Conveying to prospective customers what you do and why they should buy from you is not easy. Even the best marketers struggle with it.
But, when successful, it can bring more of the right customers.
Getting customers to buy from you is about creating an effective value proposition. This is the statement that tells the world who you are, what you do, and why your target market should buy from you and not a competitor.
Here, we are going to go through an overview of a value proposition and how to create an effective one.
What is a Value Proposition?
A value proposition is the reason a prospective customer should buy from you and not your competitors. It is a statement of promise for what your product or service will deliver to your customer in exchange for payment.
It is a concise, yet detailed statement that conveys exactly what you do, and the value that a customer will receive from using your product. It should also contain why the prospective customer should choose you and not a competitor.
Something important to note is that a it’s not a tagline or slogan. These are two different statements. They are used for two different purposes. And each has a time, place, and a benefit.
Creating a value proposition is difficult and should not be thought of as easy. Below, we will attempt to discuss some concepts that will make it easier to understand and create an effective value proposition.
Key Elements of a Good Value Proposition
The first area we should take a look at is what elements make up a great value proposition. The goal is to avoid the trap of “blandvertising”. We want a specific statement that clearly says what we do and the benefits to the customer.
Thus, there are four key elements to a good value proposition. It needs to be specific, identify the customers problem, provide the solution, and convey your company’s specific benefits. Below is a short overview of each of these four elements.
Everything about a value proposition needs to be specific. It needs to target a specific problem. It needs to address that problem directly. Keep the focus and the language of the value proposition on point.
Identify the Problem
Your value proposition should clearly state the problem that the product is looking to address. This conveys to the prospective customer you understand their problem. Then, you let them know how you will solve it.
Convey the Solution
Your value proposition should clearly state your solution to the identified problem. This is what your product will do for the customer. It needs to be specific. It is critical you convey exactly what it is that you do.
Convey Your Benefits
The final characteristic that should be addressed is describing why your product is better than the competition. This is why a prospective customer should choose you over someone else. This describes the specific benefits of using your product.
These are all key elements, and good characteristics, of a good value proposition. The challenge becomes taking all four elements and putting them into a concise statement that is easily understandable. But, we will help with that in the next section of structuring your value proposition.
Structure of a Value Proposition
Fitting in all the elements above can be difficult. It is much easier to have a structure that we can use to create an effective value proposition. Which is exactly what we will provide. A template that you can easily work with.
There are certain structural elements that are required. Then there are others that are optional. Below, we layout each of the structural elements and let you know if the structural elements are required or optional.
The first structural element should always be a headline. This is the bold statement that attracts the prospect. It should ideally consist of one-line of text.
The headline is a required element of the value proposition.
The next structural element is a sub-headline. This should consist of 2-4 sentences detailing the value your product provides. This is where you have some room to be creative and really speak to your prospective customers.
The sub-headline is a required element of your value proposition.
Another structural element that is common is bullet points. This provides clear statements of benefit to the prospective customer.
Bullet points are an optional element that depends on your business and particular case.
A final line is a short statement after the other elements of your value proposition. This can be anywhere from 2-5 words. It’s a closing statement. Often, it’s to mention your product or brand by name.
This is an optional structural element and it depends on your use case.
The next element of the value proposition structure is an image. Images can be a compelling addition to the representation of your value. And, with the most prominent display of your value proposition on your website, an image makes a huge impact to visitors.
An image is an optional element to add to your value proposition. This can be a photograph or a graphic. Your brand will depend on whether you use an image.
How it Looks
The structure above is simple to follow and can create an effective way create a value proposition when some guidance is needed. But, we will want to take a look at the finished structure.
The structure should ultimately look like the following.
And with the home page of a website being the best representation of value propositions, it should look like the “above the fold” section of the home page below.
These are the core elements of a value proposition. The structure is an important consideration, seeing as we want our statement to be easily digestible by prospective clients. Follow this structure and you will be well on your way to creating a statement that effectively conveys your value.
Value Proposition Words and Phrases
Understanding how to structure provides is a framework. Now we want to look at what type of language we should be using to create a compelling value proposition.
There are key words and phrases that work best in marketing. Ultimately, the best words and phrases to use are action words and phrases. These can be applied to our value proposition. Then, once we choose our words, we can fit them like puzzle pieces. Below is a small selection of useful words and phrases for creating your value proposition.
|Action Words||Action Phrases|
|All New||Free Trial|
|Create||Increase your Sales|
|Free||At No Additional Cost|
When choosing your words and phrases, it is critical to use action verbs. The lists above fit this requirement. Use these to start using compelling language.
Creating a Value Proposition
We understand how to structure it and we understand what key words and phrases to use. Now it is time to create our value proposition. This is the difficult part.
So, how do we do it?
We do it in a few steps. We have to do some heavy thinking about what problem we are solving, the solution we are providing, and then the benefits to our solution. Once we have all this, then we want to put all of this into a coherent structure with concise, specific, and action-oriented language.
The steps to creating our value proposition are as follows:
Step 1: Describe the Problem
The first step is to describe the problem you want to solve. This ensures you specifically know what the problem is. Then, you can use this identification in the actual value proposition itself.
Step 2: Describe the Solution
The next step is to describe your solution. Like we did with our problem, we want to describe the solution. Part of the benefit of this step is making sure we know exactly what our solution is. Then, we will be able to use this description later when we are combining all the language.
Step 3: List our Benefits
Our third step is listing our specific and unique benefits. This can be anywhere from one to five. But, we don’t want to get too crazy seeing as we want to be concise. A three to five number is good here. Reason being that if we want to use a bullet format, visually, less than three is a bit awkward.
Step 4: Choose our Structure
The fourth step in our process is to choose a structure we want to use. This will determine how much copy we need to write. What types of copy to write. And how to format it. You can choose from the structural elements we discussed above.
Step 5: Choose our Language
In step five we are going to choose the language we want to use. This will be using a selection of action words and phrases. Finding the ones that fit with our industry and our business.
Step 6: Combine Everything
At step six, we want to combine everything we have done to this point. We are going to combine our problem, solution, benefits, and language. Put all of that in the structure we have chosen. Then, we have a value proposition that is ready to edit, revise, and test.
Step 7: Edit, Revise, and Test
The last step to creating our value proposition is to edit, revise, and ultimately test it. To do this, we may need to create two value proposition options. This becomes a critical aspect, as we want to validate it with data.
Taking these steps, although it looks complex, will set the process for generating an effective value proposition. Be willing to try various options and test the variations that you come up with. This is how you can reach an end result you’re proud of.
Value Proposition Examples
The last thing we want to take a look at here is some value proposition examples. This can give us some inspiration to create our own. And, we can validate our creations against some good examples.
Here are a few examples that we can draw some inspiration from.
Salesforce Value Proposition
Intercom Value Proposition
UberConference Value Proposition
Segment Value Proposition
These are just a few examples to take some inspiration from. They create compelling copy, while also explaining what it is that they do. Take some inspiration from these and create your own compelling statement.
Your value proposition is an essential component to your marketing. It is even more important to create one that is specific and aptly describes your business. Take the overview here, the process for creating a value proposition, and take your marketing to the next level.