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More than ever, small businesses are having difficulties differentiating themselves from their competitors, especially from those who operate online. With so many businesses competing for online market share, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd.
And while as a small online store owner, you might want to please everyone, you simply can’t. Like every business, you’ll have to define your target audience and, most importantly, convey your brand’s unique position to attract your ideal customer.
So how can smaller online stores capture the attention of their target audience and increase revenue?
By opting to craft three core brand storytelling elements:
- A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- A Value Proposition
- A Brand Story
Have you ever heard of these terms? No? Well, that’s why we’re here!
In this post, we’ll highlight the value of writing a unique selling proposition (USP), a value proposition, and a brand story to effectively target your audience while differentiating your store.
We’ll also share 3 simple ways to highlight these on your current Shopify store.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition?
A unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement that conveys a specific product benefit or a feature that sets a brand apart from its competitors. In short, it simply explains what makes your business unique.
Generally, this proposition is a simple statement found directly above the fold of a website. It’s simple and sweet, calling attention to the reason your store and brand is different from competitors in the market.
What is a Value Proposition?
Although this term might sound similar to a USP, it’s important to understand the difference.
While a unique selling proposition sets your business apart from the market, a value proposition determines the benefits and outcomes a consumer experiences by using your product or service.
A value proposition is usually more detailed, focusing on the key benefits of your store or product.
What is a Brand Story?
A brand story is a cohesive narrative that evokes emotion. This can be anything like a brand’s purpose, mission, values, identity, vision, and so much more.
The purpose of any brand story is to connect with your ideal customer and offer a more memorable experience.
This story is most commonly shared on the “about us” or “core values” pages but can easily be teased on the home page and sprinkled throughout your site’s copy.
Where Should I Add These Propositions?
Once you’ve taken the time to flush these out thoroughly, you’ll want to transfer them to your store to help target your ideal audience.
While there are several ways this can be done, we’ll be focusing on 3 different homepage sections to feature these statements. These are:
- Above the fold: Typically used to feature a unique selling proposition.
- Below the fold: Typically used to feature a value proposition.
- “About Us” Banner: Typically used to direct visitors to your brand story.
Above the Fold
When shoppers first land on your site, you’ll want to immediately inform them on how your business is different from your competitors. Adding your unique selling proposition (USP) above the fold is the best way to do this. This is the section of the website that is visible to the user without needing to scroll.
As you’ll see with our examples from Ernest Leoty and The Cravory below, each brand conveys its unique advantage in a few simple sentences.
Ernest Leoty is known for technical activewear that combines both luxury fashion and traditional French tailoring, which is highlighted above in their USP.
The Cravory is known for its handcrafted cookies and monthly flavor combinations, both of which are highlighted in its USP above.
Below The Fold
As shoppers continue to scroll and navigate your home page, they’ll want to learn more about the benefits or outcomes of using your product or service. Any content that requires scrolling past the above the fold section is commonly referred to as below the fold.
Although value propositions are usually more lengthy than a USP, they can also be broken down into sections or bullet points for an easier read.
For example, Walker Paws adds its value propositions directly below the fold on the homepage, highlighting 3 benefits of its dog leggings:
- Protects dog’s paws from germs and dirt
- Offers a customizable fit for every dog
- Solves the lost boot conundrum
Alternatively, value propositions can be displayed in separate benefits further down on the home page, like in these examples from Thinx and YULIP Beauty.
“About Us” Banner
Although this banner doesn’t necessarily include your unique selling proposition or value proposition, it can help differentiate your store by linking to your brand story. Not only is your brand story unique on its own, but it will help you connect with your ideal customer and increase brand loyalty.
Gone are the days when customers only cared about products. Consumers are actively searching for brands that have meaningful stories they can connect with.
The banner section can also be used to link to your core values or mission statement, as seen below in YoRo Naturals’ example.
Meanwhile, the Simple Rug highlights the brand’s values of tradition, comfort, and family while linking to the store’s about us page.
Stop Undervaluing Your Store’s Copy
It’s important to recognize the value of brand storytelling and copywriting. Like design and development, copywriting is crucial to connecting with your ideal customer and developing brand loyalty.
With a carefully crafted unique selling proposition, value proposition, and brand story, you’ll effectively control the type of consumer you attract, and in turn, help increase your store’s conversion and revenue.
This is a guest post contribution by Laura Dolgy. Laura is the founder of Dolgify, a women-led Shopify agency specializing in brand storytelling, development, and content marketing. Laura has helped a number of small to mid-sized businesses build stores and stories consumers want to believe in.