People often mistake a value proposition for a tagline. However, they are not the same. First of all, a value proposition is in itself more complex than a tagline, simply because it takes up more space. It’s more thorough and specific, thus conveying more value. Lastly, a value proposition is evergreen, as opposed to taglines that usually change over time.
What exactly is a value proposition?
The value proposition clearly tells visitors what’s in it for them if they buy from you. It’s also the main thing you need to get right if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition and implicitly boost conversions.
You should always place your value proposition in an area of maximum visibility on your website – this would be the Above the Fold area of your homepage or landing page. You need to make sure that it’s the first thing visitors see. Include it in the major entry points of your website as well.
Because you only have about 30 seconds to convince your visitors that your product is exactly what they need, it’s vital that you create a clear, concise, unique & memorable value proposition. Don’t forget that people don’t read online, they scan. So make it short and sweet!
Your copy needs to be engaging, informative and to the point. Briefly explain how your product can solve an issue your target customers are currently struggling with and how it can significantly improve their lives. And more importantly, let them know what additional benefits you bring to the table compared to other competing brands.
A value proposition should communicate value in more than one way
According to Peep Laja, the Founder of CXL, a correctly executed value proposition should address three main points:
- It needs to be relevant – clearly state how your product can solve customers’ problems (eliminate pain) or how it can improve their lives (achieve enhancement);
- Deliver unique and specific benefits – don’t write general copy that ‘applies to everyone’ with the purpose of selling as much as you can – this strategy always backfires; write highly targeted copy that resonates to your target audience and their specific needs and desires.
- Highlight differentiation – offer strong reasons why the ideal customer should buy from you and not from the competition.
Consider customer awareness level when crafting your value proposition
Momoko Price, Conversion Copywriter & Interaction Designer also brought into discussion the importance of the customer awareness level to crafting an efficient value proposition. She claims that the more your target audience is aware of your product and the problem it solves, the easier it is to convert them (for instance by using a trigger, such as an incentive).
If you’re in the business of niche products, you’re basically offering people a solution to a problem they weren’t even aware of. Therefore, you need to work more on your value proposition. First of all you should focus on making people realize they have a problem to begin with. Only after they’re aware of this you’ll be able to sell your product as the perfect solution.
On the other hand, for broad products it’s enough to differentiate yourself from your competitors through unique benefits. Say you sell weight loss supplements and X other brands do it as well. If you have a solid money back guarantee in place and they don’t, go with that! This could count as a unique benefit you could easily include in your value prop.
The key components of a value proposition
There is no secret recipe for crafting a good value proposition, but it usually consists of:
- Headline – a brief sentence that communicates the end-benefit of your product; you want visitors to be intrigued and to keep reading, so make it engaging!
- Sub-headline – here you can be more specific and elaborate a little on what you’re offering: explain who’s your product for and why it’s useful to your target customer; you should be able to sum it up in two-three lines;
- A short list of specific benefits – 3-5 bullet points are more than enough; you can also list features, but we recommend using benefits instead; don’t forget that features tell, benefits sell! Avoid going with general benefits that also apply to your competitors, and instead focus on specific benefits that are relevant to your target audience;
- Visuals – keep in mind that visual content is more engaging than written content, so make sure to also include an image of your product or of someone using your product; from our experience, featuring photos of people on websites has a higher impact on conversion rates than product images (avoid using stock photos, though!). Regardless of which image you choose, make sure that it’s relevant, vivid and it supports the copy.
So, what makes a great value proposition?
Before you go about creating your own value proposition, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Write clear, concise copy that it’s easy to understand by your target audience in less than five seconds. Explain how your product can improve your target customer’s life or solve a pressing issue.
- Speak your customers’ language. Previously analyze the jargon of your audience to see what type of words and phrases they use when talking about your product (or a similar product for that matter). Then insert it into your copy to make it more relevant.
- Emphasize the benefits, the end results a consumer would get if they bought and used your product.
- Set yourself apart from the competition. This is a make-or-break point. Clearly communicate the things that make your offer different from your competition’s. Otherwise, you’re bound to lose a significant amount of customers.
Instead of reiterating the main points of the article and then wrap it up, I think I’d better leave you with a warning: do not copy what your competitors do.
I’m sure that at some point most of you did ‘borrow’ a few best practices from other websites or at least thought about doing so, but it won’t work in this case. Not with the value proposition.
Copying won’t bring you more conversions. On the contrary, if you go ahead and copy the value proposition of your competitors, this will backfire and it will badly hurt your conversion rate. It won’t work because it simply goes against its core principle: a value proposition should be unique – should be something that your brand and only your brand offers.