What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is just what it sounds like: a statement that clearly explains the value of working with your company. Value propositions justify your business’s raison d’être, after all, if a business has competitors that can do what they do cheaper, faster, and better, then they will struggle to have customers choose to work with them!
It is important to keep in mind that your value proposition only needs to appeal to your target audience. If you provide budget-friendly services then there is no reason to try to woo wealthy clientele with your value proposition. Businesses do not need universal appeal in order to be successful – they simply need to communicate effectively to the people they can serve best.
What is the purpose of a value proposition?
Clearly articulating your value proposition is essential because it tells your customers in clear terms the benefits of your product and your brand. For small businesses, it is rare to be the only game in town, and your target customers are usually shopping around.
Many services are essentially undifferentiated at a broad level – all plumbers fix plumbing, all electricians install outlets, all pest control companies kill bugs. A company’s value proposition helps customers decide to work with them over a competitor.
Defining your value proposition
Articulating an effective value proposition isn’t a quick or straightforward process; it requires a deep understanding of your customers, your product, and your business environment. These are a few of the strategies that we employ at Cut Throat Marketing to develop great value propositions:
Customers want to see themselves in your value proposition, but all too often we frame benefits as attributes inherent to ourselves.
“We have the most experienced technicians.”
“We provide the newest and best product.”
Even if both of these statements are true, they do nothing to tell the customer what benefits they will receive when they choose to work with you. Instead, these points could be rephrased from the customer’s point of view as:
“Get your challenging project fixed right, the first time!”
“Experience the latest advancements in technology: faster, more reliable, and easier to use.”
Analyze your product or service
It is common for business owners to be proud of their product or service – after all they have put blood, sweat, and tears into their business and obviously believe strongly in it. However, when deciding on value propositions you need to be objective and assess:
- What problem does my product or service solve? Understanding the core problem your product or service solves is the first step towards determining your value proposition. Remember, it’s normal that your business can’t help everyone; not everyone is a potential customer!
- What benefits do my product or service offer to customers? Don’t just think in terms of features – focus on the benefits that these features deliver.
- What are your customer’s pain points? What is it about your industry that people find annoying or problematic and how does your business address that?
Gather customer feedback
Sometimes the best place to look for value propositions is in your customer reviews. Do they love your professional service? Fast call-out times? Attention to detail? Conversational customer service? Don’t be afraid to ask your customers why they like working with you!
Keep it simple
Generally, brevity is best. The longer, and more specific you make your value propositions, the more likely it is that your customers won’t be able to see themselves within it. Compelling value propositions cut a wide swath and speak to your entire target audience.
Using bullet points followed by a concise description is generally all you need for your value proposition statements.
Value propositions help your business stand out from the crowd – but that only works if you identify the unique value proposition that comes from working with your company.
While “Great Customer Service” might seem like a good value proposition, you can bet that your competitors are making the same vague claim. Instead, you could tout specific benefits like:
- 24/7 Customer Support: “Our team is available to assist you 24/7, ensuring that you can get help whenever you need it.”
- Dedicated Account Managers: “You’ll have a dedicated account manager who will understand your unique needs and ensure they are met.”
- Quick Response Time: “We guarantee a response to all customer inquiries within 24 hours.”
- No-Questions-Asked Return Policy: “If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, we offer a no-questions-asked return policy.”
Setting reasonable expectations is essential for customer satisfaction. Customers will inevitably notice when your service fails to live up to your promises, and there is no more vitriolic fury than a Google review from a customer who feels duped – even if the service you provided was otherwise satisfactory.
While the adage under-promise and over-deliver might feel safest, the best strategy is to simply make promises you know you can keep.
Benefits of a strong value proposition
Value propositions deliver material benefits to your company and developing one should be a part of every marketing strategy. We’ve found that value propositions have helped our clients in four key ways:
Unless your company offers a product or service that is 100% unique, you have competitors who are likely selling the same thing as you. Sure, they might be positioned differently in the market, but each of you is probably selling a solution that your customer needs.
Without a value proposition your customer is forced to make a decision without knowing your business’s key benefits. In the case of startup businesses this can put you at a disadvantage, as established businesses will have greater name recognition and more reviews. Value propositions let you demonstrate that your business can solve your customers’ problems in a way that is better than your competitors.
Higher conversion rates
Generating traffic to your website can be expensive; between search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and pay per click (PPC) ads, businesses spend a lot of money to get eyes on their homepages and landing pages!
When well-implemented, value propositions boost conversion rates by demonstrating to the customers why they should choose your company. Extensive A/B testing has been done to empirically prove that values are tied to conversion rates! We’ve seen our own clients’ landing pages reach conversion rates of over 30% after reworking their content and including high-quality value propositions.
Increased customer satisfaction
Value propositions are a great opportunity to set expectations for your customers. Without a clearly defined value proposition your customers will come up with their own ideas about what working with your business looks like, and sometimes that means there will be a misalignment between expectation and reality.
A thoughtfully developed value proposition will ensure that your customers will understand the unique benefits of your company’s product or service – even before they’ve received it.
Cohesive Brand Identity
Having clearly defined value props helps businesses speak with a unified voice across their website, social media, and advertising. With a better understanding of your unique selling proposition, you can craft catchphrases that aren’t just random slogans but instead articulate the key selling points of your products or services.
Ideally, all of your copywriting should orbit around your value propositions – helping your customers understand the benefits of working with you.
Value Proposition Examples
While the idea of value propositions might feel a little novel, the reality is that they have been used for decades to help brands win over new customers and retain old customers.
Examples of Strong Value Propositions
Apple has established themselves as a leader not just in technology, but in marketing. While their big products like the iPhone are now so ubiquitous that the benefits of promoting it are debatable – other product lines like their Apple Watch still offer examples of incredible value propositions.
“Your family joined at the wrist. Family members who don’t have an iPhone can stay in touch with Apple Watch.” This checks all of the boxes that a value proposition should. Customer centric, simple, and unique. The benefits are easy to understand and the learn more blurb gives concrete examples like providing Apple Pay and messaging to children and older adults who may not have an iPhone.
The appeal of Lego is hard to deny, with children of all ages coming together for the simple joy of constructing miniature worlds of colorful plastic. The brand is well aware of their success, but maintains a robust marketing strategy and has some world class value propositions.
“Awaken their creativity” is a perfect example of great value proposition copywriting. It speaks directly to the purchaser (not the end-user, read: child) and tells a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle that their decision to give a child a Lego set will encourage their creative spirit. The message is simple, easy to understand, and customer centric. Exactly what we want to see from a strong value proposition!
Colors on Parade
“Fast Fixes for Your Fast-Paced Life.” Colors on Parade is one of our recent website builds that has been producing amazing results, and value propositions like this help their customers understand why they should work with Colors. When it comes to car repairs, time is literally money! Unlike a body shop repair which might take days or weeks, Colors on Parade is able to fix minor damage in just hours!
This value proposition is customer centric and speaks directly to a common industry pain point, and the customer value is simple and clear to see.
Importantly, Colors delivers on this promise – don’t make claims your business can’t live up to, as this is a great way to have your marketing efforts backfire!
Crafting Great Value Propositions
Value propositions are incredibly important, but are uniquely challenging to create. There are no templates to follow, and instead businesses must critically assess their products and services in order to identify value props which resonate with their customers.
At Cut Throat Marketing we are experts at helping businesses determine what their special sauce is made of, and turn it into branding initiatives that boost conversions, increase revenue, and help your business stand out from the crowd!