If a tornado hit your company’s headquarters tomorrow, and you and your team were swept off to the Land of Oz, what would be lost to the world? Think about the benefit that your product or service brings to your customers that only you provide. This will be the heart of your value proposition, and the foundation of all of your sales and marketing messages.
Quicksprout defines a value proposition as “a sentence that tells your visitors why they should buy from you and not your competitors.”
A good value proposition will not only help your marketing copy, but will provide a “moment of truth” for your sales team and the rest of your staff that will help them better understand and convey the benefits of your service, qualify customers, and target your message more precisely.
When it comes to website copy, your value proposition should include:
- Your headline – your unique value summarized in a pithy, punchy sentence,
- Your hero image – a clear, visual representation of the value you provide,
- A short paragraph – hone deeper into the problems that you solve, and who you solve them for,
- Bullet points – that sum up why people should buy from you now.
The Essential Ingredients of a Good Value Proposition
Your value proposition is not a slogan. It is the specific, unique and quantified reason why you exist, and why your ideal customer should buy from you today.
Social Media Today breaks down three critical elements of a good value proposition. Without these your value proposition will be vague, weak and untargeted, and could hurt rather than help your marketing efforts.
- Who specifically do we work with? The better you understand who you work with, the more you can define their wants, needs and challenges.
- What do they want and why? What do they value the most? What you offer needs to be relevant to what they need and what they are willing to pay for.
- What do we do that is unique to our company? This is what will distinguish you from your competition.
Examples of Great Value Propositions
The early bird catches the worm, but as the co-founder and CEO of 140 proof, Jon Elvekrog, writes “the second mouse gets the cheese.” By following examples of your competition as well as people in unrelated niches, you can get a sense of how good value propositions look and feel, which can inspire you to create and refine your own.
Here are some examples of good value propositions which define the unique points of their service, explain clearly who they are targeted to, and provide specific, compelling reasons to buy now.Example 1: Know Your Company
This entire sales letter is one precise and effective value proposition. Know Your Company helps CEOs of medium sized companies know the mood and feel of their employees, and stay in the loop rather than feeling left out.
Notice how their sales page:
- Immediately defines to whom they are writing,
- Instantly connects with the pain points of their target audience,
- Positions themselves as a proven and obvious solution,
- Bonus: provides a clear and obvious call to action.
Part of the genius of this sales page is in its simplicity. It’s not excessively a hard sell, but it is direct and clear.
Example 2: Yesware
Yesware is software that helps salespeople schedule, track and optimize their email exchanges. Like KnowYourCompany.com, their home page is simple and elegant, although a little more high tech.
By scrolling down to their features and benefit section, I found a great micro-example of concise yet powerful value proposition.
This is more of a mini value proposition for one feature of their product, but it still a great example of what we’re looking for.
There is a clear statement of benefit – “connect more effectively.” The subheading narrows down the target market – only salespeople deal with prospects. The hero image nearly shows the product in action.
Example 3: Pipedrive
Pipedrive’s home page contains all the essential elements of a value proposition
- The headline immediately defines what they are and who they are for,
- The subheadline expands on this and explains the unique value – they’re simple, and teams love to use them,
- The hero image is eye catching and motivational,
- The bullet points break down the specific features and benefits of their program.
Example 4: MailChimp
That’s about as simple as it gets, right? Just three words, but it really hits home. This shows that you don’t need screeds of text for a value proposition.
Of course, it helps that MailChimp are established market leaders with high levels of brand recognition, so they don’t need to work as hard as an up and comer who really needs to prove why they stand out.
The lesson here – apart from another example of the power of simplicity – is to know where you stand in the market. Do people know you well enough that you can get away with a simple sentence, or are you new, in which case you’ll have do a bit more work and really answer these questions: why you’re unique, who you’re for, and how you help.
Example 5: Hootsuite
Hootsuite’s value proposition ticks all the boxes. The main headline explains exactly what they do, and the subheadlines provides social proof and positions them as a market leader who can be trusted by businesses.
The bullet points provide clear features and benefits and shows in more detail the service they provide and the benefits that this brings.
Example 6: Customer.io
Like MailChimp, Customer.io have gone for the simple, short benefit based headline. What’s worth noting about this value proposition, though, is the excellent use of the hero image. The image below their headline shows the product in action, breaking down the way the service works.
Time to Create Your Own Value Proposition
Get inspired by the examples above, then go back to the drawing board and think hard about your company and the unique value you provide to your target audience. Fall in love with your customers and figure out the perfect way in which your ideal customer will be saved by your project. Express this as concisely and elegantly as possible, and you have a value proposition.