The Formula to Creating a Value Proposition – And How to Write a Great One
Your value proposition is the #1 thing that determines whether people will continue reading about your product or service or hit the back button. If you’re looking to do conversion testing on your website, this is the first thing to focus on. Get it right, and you’ll see big jumps in your efforts.
As a web designer, I see a lot of websites and I’m amazed at how their value proposition is little to non-existent on so many of them. The lesser known your brand is, the more important the value proposition becomes. Some someone like Nike or McDonald’s, it really doesn’t matter what is because people know them. For a small business or solo-entrepreneur they need to do whatever they can to draw people into their website to get eyes on their products.
What is a Value Proposition
Strangely enough, it’s exactly what it says… What is the value you’re providing to your ideal customer or client. It answer the question, why should they buy from you?
In short, it explains:
- How your product solves their problem or makes their life better (relevancy)
- Delivers benefits (quantified value)
- Explains why they should buy from instead of the competition (differentiation)
Your value proposition should be the first thing that people see when they land on your website. It’s not just for aesthetics, it’s for people to read and understand.
Using the right language for your value proposition is key as it bumps up the relevancy factor allowing you to speak directly to your target audience. How you speak about your products or services is often different than how your ideal customer might talk about it. You’ll need to speak directly with your customers to get a better sense of the language they use to improve your value proposition. However, I understand, you need a starting point.
To summarize: A value proposition is the headline at the top of your page that clearly states what you do, a key benefit you provide, or a promise that you make.
What’s Included in a Value Proposition?
There is no real right or wrong way to create a value proposition. However, I suggest the following guide to creating one.
- Headline – In one short sentence, or a few words, what is the end benefit your offering?
- Sub-headline – this is 2 – 3 explaining what you do or offer. It is an extension of the headline.
- Call to Action – There should be a button that drives the visitor to learn more or sign-up.
- Visual – An image that helps communicate the value proposition statement.
I encourage you to evaluate your current value proposition by examining the following:
- Does my value proposition communicate what I do?
- Describes the benefits of my product/service?
- Appeals to my target audience
- Demonstrates what makes you different from others?
Keep in mind that a value proposition is NOT a tagline such as Nike – ‘Just Do it’. It’s also important not to use superlatives such as ‘Best’ or ‘Number #1’ etc. If those types of superlatives can be supported by awards, mentions or testimonials, it’s best to work them into other sections of the website, but not in the value proposition. Note: I often see this mistake on sales pages.
The Formula I use to Create a Value Proposition
I’ve written a countless number of value propositions both for my brands and for my clients. Consequently, I realized that there’s a thought process, a formula if you will, that helps me build a value proposition much easier. The first step is to think through and answer the following questions…
- Who’s my target market? – Am I targeting a specific group of people, or a specific area?
- What service am I providing? – What is the key product/service that I’m highlighting? What do I do.
- What are the key benefits/results? – What value or promise am I providing to the client that will make them take notice?
- What makes me different? – What is it about my product/service that separates me form others in my field?
Once I’ve come to conclusion as to how I want to position my business, I take keywords from the answers from the above questions. Once I come up with a bit of working statement, I can begin to play around with the words to give it more impact.
Value Proposition Formula Example
Let’s say I’m a business coach who lives in Seattle. As my business model dictates in-person meetings, I obviously want to market to entrepreneurs in my area. Words like ‘business coach’, ‘Seattle’, ‘entrepreneurs’ would be a few of the words that would be ‘must have’ in my value proposition. While thoughts roll around my head, I’ll think about adjectives and phrases that support my keywords. Here are a few examples:
“Helping Seattle Entrepreneurs Succeed in Their Business”
“Step by Step Business Coaching for Seattle Entrepreneurs”
“Business Coaching that Takes Your Business to the Next Level”
“Empowering Businesses in Seattle”
“Coaching Seattle Restaurants how to Double Their Revenue”
Not all the keywords you arrive at need to be in the headline, they can also be in the sub-headline or the statement below the headline in order to better support your headline.For example…
“Seattle based business coach passionate about helping you break through barriers in your business”
“We work with Seattle businesses like yours create and execute a plan that generates real profits”
Notice how the various example are not only specific, they help filter your clients towards your target audience, and it’s clear the moment they land on the page what you do. That is what makes a great value proposition.
Good Value Proposition Examples:
It’s tough to find really good value proposition examples. That’s because it’s not easy to create an amazing one. I’ve listed a few good value proposition examples below and my comments.
This is one of the best value propositions I’ve come across, and have watched it evolve over time as they switched them up. It clearly communicates the benefits – It’s relatable. However, it’s not clear exactly what they do, but they’ve grown enough that people already know. It’s now about beating the competition.
In this example, they’ve used a key benefit as their headline and one that visitors can relate to. They are demonstrating that they can help you solve your business problems. You can still tell what they do in no time flat because they use ‘Business Coaching’ in the boxes below the feature area – A good strategy.
I appreciate how their headline is very focused and direct. Immediately I know what they do and where they’re located. More specifics about what they do are captured as you scroll down the page.
If you at all still feel confused about coming up with a good value proposition, it’s okay. Don’t allow yourself get overwhelmed. My recommendation would be to keep it super simple. You can always go back and change it later. I came across a web agency website who’s headline simply read, “We Build Websites”. Yup, that sums it up right there. If I’m looking for a website, I’d explore the site.
Remember the key to a strong value proposition is for the visitor to know they landing on the right page. Keeping it simple can be a powerful strategy. Don’t worry about getting all flowery with words. Clarity always trumps all else in marketing.
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Randy Dueck | Founder Street Smart Creative