Today I want to talk about Value Propositions. This is something that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves from most of business owners I talk to every day. It’s one of those exercises that everyone knows they should do but figure they can just wing it if push ever really came to shove.
When you’re sharing your value proposition you are literally communicating to your audience (or market) the reason they should buy from you. You are providing the answer to the discomfort or tension they are experiencing in their lives. Why wait to articulate that and potentially end up just talking yourself in circles until you lose the customer? Or worse, miss the opportunity to really serve someone.
My goal is to get you to understand that your value propositions is not something you should be winging and that it’s worth the time and effort to craft a message that will really mean something to your audience.
If you’re planning on building a business the lasts then you need to be clear that:
A value proposition is a message that’s more than features or benefits, it’s about letting your potential customers know that they can trust you to deliver what you’re promising in a way that will help them solve their problems.
Your value proposition sets the foundation for how you communicate with your market or audience and should get people thinking about what you do beyond just looking for the lowest cost option.
It’s literally the reason people will work with you instead of your competitors or try to find a comparable substitute.
It also helps to keep all your marketing and sales stuff on message. Nothing worse than thinking you’re doing an awesome job on social only to find out that people have no idea what it is you actually do.
So today we’re going to talk a bit more about what a value proposition is, why it’s important and once you come up with it - how to work it into the rest of your business.
What is value proposition?
A value proposition is a clear statement that explains how your offering solves your customer’s problems or makes their lives better. It tells your ideal customer why they should buy from you, how you’re different, and the benefits they can expect. And no, it’s definitely not just your slogan.
There are three big components in a value proposition.
What you do
What’s the benefit or transformation you’re promising (why should they care)
What makes you unique or different.
Getting this right means you’ve clearly identified a solution to a problem, why you and, shown your commitment to service.
What it’s NOT is a slogan or positioning statement. If your value proposition says “we’re the best”, “we have the best”, or “We’re number 1” in whatever your offer is then it’s definitely NOT a value proposition.
Why is important that you have yours clearly articulated?
If you aren’t speaking directly to your target customer in a way that mirrors how they authentically speak or like to consume information then it doesn’t matter how much good you do, no one will be able to connect with you.
Being clear about the value you provide also allows you to be specific about the value you promise. The more specific the better. What are the quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits that your customer will experience after they engage with you? How will their life be transformed? Explaining this helps your target market build a confidence in your offer because you can clearly express some kind of measurable or marked change.
People have small attention spans, when they’re evaluating options they are constantly scanning for information that they can instantly apply to their lives. They’re literally conducting gut level cost/benefit analysis to see whether or not they feel like you’ll be able to solve the problem they have. Too wordy, to theoretical, to much fluff makes it hard for them to picture how you can help their life in a real and meaningful way...or at least in a way that makes sense for them to trade their dollars for your potential value.
How to identify or clearly articulate your value proposition?
A few sentences followed by or supported by a few bullet points. That’s it. Crafting a decent value proposition starts with a brain dump of sorts and it happens in three acts.
Act 1. Listing out all the benefits of your offer.
The more specific the better. Are you making a process easier? How much time are you saving? How much money are you saving? Can you quantify the opportunity engaging with your offer brings to people? This can kind of be viewed as an exploration of the opportunity costs someone will incur by not interacting with you. Take time with this, you should feel exhausted by the end. Literally try to squeeze every direct and indirect benefit you can think of out of this list.
Act 2. Link the benefits to a value offer.
Now that you have an extensive list of how awesome your offer it is think about why people should care. Connect these benefits to the real problem that it solves in a way that makes it easy for your customer to almost imagine how better their life will be after having interacted with you.
Act 3. Differentiate.
Make who you’re talking to as clear as possible, what you’re offering and why you’re different. Why should someone trust you to solve their problem over the possible alternatives.
Weaving your value proposition into all the parts of your business?
You’ve taken the time to craft the perfect value proposition, now what? Since your value proposition is the foundation of your sales and marketing efforts it’s time to audit your copy and content. Do your blogs, landing pages, Facebook Ads, etc clearly reflect what you do and who you do it for? You just finished putting the work into identifying who your ideal customer is you know how they like to be communicated with, what interests them and what they care about. You’ll be able to craft graphics and longer form sales copy that really speaks to them. Not only that but all your content and copy can finally be focused on serving someone specific, not everyone.
It should also be reinforced everywhere you show up on line. Your value proposition is the shorthand for why people should engage with you. Having it everywhere online (all your social profiles for example) and aligning your actions with it will help people better connect with you and build credibility. It definitely helps shorten the whole know like and trust curve.
Taking your value proposition seriously is important if you plan on building a successful business. If you’re counting on really connecting with people then you need to give them something to hold on to that’s more than a catchphrase or a slogan. Your customers are also really busy, early on in the relationship you can’t expect a potential customer to take time out their day to really dig into who you are, what you do, and the content you produce. That’s a luxury that you earn by after you’ve convinced them that you’re worth investing in.
Looking for inspiration? Here are a few links to sites that have collected some great value propositions: