Unique Selling Proposition: A Definitive Guide

Why should customers buy from you? How do you stand out and solve their problems better than anybody else? Every marketer knows these are important questions, but finding the answers can be a challenge.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to differentiate your business and attract your ideal customers by creating a unique selling proposition.

We’ll cover why a unique selling proposition is important, how to uncover what your customers are hungry for and share a framework for developing and testing a proposition that makes an impact on your business.

How a unique selling proposition (USP) attracts better customers and builds your brand (and where marketers get it wrong)

A unique selling proposition (USP) can be defined as the element (or series of elements) that communicates what makes you different from your competition. 

For many marketing leaders, answering this question usually means finding a specific feature, component, or methodology that their competitors don’t offer. This leads to brands and startups playing a game of catch up on each other’s features.

But there are other ways to stand out. Take ConvertKit, for example. On the surface, they have similar features to the likes of Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign and iContact. It’s important to note that despite face-value similarities, they are feature-poor compared to the traditional marketing automation space. Despite not competing on classic features, they’re loved by “independent creators and solopreneurs” all over the world:

Screenshot of ConvertKit's home page (value proposition example)Screenshot of ConvertKit's home page (value proposition example)

Why? Because that’s the audience they’ve dedicated to serving, which happens to be a segment of the market that nobody else was directly talking to when they first launched. They developed features with their specific audience in mind. It’s a position that’s helped them build a SaaS brand that generates over $2.3 million in monthly recurring revenue (at time of writing).

Your USP isn’t just a clever copywriting tool. It allows customers to peer in and find out if what you’re offering is for them—and if they should stick around to learn more.

ConvertKit’s strategy is geared around building email marketing tools for independent creators, allowing their customers to build and nurture their own audience. The USP that communicates this is:

“ConvertKit helps you find your audience, turn them into true fans, and earn a living as a creator with our audience building and email marketing software.”

Without a purpose, this USP wouldn’t exist. They could have written it as part of a thought experiment, but it’s an unlikely conclusion to arrive at without a driving mission.

Finding your unique selling proposition will help you attract your ideal customer. It will force you to identify what they struggle with and what they most desire, filling those gaps in a way nobody else can or chooses to.

If you’re worried that this approach will narrow your opportunity, think again. ConvertKit built a multi-million dollar brand in…

Continue reading here

How to Use Storytelling in Business to Build Captivated Audiences

Who. What. When. Where. Why. Answer the proverbial “Five W’s” through storytelling, and you’ll build meaningful connections with your audience. Fail to do so, and you’ll likely lose their attention. 

Not every piece of content needs to tell a story. Applying storytelling in the right place, at the right time, in the right way makes all the difference. 

In this guide, you’ll learn how to apply the art of storytelling in your marketing initiatives to engage and grow your audience, when to use it, and when not to.  We’ll also look at businesses that get it right, and why their strategy is paying off. 

What is storytelling in marketing and how does it help you attract and grow your audience?

Storytelling is information sharing through a contextual narrative. It allows you to take a set of facts and ideas and communicate them to your audience in an engaging way. 

If your story resonates, educates, and informs, you’ll likely build deeper connections.

In 2010, researchers at Princeton University set out to study the brain activity of both speakers and listeners under the pretext that communication is a joint activity. Using fMRI to record brain activity, they found that successful communication leads to the speakers’ and listeners’ brains entering a state of temporarily coupling and mirrored activity. The higher the neural coupling, the more successful the communication.  

A great story literally binds us together. It allows us to share and relate to one another’s experiences, meaning, and perspectives. We can persuade others to see things from a different viewpoint and ultimately influence or change behavior

Speaking to your audience’s needs, intent, goals, and desires throughout the customer journey drives desired action (e.g., traffic, engagement, conversion, sharing).

Take outdoor clothing company Patagonia, for example. They use storytelling to connect with their audience, as demonstrated above the fold on their home page:

Patagonia's Patagonia's

Being a well-known $1 billion company gives them flexibility with their landing page structure. If nobody knew who they were, this vague messaging above the fold wouldn’t work. 

It also demonstrates how important storytelling is to their brand identity and differentiation strategy. They even used this reputation to ask their customers not to buy their jackets in a groundbreaking anti-consumerism ad campaign

Of course, they still want consumers to buy their jacket—but only if they need to, and with the intent of wearing it for a long time. They brilliantly communicated their mission statement (i.e. sustainability) while informing and educating their audience about joining the cause and fighting environmental change.

You can see this message in everything they promote, like this short film “We the Power” about young cooperatives leading a clean-energy revolution:

The narrative of next-generation…

Continue reading here

12 of the Most Common Facebook Ad Mistakes Marketers Must Avoid

In 2020, Facebook announced they had ten million active advertisers using the platform to promote their products and services, a three million increase from the previous year.

To better serve a wider range of businesses using the ad platform, Facebook continues to introduce new features which add to its complexity.

Facebook ad mistakes: cover illustration

Facebook ad mistakes: cover illustration

More complexity can lead to more Facebook ad mistakes that reduce campaign effectiveness. Ultimately, this makes advertisers conclude that Facebook ads aren’t worth their time or are unsuitable for their business — which isn’t true.

Keep reading to learn about some of the most common Facebook ad mistakes to avoid. These might be making you look unprofessional, causing inefficiencies, or slowing growth.

12 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes 

  1. Not Using Clear Objectives
  2. Not Having a Clear Value Proposition
  3. Mismatch in Audience Targeting
  4. Using the Wrong Facebook Ad Type
  5. Running Too Many Ads
  6. Not Using Viral Content
  7. Considering Only the Bottom of Your Sales Funnel
  8. Forgetting to Optimize For All Devices
  9. Not Using Localization
  10. Not Leveraging Social Commerce Strategies
  11. Having a Mismatch in Content Versus Platform
  12. Forgetting the 80/20 Rule

1. Not Using Clear Objectives

A clear, measurable objective is important for any campaign to be successful. Is your advertising goal to:

  • Boost website traffic?
  • Get more leads via a lead magnet landing page?
  • Do a one-off promotion for an instant sales bump of a specific product?

With a clear goal backed by an action plan, you won’t suffer a wasted budget at the end of the campaign.

2. Not Having a Clear Value Proposition

Another oddly common rookie mistake is overlooking your campaign’s value proposition. Your value proposition answers “why” someone should do business with you and not your competitors. Without this, you fail to convey the immediate “aha!” moment, which an ideal, impactful ad does.

For a clear value proposition:

  • Crisply describe the unique benefits or results the user would get from clicking through to your landing page.
  • Use relevant visual images, such as a happy customer using your product.
  • Write concise copy that’s easy to understand.

Split test your ad type, visuals, and copy to understand the best way to get your value proposition across to your audience.

3. Mismatch in Audience Targeting

You can reach an audience of 2.14 billion people with Facebook ads. Having a mismatch can be a waste of resources and potential.

Facebook ad mistakes: percentage of U.S. population over 12 using Facebook

Facebook ad mistakes: percentage of U.S. population over 12 using Facebook

With a mismatch, all your effort in creating the ad is wasted on an audience who has little-to-no interest in what you have to offer.

You can warm up your audience through interesting content like blog posts and infographics, then target them with your product, such as through a free trial or demo. Finally,…

Continue reading here

Top Facebook Updates You Can’t Miss (May 2021 Edition)

We’re at the tail end of May, and we’re moving into beautiful summer weather. And it’s not only beach trips, family holidays, and backyard barbecues to look forward to; we’ve got information on Facebook news and updates, too.

cover illustration

cover illustration

This month, we got news about how Facebook’s ad review process works, information about how safety features have impacted Facebook, new Instagram Insights tools, Live Shopping Fridays, and new API tools for Asian and Pacific Islander businesses.

There’s plenty to look at, so let’s get started.

Facebook Breaks Down its Ad Policy Review Process

We know that Facebook’s system looks at all ads you submit, reviewing them before they run. People have long been confused why ads that seemingly follow the rules are sometimes rejected while obvious scams somehow make it through.

To increase transparency, Facebook just recently broke down how their ad review process works, and it was extremely enlightening.

First, they reminded users that it’s not just the strict advertising policies that apply to Facebook Ads. You also need to check to ensure that each ad complies with branded content policies, commerce policies, event policies, and more (if applicable). You’ve got to be following all of Facebook’s rules in the ad platform.

Facebook Ad policy tree

Facebook Ad policy tree

They also explained that, as many of our users may have noticed, most ads are typically approved within 24 hours. I’ve had ads approved in as little as five minutes, as I’m sure many of our readers have, too.

When an ad is first submitted, they’ll use an automated review that uses machine learning and algorithms to flag potential issues. The approved ad can run, and may be subject to human review later. If the ad is rejected, you can appeal and submit it to human review. They remind users that if an ad is rejected, they can always edit it and resubmit.

Facebook also warns advertisers that in addition to reviewing individual ads, they look at an advertiser’s profile overall.

Have you made attempts to get around the ad review process in the past, or to find loopholes? Are a large number of ads being rejected, or reported by users? Facebook may take action against advertisers who consistently violate their policies, including suspension or banning.

Facebook Reports Efficacy of Platform Safety & Integrity Measures

Over the past few years, many users have  worried about Facebook’s use of their personal data, as well as issues with transparency, hate speech, and misinformation.

While all of these issues are still in play and impacting users, the good news is that Facebook’s updated platform safety and integrity rules are making a positive impact.

In the first quarter of 2021, we saw the following improvements:

  • Violent and graphic content decreased to .03%, down .05% from the…

Continue reading here

How to Increase Facebook Engagement (Free Calculator)

Performance-based marketers typically focus on high-intent interactions coming from Facebook content like clicks and purchases off-platform. It’s a mistake, however, to ignore standard Facebook engagement such as likes, comments, and shares.

cover illustration

cover illustration

Traditional Facebook engagement may not be quite as high intent as other actions, but it’s still inherently valuable. When you increase engagement, several things happen:

    • You gain the power of social proof. All those likes, comments, and shares are visible to everyone else seeing the post or ad, and something like a great deal of Facebook engagement has higher social proof. People instinctively take note of this content. It’s trust-building and attention-grabbing.
    • Facebook’s algorithm pays attention. Facebook’s algorithm factors engagement performance into what content the algorithm prioritizes. People who engage with your content regularly will see it more often, and it can also help others see more of your content in their feed, too.
    • It allows you to gauge how users respond to your messaging. Are you getting love, laugh, or angry reactions? What are the sentiments of the comments? Are people asking questions, or proactively engaging? You can learn a lot from how users are engaging with your content and messaging, and even treat it as a free split testing opportunity.
    • Engagement opens the door for relationship nurturing. When people comment on your posts in particular, there’s a chance to start a conversation that can lead to more long-term relationship building and increased brand loyalty.
    • It can expand your reach. People can share your content, ensuring a decent share of their own friends or followers see it. And sometimes, even having someone comment on a post is enough to help, as some of their friends and followers can see that in their feeds, too.

These are a lot of good reasons why strong, engaged communities on Facebook are beneficial to brands on the platform whether you’re focusing your efforts on organic Page posts, group posts, Facebook Ads, or a mixture of the three.

Let’s take a look at what exactly counts as Facebook engagement and steps you can take to increase engagement on all types of Facebook content.

What does engagement mean on Facebook?

Facebook engagement is often defined as any interaction that users are making on your posts, which can include post clicks, mentions, and private mentions.

When talking about Facebook engagement as a metric, many are specifically talking about the public-facing actions that can act as social proof, such as likes, comments, and shares.

It depends on what you want to measure. Are you factoring social proof into consideration, or any actions that users have taken on your content to try to assess its relevance?

Both the post owner and post viewers can see public-facing engagement readily. They can see the number of likes, shares, and comments, even if some comments are hidden or the exact shares are private and won’t be…

Continue reading here

What Eye Tracking Can Teach Us About Form Optimization and Design

Eye tracking has long been used in the fields of UX and CRO to accurately map where a user’s focus is when navigating a website. There have been many practical conclusions that have come out of this research such as this article published by CXL last year.

However, as form specialists, we wanted to hone in on what eye tracking could tell us about web forms and how to improve their user experience. In this article, we’ll explore some of our biggest takeaways and how they can apply to your own form design. 


Before we dive in, it’s first important to highlight how we came about our research. We partnered with Nudge Insights, a UK based behavioral science consultancy to conduct a study on how users interact with form flows and fields. Using state of the art eye-tracking technology, we got users to make their way through six UK financial forms:

While straight measurement of time spent completing each field is a valid measure (and one supported by most form analytics tools), we wanted to take advantage of the technology to track specific eye-based metrics, namely:

  • Fixations – A fixation is essentially when the eye settles and focuses on a particular part of the form (remaining stable for a minimum of 60 milliseconds), indicating attention.
  • Saccades – A Saccade is the rapid eye movement between two fixation points.

When pieced together fixations and saccades make up a scanpath.

The findings and conclusions in this article are all based on the assumption that the smoother the scanpath (i.e. the lower the fixation count / duration), the better the form experience for the user. 

High fixation counts and durations at a particular point in a form indicates that the user had more difficulty in completing the field or section.

Example of high fixation points presented throughout this formExample of high fixation points presented throughout this formAn example heatmap output from the eye tracking study

Six Key Findings

As noted above, these conclusions are predicated on the assumption that guiding your user quickly and efficiently through the form is good. Distractions, delays and confusion are bad. Here are our takeaways. 

1. Use Text Fill rather than Dropdowns for Date of Birth

Previous research has shown that dropdown menus provide a poor user experience in forms. These studies have used time or click based methodology to demonstrate how dropdowns create greater friction than a text or radio based interface. Our research reinforced these conclusions based on eye tracking evidence.

As part of the study, Nudge Insights looked specifically at the date of birth field on each of the forms. It’s generally thought that formatting the DOB field should be relatively straightforward—it only requires the day, month and year to be input. Although there are various ways of structuring this field, most forms settle on text fill, drop down or some combination of these elements.

The below…

Continue reading here