How to nail your value proposition… and accelerate your growth!
By Daniel Kadvany & Konstantinos Papakonstantinou
Building killer products is NOT enough
Building a killer product doesn’t guarantee adoption and growth. Today’s customers are constantly bombarded with more information than ever, which makes it tough to get their attention.
Getting (and keeping) their attention requires strong, differentiated marketing — which starts with your value proposition.
Nailing your value proposition can help!
Your value proposition answers the fundamental question: Why should the customer buy from you instead of your competitors?
A strong value proposition is a guiding statement that ensures consistency and drives conversion across your marketing channels.
Here are several examples of why a value proposition is crucial for effective growth activities:
Paid marketing: Good paid marketing requires substantial testing and optimization. A value proposition ensures that you’ve got a strong hypothesis about what your audience cares about, and a strong direction to test messaging variations around. A good value proposition also means there’s a higher likelihood your advertising will connect with your audience, resulting in a higher-ROI campaign.
Promotional video: A video with the right value proposition makes a world of difference. It will hook your target audience immediately and make sure they watch your entire video – delivering a broad range of benefits from on-page SEO to cheaper SEM and a higher conversion rate. Once you’ve nailed your value proposition, video is a highly cost-effective way to get that message in front of new audiences.
Website refresh: A clear value proposition is a powerful conversion factor — and the absence of one can doom even the most beautiful website refresh. You’re pouring traffic to a leaky funnel if you’re sending it to a website that doesn’t have clear, above-the-fold messaging. When your target audience comes to your website, a value proposition immediately draws them in — resulting in better performance across all your growth initiatives.
Before you invest in paid marketing, a promotional video, or a website refresh, you should be confident in your value proposition.
So what IS a value proposition?
A value proposition is a statement that explains (in language your customer understands):
- The problem your product solves
- Who you solve it for
- How you solve it uniquely (or better)
We’ll walk you through creating, testing, and implementing a value proposition — and provide some inspirational examples along the way.
What a value proposition is NOT
A value proposition is not a mission statement or slogan — it’s the connective tissue between these elements (and the rest of your marketing messaging).
- Mission Statement: Defines why your business exists. Inspires your team and acts as a filter for business decisions.
- Value Proposition: A summary of why your product uniquely solves your customer’s problems. Drives all your marketing messaging and activity.
- Slogan: A catchy phrase that encapsulates your missision or positioning. Often used in advertising.
- Uber’s mission is to bring transportation — for everyone, everywhere.
- Uber’s value prop.: Uber is the smartest way to get around. You tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.
- Uber’s slogan: Tap the app, get a ride
- Hubspot’s mission is to make the world inbound. That means transforming the way businesses market and sell – for the better.
- Hubspot’s value prop.: HubSpot offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer service, with a completely free CRM at its core. They’re powerful alone — but even better when used together.
- Hubspot’s slogan: All Systems Grow
- Mailchimp’s mission is to democratize cutting-edge marketing technology for small businesses, creating innovative products that empower our customers to grow.
- MailChimp’s value prop.: MailChimp is the world’s largest marketing automation platform. It’s like a second brain that helps millions of customers—from small e-commerce shops to big online retailers—find their audience, engage their customers, and build their brand.
- MailChimp’s slogan: Build your brand. Sell more stuff.
Elements of your value proposition
A complete value proposition includes the following elements — and as in the examples above, not all of these elements will be present in every variation of marketing copy. Your website’s homepage should include more of your value proposition than the blurb about your business for a conference listing — but both will pull from the same value proposition script.
A value proposition includes:
- Headline: describes the benefit you offer to your customer
- Sub-headline: a more in-depth explanation that provides additional context
- Benefit bullets (2-4): granular explanations of key benefits
- Visual element (ideally, a video that ties these elements together)
Writing your value proposition: start with your customer
The process of writing your value proposition starts with your customer — you need to put yourself in their shoes to understand their goals and pain points. Doing this requires assembling qualitative and quantitative data:
- Directly collecting prospect and customer feedback (voice of the customer surveys)
- Analyzing your own data (website demographics, product usage, etc.)
- Understanding the competitive landscape (competitor positioning, feedback on review sites like Quora and G2 Crowd)
Once you have this data, you should use it to build a customer persona: an archetype of the ideal customer for your product. Learn more about creating personas in a future blog post.
With a customer-centric lens, now map out the key benefits that your product offers and how you do so in a way that’s distinct from your competitors. Focus on how your product helps your customers — not your features.
Once you have completed these two brainstorming exercises, it’s time to write — get inspired by some of the value propositions below.
Examples of powerful value propositions
- Apple iPhone: Every single iPhone we’ve made – and we mean every single one- was built on the same belief.
That a phone should be more than a collection of features. That, above all, a phone should be absolutely simple, beautiful, and magical to use.
- Mint.com: When you’re on top of your money, life is good. We help you effortlessly manage your finances in one place.
See bills and money in one place.
Get alerts about upcoming bills.
Say goodbye to late fees.
- Webflow: Design and develop at the same time.
Webflow gives designers and developers the power to design, build, and launch responsive websites visually, while writing clean, semantic code for you.
So where do you go from here? We gave you a framework with examples to help you come up with your value proposition. But it’s not easy, we get it. And sometimes, being too close to the problem doesn’t help you think clearly, or think like your customer. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients to help them refine their value proposition, test it, fine-tune it, and then communicate it effectively.
To help, we’ve put together a mini e-course. Think of it like a workshop to help you work through your value proposition and messaging. And it’s FREE! Sign up with your email below.
In this e-course, we’ll cover in more depth:
- Why you need a powerful value proposition
- Key elements of a great value proposition
- The value proposition canvas explained – A “customer segment”
- The value proposition canvas explained – B “value proposition”
- How to test your value proposition
- How to communicate your value proposition effectively
Daniel Kadvany is a freelance marketing consultant who specializes in messaging creation and testing. He has over 8 years of experience helping B2B and B2C companies communicate compellingly with their customers. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Konstantinos Papakonstantinou is founder of Board Studios Inc., a boutique explainer animation production company that specializes in financial services. Since 2012, Board Studios (boardstudios.com) has produced more than 1,500 videos for leading payments industry companies, including Money2020, FIS Global, OnDeck and CAN Capital. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org