Ever launch a campaign only to watch it fall flat? It happens to all of us, doesn’t it? Maybe you launched a business and it went nowhere.
We really want to believe that our great work will bring us business. Sometimes it does, but often we need to do something else.
We need to clearly communicate who we are, what we do, and who we do it for. This communicates our positioning. As a WordPress professional, it is crucial that we define and communicate our unique value proposition (or value prop for short).
Changing or clarifying that message can be something that changes the trajectory of our business. Communicating a value proposition is something that will make or break your landing pages, your homepages, and your products.
Today we are going to take a look at Unique Value Propositions, what they are, why we need them, and a couple of formulas you can use to write one.
Unique Value Proposition communicates your positioning
So, what is a unique value proposition? To help us unpack what value proposition is we are going to look at five different definitions and how they help us understand more about a value proposition.
First is a positioning statement. It is quite normal for a UVP to be written as a statement. Sometimes it is one sentence or two, but it always delivers the positioning of the product or service. According to Forbes contributor, Michael Skok,
“In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.”
Michael Skok, Forbes
Guide for potential customer’s decision-making
As a positioning statement, it serves as a guide for decision-making by your potential customers. This means it is critical to helping your customer to choose you. Most all of us have competitors. The value prop helps others differentiate between us and our competitors. Carly Stec explains,
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“Your value proposition is a strategically crafted statement that is definitive of your unique selling point. It seeks to encompass everything that sets your business apart from everyone else, and it helps to guide your potential customer’s decision-making process.”
Carly Stec, Impact
Promise of value
How do you guide your potential customer’s decision-making? You do this by communicating the promise of value for your offer. Peep Laja who wrote a fantastic article about value propositions (really, you should read it!) says this,
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you.
Crucial for your copy
Because it communicates that promise of value, it is crucial for your website copy. In fact, it is crucial for your landing pages and all of your marketing campaigns. This is what Laja says in the Unbounce glossary for unique value proposition,
“Also known as a unique selling proposition (USP), your UVP is a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer’s needs and what distinguishes you from the competition. Your unique value proposition should appear prominently on your landing page and in every marketing campaign.”
Peep Laja, Unbounce
Makes benefits clear
Don’t miss the point here. A unique value proposition is absolutely necessary to communicate the message of your product or service. It serves as a compass for those who would hear your message. With a sound value proposition, the benefits for your company will be more clear. Dan Shewan says at the Wordstream blog,
Your business’s value proposition is arguably the most important element of your overall marketing messaging. A value proposition tells prospects why they should do business with you rather than your competitors, and makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear from the outset.
Why do we need a value proposition?
We have determined that a value proposition is a differentiating statement that a company uses to clearly explain the benefit and value of their product or service. In doing so, we see some of the reasons we need a value proposition including A guide for decision making; Promise of Value; Appear prominently; Makes benefits crystal clear.
One reason it matters is conversion. That’s right if you want people to stay on your page or do business with your company, having the right value prop makes a huge difference. Laja says it like this,
“A value proposition is the #1 thing that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or hit the back button. It’s also the main thing you need to test – if you get it right, it will be a huge boost.”
You aren’t just trying to get people to buy, you are trying to get the right people to buy. This is the essence of conversion.
If a value proposition is executed well, reaches an emotional connection with the customer and can help optimize conversions. People are trying to find a “better version of themselves” as Talia Wolf says in this article at Convert.
“While most brands think their value proposition is the product or service they’re offering, the most successful brands understand that people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. What people really care about isn’t the features or pricing, it’s the emotional gain. “
It comes down to this, if you want better conversions with your content, it is best to craft a solid value proposition.
Simple UVP formulas you can use
I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy to craft a unique value proposition. It does help, however, if you have a simple UVP template you can follow. There are several available and you will notice they all include a benefit.
I am going to give you a couple that you can begin using today.
My Product is the one that. . .
Joanna Wiebe revealed this little formula for a UVP that is mostly meant for tech and startup companies. She shares a fictional story about the owner of an app at SXSW. For our purposes, I am going to change the scenario.
Imagine being at a local business conference. You meet a local business person you know has deep pockets and a website in dire need of updating.
Business owner: So, what does your company do?
You: We build websites!
Business owner: Oh yeah. I’ve met about half a dozen of those guys today.
You: Well, we build websites that you can update without having a Ph.D. in Computer Science.
Business owner: Ah. That’s cool. Tell me more.
And then, Wiebe gives you an instant value proposition formula,
“So, going forward, think of your value proposition as the completion of any of the following phrases:
My product is the one that ____________________________.
My service is the one that ____________________________.
My solution is the one that _____________________________.
Voila! Instant value prop.”
I like this one because it is easy to come up with quickly. To be fair, it isn’t overly complex and it might be a great place for you to start thinking about value propositions.
Steve Blanks’ XYZ
Another simple template is given by veteran entrepreneur Steve Blank. In his fantastic guide How to Build a Web Startup – Lean Launchpad Edition, he gives a simple framework that is easy to understand.
He says, “If you can’t easily explain why you exist, none of the subsequent steps matter. A good format is ‘We help X do Y by doing Z’.”
Honestly, it doesn’t get much simpler than that.
“We help X do Y by doing Z.”
An example of this might be, “We help small businesses sell more online by building custom e-commerce solutions that scale more easily.”
You can find more value prop templates here
Wrapping it up
Value propositions serve as a foundation upon which to build all of your website copy. When things get fuzzy, it is like a compass to which you can refer back to to bring your copy back into focus.
We have seen that it is crucial for clarity as well as for conversions. Don’t neglect the importance of your UVP. It is worth spending some extra time working through the process.
Have you determined a UVP for your business? Let us know in the comments below.