, ask yourself:

  • What is special about your company? 
  • Why should someone buy from you?
  • What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
  • Are your prices or services competitive?

All these things boil down to your USP. Offering “great service at a great price” doesn’t qualify as a USP. If everyone says it, the phrase fails the “unique” test.

If you can’t answer the questions quickly and clearly, without resorting to trite phrases, then you need to focus on figuring it out. If you don’t know why someone should buy from you, how does anyone else?

Your PPC program will not succeed without a clearly-defined USP. Actually, the effectiveness of your entire marketing strategy — not just your PPC program — relies on it. 

From a PPC advertising standpoint, a USP will help you stand out from competitors in your ad space. If everyone is offering the same thing in their ads, your USP acts as a hook to attract attention, communicating your value to potential customers. 

In addition, your landing page needs to echo your USP. Cohesive messaging will help increase conversion rates.

USP Case in Point 

I once worked with a brand new company that offered a service via the Internet. It was similar to several other offerings out there, some of which were available for free. 

The first sign of trouble appeared when they could not answer the most basic USP question: “Why should someone buy from you?”

Without a USP, we didn’t have a lot to work with when writing the ads. Despite this, we managed to drive a decent clickthrough rate for the competitive space they were in.

But no one purchased their service. 

A few people signed up for a free trial, but not as many as desired. And even those who did sign on did not stay to purchase the full service.

The company’s website was nice looking, but it didn’t have much content to explain the value of the offering to the consumer. They assured me that they were working on more web content. 

More importantly, they assured me that they had done competitive research to ensure that their prices were in line with the industry. 

To get to the bottom of the issue, I conducted my own competitive research. Not only were they not competitively priced, their service cost almost $10 more per month than the competition, while offering fewer features. Interestingly, they seemed shocked that it should actually matter. 

With no USP and a higher price point, they didn’t stay a client — or in business — very long.

One of the most important things you can do for your business is to have a clearly defined USP. Make sure that it’s reflected on your website — especially on your PPC landing pages — and that you can quickly and clearly share it if someone asks. 

Be honest with yourself.

If your USP is not simple, clear, and truly unique, you’ll likely have trouble with much more than your PPC program.

Note: This post was originally written June 18, 2008, and was substantially updated June 30, 2020.

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