Your value proposition is a statement of what benefits your business has to offer and why customers should pick your unique solution over your competitors’.
A value proposition isn’t the same as a brand slogan or catchphrase – it’s more important.
It’s more of a focused, specific promise of how your business’ product or service will solve a consumer’s problem.
It should be bold, easily understood, and prominently displayed on your business’ website and marketing materials.
After reading a company’s value proposition, you should know the specific benefits you’ll receive as a consumer, how their product or service will fix a certain existing problem in your life, and why you should choose their company for those solutions and benefits over anyone else.
Tips for Creating an Awesome Value Proposition
The first step is to ask yourself this: what does your business do better than anyone else?
The answer to that is the key to your value proposition.
The next step is finding the right combination of words to communicate that value proposition to your customers.
The focus of your value proposition is not necessarily the product or service you offer, but how the product or service helps improve your customer’s life.
Take some time for a brainstorming session and consider the problem(s) your business solves you’re your product or service. When you identify the exact problem your business solves, you’ll be able to better explain how your breakthrough solution works to fix the problem – thus making a better value proposition.
Define the type of problem your solution fixes by addressing the 4Us:
- An Unworkable Problem – Is there a broken business process that’s producing real, measurable consequences as the problem stays unsolved? Is someone’s job at risk of not being able to figure out the answer to the problem?
- An Unavoidable Problem – Are government regulations and requirements swamping businesses in red tape? Are they forcing a problem that will inevitably need a solution?
- An Urgent Problem – Is there a time-sensitive, priority problem in a company you can solve?
- An Underserved Problem – Is there a problem that severely lacks complementary solutions? Take up residence in that whitespace and provide your solution.
Consider your problem further by asking if it’s Blac and White – blatant, latent, aspiration, critical, and does it fill a white space in the market where a solution did not previously exist, allowing you to take the whole opportunity?
When it comes to corporations or other businesses (B2B), they’ll be more concerned with blatant and critical problems – immediate, obvious concerns that stand in the way of productivity and threaten jobs. On the other hand, solutions to latent and aspirational problems are more easily sold to general customers (B2C) rather than other businesses.
It takes a little more digging to address problems that aren’t widely acknowledged or just seem like pipe dreams to someday be fixed. They can be eye-catching and revealing solutions, but businesses won’t be interested in them until their immediate concerns are taken care of.
Keep all that in mind when you’re considering who your customer is. It’ll help you find the language that’ll work best when marketing to them.
Tips for Communicating Your Awesome Value Proposition
A completed value proposition is usually a bold headline of one sentence or phrase. This is followed by a sub-headline further detailing the value promise to the consumer and why their product or service is the best choice. The sub-heading will usually be a few sentences followed by bullet points of the top benefits and features.
Make it an obvious part of your company. It should be one of the first things someone sees upon loading your website, and should probably appear in other parts of your website too – perhaps on the About Us page or similar strategic locations.
Once you’ve identified the problem your solution fixes and in what way it performs better than your competition, you need to put those ideas together into an informative, memorable one-liner to create your value proposition.
Use the Voice of the Customer
One of the best ways to put out a relatable value proposition is by writing it in the customer’s voice.
Pay attention to the words and phrases your customer uses when talking about the problem your product or service helps with, and how they word what they’d like in a solution.
Go out and actually ask your current customers what they like about your product or service.
Ask how they use it to solve problems and how it improves their quality of life. Ask what they think of your company, or how they would describe your company to others – would they recommend it?
Ask why they picked your brand over other available brands that have similar solutions to similar problems. Use this information to improve your message, solution, and value proposition for future customers.
Pay attention to the language they use and craft a value proposition in the same level of language that reflects their words back at them as if they were talking to their peers.
They should be able to see themselves in your language – that way, you can use their language to shape their perspective on your product or service.
Be Clear and Make Sense
Clarity is crucial when it comes to making a value proposition.
Coming up with a clear proposition can be more difficult than it sounds. Because a value proposition is fairly short at 2 to 3 sentences max, every word included needs to matter and add some kind of extra meaning or clarity to your proposition. Just as in poetry and short fiction, every word in your value proposition counts.
Remember, you should double-check that your value proposition drafts answer these questions: What’s your product or service? Who should buy it? How will it improve my life? Why should I buy from you and not someone else? When will the value be delivered?
Sit down and brainstorm a list of sentences (and sub-heading descriptions) you think might work out for your company and consider running five-second tests on them.
Five-second tests are used to see if a web page or design is accurately communicating its intended message. Viewers look at the design for five seconds and then asked about the impressions they received from the design during the short period of time.
Some of the questions asked are: What is the purpose of the page? What are the main elements? Who’s the intended audience? Does the brand seem trustworthy? What did you think of the design? And so on.
Five seconds is all it takes for us to make a first impression, so subjecting value propositions to this test is a good way to see if they’re effective at catching consumers’ attention.
Stay Away from Hype and Focus on Honest Benefits
We’re at the point where no one’s going to believe you if you call yourself the world’s best anything. It’s an empty exaggeration and doesn’t tell your customers anything real about your product or service. That’s the exact kind of hype you want to avoid in your value proposition.
Instead, you should focus on the real, concrete benefits customers will receive from buying your product or service. If you keep your language genuine, you’ll build trust among your customers.
Customer vs. Employee Value Propositions
What we’ve mostly been talking about here are customer value propositions, or why a customer would choose you over your competitors.
There’s also such a thing as an employee value proposition or the reasons why staff would come work for you over their other options and help support your customer value proposition.
In an employee value proposition, you’d explain why people would want to work for you – what rewards and benefits do employees receive for investing their talents into your company? How will you and the employees serve each other in your business relationship? It’s meant to explain your company values and why they’re worth an employee’s time and commitment.
Go Perfect Your Value Proposition
Once you have a value proposition you’ll want to make sure your business does its best to uphold the promises you made in the statement.
It’s a core component of your business, so you want it to be genuine – something customers can actually rely on you and your brand to come through for.
Be sure to always look forward and maintain the standards of value you promise while also seeking to improve your products and services.
For an informative summary of value propositions and how to make your own, see this handy infographic.