How to Put Value Back in Your Value Proposition

Sam Swiech, Content Marketing Manager

Sam Swiech, Content Marketing Manager

Sam Swiech has worked in the digital marketing industry for 7 years, developing expertise in content strategy, content writing, and copywriting. Outside of the office, he enjoys cooking, travel, and modular synthesizers.

If you feel anything but confident in your value proposition, it's worth revisiting.

Great value propositions offer a clear, concise and compelling answer to a seemingly simple question: Why should people buy from you?

From your perspective, the answer may seem obvious. But in this case, obvious answers are rarely the best. It can take some serious work to arrive at a great value proposition.

To save you time trying to figure out what's missing from yours, we highlighted the common patterns present in the best ones out there to show you what's powering their success.

Here's some recommendations based on we found works best.

Speak your customers’ language

Value propositions should leave a prospect feeling like you’ve read their mind. To accomplish this well, you need to listen to the ways your customers define the problems your products or services solve - from their perspective and in their terms.

It sounds like basic advice, but use the words your customers use. Consider the desires and outcomes you’d expect them to have, then tweak the message to reflect the desires and outcomes real customers actually experience.

Specificity over simplicity

“Wallpaper copywriting” happens when marketers get so fixated on best practices that they lose sight of what their customers actually value.

This misdirection results in statements that try to say a lot, but don’t actually mean anything.

Value propositions shouldn’t be complex, but simplicity itself doesn’t make a statement more powerful if it comes at the expense of important information that needs to be conveyed in order to make the proposition compelling.

This idea is easily understood by comparing examples of simple versus specific value props. An A/B test conducted by MarketingExperiments did just that by testing two headlines against each other:

  • Simple Fix for Blown Head Gaskets
  • Repairs Blown Head Gaskets in Just One Hour

The second headline boosted conversions by 58% simply by giving context to the “fix” and calling out a specific time frame for completion. Nothing is left to the imagination.

Selling with specificity in your value proposition isn’t always easy. You might have many particular points of value and no good way of knowing what’s most likely going to compel the people you’re speaking to.

If your value proposition feels like blandvertising, here are some tips for finding the specifics that will give your statement power:

1. Identify the value

You need to understand why your customers are using your product or service in order to integrate it in your value proposition. Just ask them what they love about you and note the words they use.

2. Quantify the benefits

Whenever you use an adjective like “fast,” “simple, or “efficient,” stop yourself and unpack the term. Don’t leave anything up to the imagination. For example, if speed is a primary benefit, don’t just call it a “faster way” to do something. Quantify how much faster they’ll be able to do something - whether that’s in days, hours, minutes, seconds, etc.

3. Make results relatable

Remind your customers of the frustration that led them to your solution in the first place. This is an intuitive, natural way to establish your product or service as means of escaping that frustration. Again, keep their desired outcomes central to the message.

4. Differentiate sensibly

You know you’re better than your competitors. Now decide which particular point of differentiation speaks the most to your customers’ desired outcomes and set up a clear contrast between you and the others.

Get to the point

Some research suggests our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter thanks in part to the scrolling/scanning nature of digital media and heavy smartphone usage.

Whether that's true or not, I'd wager most of us don’t meticulously work our way through most text-based digital media word-by-word, carefully digesting each phrase before moving on to the next.

Instead, we scan the page to find the nugget of info we're looking for and move on. [B2B Marketing: An Inbound Methodology]

Marketers need to structure their messaging accordingly not just in creating value props, but in marketing communications in general. Prospects don't have time to weed through brand-speak and fluff to find their nugget. GET TO THE POINT.

Traditionally, the value proposition is seen as an elevator pitch, but in an age where the length of an elevator ride is often too much to ask of someone's time, you need make the best use of the fleeting moment your prospect is willing to invest.

Don’t waste space confirming baseline expectations - focus on what customers want most from what you offer

When you need a new wallet, you’re not going to be sold on the fact it holds credit cards. All wallets do that. This is a painfully obvious example of focusing on the wrong motivator, but it helps frame an important question:

How does your product or service differ from others in a way that speaks to what customers want most out of that product or service?

Using my dumb wallet example, everyone expects they’ll hold credit cards, but my wallet has both RFID blockers and genuine leather construction—benefits that speak to what the average wallet-carrying person wants most from the product: durability and protection.

Quench our thirst for genuine communication

As I mentioned before, our world is filled with lazy attempts to get us to buy things that promise the world only to deliver mediocrity.

The average person is bombarded by hundreds of ill-conceived marketing messages a day. “Satisfaction” has become “Guaranteed!” everywhere we go. Consumers are numb to the message. It’s been abused and misused to no end—squeezed of all the value it ever had.

For you, the marketer, this offers an opportunity to give customers what they actually want:

Refreshingly honest communication that acknowledges the outcomes they want while proving that your products and services serve as the best paths to getting there.

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Topics: Strategic Blogging, Premium Content, Pillar Pages