Imagine you’re trying to organise a  business fuel card but realize there’s too much work that goes into researching the best fuel card for you, what network, potential savings, and so on. So, you decide to look for a service to help you compare a card. You search Google for “fuel cards comparison” and find ten websites: Which one makes you want to learn more about their services? It’s likely to be the one who’s value proposition (the biggest benefit they’ll give you) is emotive, and at the centre of attention on the landing page. Additionally the message and content are in line with the problem you are experiencing.

We need to ask. Are we immediately conveying the value that prospects will get from our business? Have you researched and actually asked customers for feedback on it? Most businesses don’t succeed as much as they could because they essentially have weak value propositions.

What are the Value Propositions?

A powerful value proposition is essential to hold your viewer’s attention when they land on your website or read about your business in an advert or campaign. A value proposition is a statement of how your product or service will benefit your customer. It defines what you will do for your various segmented target customers and why you’re better than your competitors.

You have between 5 to 30 seconds to hold the attention of a viewer.

Mail Chimp provides a great example – you are looking for a newsletter or email marketing tool. When a prospect searches for “best free email marketing tool” and clicks on your link, you want them to stay on your website. You could have a weak generic statement, “We help you with email marketing,” but compared to Mail Chimp’s value proposition: “Send better email”, it’s not going to compete. “Send better email” clearly states what the prospect would get from using Mail Chimp.

It’s Not About You

Remember, it’s about the prospect and how they will benefit not about you.

What Goes into a Value Proposition?

A value proposition is a clear statement of the benefits you’ll provide, and it can be significant in creating a successful business. While value propositions come in various forms, a basic formula includes four things:

  1. A headline
  2. A sub-headline
  3. A list of key benefits
  4. An image

The headline is the most important part of your value proposition. Eye- tracking studies have shown that people often look at the headline more than anything else. Use a headline to give a quick statement summing up the benefit of your offer. Don’t make your headline too long. It should be short and quickly grab the viewer’s attention, so they’ll read the sub-headline, where you can provide a more specific explanation of what you’ll do for them.

While a value proposition should quickly communicate benefits, sometimes more detail is better. When you want to go into more detail, you can provide a list of key benefits or features that will speak to the viewer.

Finally, you can use an image to tie together those elements and further emphasize your benefits. The image should be used with intention. A pretty but irrelevant picture won’t do much to emphasize your value proposition. However, a picture of your product or something using your product would solidify your value prop.

Some Great Value Propositions

WordPress

What is the company selling? A free website.

What is the benefit of using it? A free website.

Who is the target customer for this product or service? People who want a personal blog or a business site.

Bonus: Clear call-to-action to create a website

SoundCloud

What is the company selling? A tool to find music and connect with artists.

What is the benefit of using it? It’s easier to find new music.

Who is the target customer for this product or service? People who like music.

What makes the offering different from competitors? You can connect directly with your favourite artist rather than just listen to their music.

Bonus: They provide immediate value by showing trending music, so the viewer can find new music right away.

How to Create a Strong Value Proposition

Step 1: Research your target market segments – don’t assume you really know your customers

The first step is to understand your audience and what motivates them. This will shape the messaging you’ll use to communicate with them and help you pinpoint the biggest selling point of your product. This can be done through interviews with current customers or people you assume would use it. It’s much easier to determine your audience if you already have customers because they’ve already demonstrated that they’ll buy from you. Talk to them. Ask them how your product or service is improving their businesses and their lives.

You’ll have to dive deep in your interviews to answer questions like:

  • What do they do?
  • What is their biggest problem or pain point?
  • What type of language do they use?

You might be surprised to find that you might be helping in significant ways that you didn’t think about.

Step 2: Create and document a great target market persona

After researching your audience, analyse at the qualitative data and look for patterns. Is there a pain point that was mentioned multiple times? Is there a certain industry that a lot of people are in? If they already use your tool, was there one benefit repeated by multiple people? A clearly defined persona will help you better understand your prospects as human beings – what drives them, what they value, and what they aspire to be – ultimately helping you speak to them.

Step 3: Research your competitors in terms of a structure

Your conversations with current customers may uncover other tools they used before finding your product or tools they might be using alongside your product. Look into those tools – especially if they directly compete with your business – and figure out what you do better than them. There’s no point in having two businesses doing the exact same thing. It doesn’t give prospects a reason to choose you over your competition.

Step 4: Determine the primary benefit of your products

Now that you understand your ideal buyer persona and your competitors, it’s time to determine your primary benefit. While there may be multiple reasons to use your product, there’s often one thing that your audience is most interested in.

To help figure this out, think of this in terms of human desires:

Basic Desires:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger
  4. Social Grooming
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Jones
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval Nine learned desires:

Learned Desires

  1. To be informed
  2. Curiosity
  3. Efficiency
  4. Convenience
  5. Dependability/quality
  6. Beauty and style
  7. Economy/profit
  8. Deals and Bargains

There will be a couple of desires that your product or service will speak to most powerfully.

To add more credibility, you should go the extra mile and provide specific numbers. How exactly are you going to help your customer? Will you help them increase sales by 120%? Or help them save 12 hours a week? Concrete numbers provide concrete value. Altogether, the steps above will help you create a value proposition that intersects between what your customer needs, what the market offers, and what you’re offering.

Test Your Value Propositions

Now you’ve gotten your value proposition, but you’re not done yet. You’ve got to test and tweak it to find out if it resonates with your audience. Most businesses aren’t testing their value propositions. That means while they’re sticking with an unoptimized value proposition, you can get ahead of the competition by improving yours.

You need to test because:

  1. People can’t tell you what they want and are not always clear.
  2. People act differently than how they say they would act.

Up until now, the value proposition was created based on qualitative audience research, but you can only determine if your value proposition will convert viewers if you test it.

And even when a value proposition shows good results, don’t be afraid to test it further.

Is there data that might point to another point of value that your customers care more about? Then test your original value proposition versus that other point of value. Maybe you want to see if a different call to action will resonate better, you can A/B that one word with the assumption that it’ll improve your conversion rate.

In Summary

It’s important to sit down and create an ideal buyer persona, talk to customers, and think through what value your business truly provides so you can stand out from the competition.

  1. Research your audience
  2. Create an ideal buyer persona
  3. Research your competitors
  4. Determine the primary benefit of your product
  5. Test and iterate