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The “Duh” Moment of Figuring Out Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

I’ve had plans for a while to really turn the ship that is The Beige House (my lifestyle and home decor) blog around this year, and I’ve finally moved enough things around to the point that I can officially sit down and treat it like a business. That means, of course, creating a marketing plan for it (which you all know is my jam).

Have you ever felt like you could teach someone something and have them execute it flawlessly, but when it comes to acting on it yourself, you feel like you’re lost at sea? I totally felt that when I actually sat down and decided to work out my Stop Sucking at Marketing workbook for Beige House. 

If you’re unfamiliar, the workbook is a guide I created for Stop Sucking at Marketing which goes through the essentials of a well-defined marketing plan: who is your audience, what sets you apart, and how can you show what’s in it for them to follow your business instead of someone else's? 

The last part is always the toughest: figuring out your Unique Selling Proposition or USP.

It’s the one thing that is unique to you and your business and is the foothold you’ll use to drive market shares to your business. But it is DIFFICULT to figure out.

To go back to my example, Beige House is a lifestyle and DIY home decor blog…in a market of millions of bloggers who do the exact same thing. What’s there that makes me so special, that someone should be on my blog instead of someone else’s, especially when my blog is less established, doesn’t have as many posts, they have better photography, etc. 

It’s a hard question to ask, right? What makes you so special? What’s in it for me to listen to what you have to say? Some days, it feels like you’re not unique at all, right? Not a great feeling.

Here’s a trick I’ve learned, though, and have used to figure out what my USP is:

What is it you hate to talk about when someone asks what you do? What is that thing that makes you so uncomfortable to mention because you feel like there’s a chance to be judged by it?

Boom. You’ve just figured out your Unique Selling Proposition.

For me and Beige House, I sat a little while with my thoughts and tried to remember how I would speak to other bloggers at conferences about my blog and what it is I do. What is the part I felt like I should leave out? What was my “that’s kinda weird” thing?

You know what it was for me?

I hate shiplap. Okay, maybe not hate it, but shiplap and farmhouse decor are totally not my style. My Mom was all about that (and still is) so I grew up completely saturated in shabby chic style furniture and decor. 

Instead, I would love to live in the abandoned warehouse loft from Wayne’s World 2.

The “Duh” Moment of Figuring Out Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
I can't find a good interior shot, so here's Cassandra's loft instead.

I love the idea of huge, poorly insulated windows, rod iron pipes, and giant, overstuffed furniture. And I am an Industrial Decor enthusiast through and through. My house is full of jewel tone paint colors and deep, rich fabrics. I don’t want a house that’s blindingly white (how do you even keep it clean?), I want a house where snuggling into a chair with a blanket and a cup of coffee is a requirement. 

But I never wanted to admit that, because it’s not as popular as farmhouse/shabby chic/french country decor. I was a freak amongst the home bloggers and I knew it. (Also, the lack of blonde hair and my visible tattoos are a little off-putting to them) So I would hide that part and speak in vagueries. 

There it was, my Unique Selling Proposition. I knew if I want to succeed, I’m going to have to go to full-in on my different aesthetic…

Wait, let me stop for a second to clarify: For the record, I know Industrial Decor isn’t something I’ve invented, I don’t mean it that way. I mean in terms of popular blogs and social media accounts, Fixer Upper-style has been the shiplapped wall I’ve had to bang up against. 

Okay, back to it. I now know that I need to lean into my own style and promote it instead of trying to fit in. To make Beige House successful, I have to own up to what it is that makes me different and use it as a positive and not an insecurity. And that’s what you have to do, too.

What makes you fidgety to explain about your brand? What do you think would make you uncomfortable to mention when someone asks what you do? You’ve got to come to terms with it and embrace it as the one awesome aspect that sets you apart because that’s where the success comes from.

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