Lesson 7: Developing Your Value Proposition (Preview)

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What exactly is a value proposition?

A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you.

In a nutshell, value proposition is a clear statement that

  • explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
  • delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
  • tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).

You have to present your value proposition as the first thing the visitors see on your home page but should be visible in all major entry points of the site.

 

Use the right language

Your value proposition needs to be in the language of the customer. It should join the conversation that is already going on in the customer’s mind. In order to do that you need to know the language your customers use to describe your offering and how they benefit from it.

You cannot guess what that language is. The way YOU speak about your services is often very different from how your customers describe it . The answers are outside of your office. You have to interview your customers to find it out, or use social media.

  • It’s not a slogan or a catch phrase.

What the value proposition consists of

There is no one right way to go about it, but I suggest you start with the following formula:

  • Headline. What is the end-benefit you’re offering, in 1 short sentence. Can mention the product and/or the customer. Attention grabber.
  • Sub-headline or a 2-3 sentence paragraph. A specific explanation of what you do/offer, for whom and why is it useful.
  • 3 bullet points. List the key benefits or features.
  • Visual. Images communicate much faster than words. Show the product, the hero shot or an image reinforcing your main message.

Evaluate your current value proposition by checking whether it answers the questions below:

  • What product or service is your company selling?
  • What is the end-benefit of using it?
  • Who is your target customer for this product or service?
  • What makes your offering unique and different?
  • Use the headline-paragraph-bullets-visual formula to structure the answers.

How to create a winning value proposition?

The best value proposition is clear: what is it, for whom and how is it useful? If those questions are answered, you’re on the right path. Always strive for clarity first.

If your value proposition makes people go “hmph?”, you’re doing it wrong. If they have to read a lot of text to understand your offering, you’re doing it wrong. Yes, sufficient amount of information is crucial for conversions, but you need to draw them in with a clear, compelling value proposition first.

What makes a good value proposition:

  • Clarity! It’s easy to understand.
  • It communicates the concrete results a customer will get from purchasing and using your products and/or services.
  • It says how it’s different or better than the competitor’s offer.
  • It avoids hype (like ‘never seen before amazing miracle product’), superlatives (‘best’) and business jargon (‘value-added interactions’).
  • It can be read and understood in about 5 seconds.

Also, in most cases there is a difference between the value proposition for your company and your product. You must address both.

Here’s a value proposition worksheet

Presentation of your value proposition matters

Boosters for your value proposition

Sometimes it’s the little things that tip the decision in your favor. If all major things are pretty much the same between your and your competitors’ offer, you can win by offering small value-adds. I call them boosters.

These things work well against competitors who do not offer them. Boosters can be things like

  • Free shipping
  • Fast shipping / Next day shipping
  • Free bonus with a purchase
  • Free setup / installation
  • No setup fee
  • No long-term contract, cancel any time
  • License for multiple computers (vs 1)
  • (Better than) Money-back guarantee
  • A discounted price (for a product)
  • Customizable

You get the idea. Think what small things you could add that wouldn’t cost you much, but could be attractive to some buyers.

Make sure the booster is visible with the rest of the value proposition.

Example

Notice the “free shipping” signs on the left and top right? Those are boosters.

Good value proposition examples

It’s tough to find perfect value proposition examples. Probably because it’s hard to create a great one. I find flaws or room for improvement with most value propositions I came across.I’m also fully aware that I’m not the ideal customer for many of the examples shown below, and all my critique is, is an educated hypothesis (that should be tested).

Here are some good examples along with my comments:

CampaignMonitor

Comments

  • Very clear what it is and for whom
  • Specific lead paragraph
  • Key features outlined above the fold
  • A relevant image
  • Features a booster – “100% rebrandable”

Stripe

Comments

  • It’s clear what it is and for whom
  • Specific benefit oriented sub-headline
  • Relevant visuals
  • Smooth transition into features and benefits

Geekdom

Comments

  • Clear statement about what it is and for whom
  • List of benefits
  • Relevant image

Evernote

Comments

  • A different kind of layout, but well done. It tells a story of ‘what’ and ‘how’ . Easy to follow.
  • Key features / benefits listed along with relevant imagery
  • ‘Remember everything’ is a good slogan, but I’d add a specific sub-headline underneath it for improved clarity.

Square

Comments

  • Very clear headline
  • Benefit and action oriented sub-headline
  • Key benefits clearly listed
  • Relevant image
  • Missing: comparison with the competition

Meetingburner

Comments

  • The headline is very clear
  • The text paragraph is decent, but shouldn’t start with a call to action
  • Comparison with the competition done (5x faster, free, mention of unique features)
  • I would definitely list the key benefits / features in bullets for improved readability

Prey

Comments

  • The headline does communicate an emotional benefit, but its not clear enough and should be better. It’s the first thing people read. Clarity would get an instant boost if the headline would be something like “Keep track of your laptop, phone or tablet. Get it back when it gets stolen or lost. “
  • The following paragraph does a good job explaining what it is.
  • I would use an actual screenshot of the product to better demonstrate what it does.
  • It uses boosters like social media proof and respected logos.

Pay per click advertising

A fast and cheap way to go about it is using Google AdWords or Facebook ads.

Basically you would split test ads with different value propositions, targeting the same customer. The ad with higher CTR (clickthrough rate) is obviously a better attention grabber and interest generator, although it doesn’t necessarily mean higher sales conversions.

Send the traffic to a corresponding landing page and test conversions too.

Conclusion

You need to have a value proposition and you need to communicate it clearly on all the main entry pages: home page, product pages, category pages. If you don’t state why users should buy from you, you will lose most of them.

Back to: Heart and Soul Marketing Mastery Program

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