by Steve Phipps

Hacks for creating a killer value proposition (with 7 examples)

August 12, 2018 | Content, Marketing

Quick quiz – how long does it take your website visitors to understand what you do and why it matters to them? If you have a clear, well-written value proposition, then your customers will know in a few seconds. If you don’t have a clear value proposition then you are probably losing potential customers because they don’t understand what you do or why they should care.

Based on research, you have 8 seconds to keep someone’s attention (goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds) which is why you need a clear value proposition that gets straight to the point.

A clear value proposition gives clarity, reduces confusion, and can help increase the number of people who stay on your website and engage with your content which can lead to generating more leads.

The Communication Challenge

We are all overwhelmed and distracted with chirps, beeps, and a myriad of other alerts from our phones, tablets, laptops, watches, and a thousand other devices that want our undivided attention. Add to that our soundbite attention spans and you get prospects who won’t take much time to figure out what you do or why they should care.

This is why it’s essential to have a very clear message that tells people what you do and why it matters.

Enter the value proposition.

What is a Value Proposition?

Simply put, a value proposition is a short, concise statement of one to two sentences that tells your audience what you do and why it matters to them. Some value propositions will point out how a company is different from competitors, however, that’s not a requirement. It should also be easy to understand by your audience who the product or service is for (whether implicit or explicit).

A good value proposition can help you win more customers while a bad value proposition (or a non-existent value proposition) will cost you business.

Clarity is good for business. Confusion is not.

Here are the components of a good value proposition:

  • What you do – not how great you are or how many awards your team has won, simply what you do.
  • Why it matters to potential customers – focuses on a chief benefit or end result that your customers experience as a result of using your product or service.
  • Who it’s for – sometimes a value proposition needs to specify an audience (e.g., business owners)

A good value proposition is not:

  • All about you
  • Your marketing slogan or tagline
  • Permanent; it can be changed
  • Trying to close the deal
  • Full of meaningless words like: quality, second-to-none, customer service

A good value proposition:

  • Provides clarity and is easy to understand
  • Focuses on your audience and makes sense to them
  • Compels and connects emotionally
  • Engages someone long enough to keep them interested
  • Echoes real customer experiences
  • Removes confusion and builds trust

7 Examples of Great Value Propositions

There are some great examples out there of companies who have very clear value propositions. Here are seven examples of companies that tell you what they do and why it matters.

  1. WP Engine
    WP Engine does a nice job with their homepage. They connect the image to their value proposition which tells you exactly what they do – managed WordPress hosting – and how you benefit – build faster, protect your brand, grow your business. And the call to action invites you to learn more about their plans.
  2. Dollar Shave Club
    Short and to the point. Dollar Shave Club wants you to feel great (literally and figuratively) without paying the high price. The next step is blazingly clear – ‘Get Started’. And the added bonus of the video that explains more about the Dollar Shave Club.
  3. Evernote
    Evernote does a nice job of immediately telling you what they do – serve as your second brain (it is a note-taking app that does a whole lot more than just taking notes). There’s immediate connotation and understanding. They compare their app to something you can immediately identify with. From there they explain what their app does at a high level. And they provide you with the obvious next step of signing up for free.
  4. Crazy Egg
    Crazy Egg is a web analytics tool that show you heat maps and other visual indicators of what your website visitors are doing. They lead with the main benefit – ‘get more customers’. And their call to action is spot on – enter your URL and get started. What could be simpler?
  5. Doordash
    Doordash is a restaurant delivery service. One number and four words tell you what you need to know – they can get you any type of food (‘54,000 restaurants’) fast (‘in minutes’). You can search for one of the 54,000 restaurants or you can download the app. No confusion here.
  6. Sumo
    Sumo provides marketing tools for websites. Like the other examples, their value proposition quickly tells you what they do. They differentiate a bit from the others by including two facts that reduce the fear of tools like this: 1) the number of websites using their tool – ‘hey, we’re effective because a lot of people are using us’; and 2) that it’s simple because it doesn’t require code (‘don’t be afraid, you can do it’). And of course the immediate call to action.
  7. Hulu
    I doubt Hulu needs an introduction. The main message—’Hello, welcome to great TV.’— coupled with the picture gives you the sense of being welcomed into someone’s living room (that’s the emotional connection). They follow that with some of the specifics of what they offer and follow that with pricing and an invitation to try it for free.

Two more things that you need with your value proposition

A great value proposition presented on your homepage should have two additional components to maximize effectiveness:

  1. A clear next step (also called a call to action). What do you want your website visitor to do after they understand what you do? Each of the previous examples has a very clear call to action that invites the site visitor to take the next step. In some cases, a site can include two possible next steps.
  2. A relevant background image (or video in the case of Dollar Shave Club). A great image can add power to the value proposition and help create an emotional connection. In some cases, a solid background can be used instead of a picture (e.g., Sumo) to draw even more attention to the value proposition.

How To Write a Strong Value Proposition

Great question. Here are three steps you can take to start crafting your value proposition.

  1. Consider who your primary customers are. Describe them and make sure you have a good understanding of who they are and what they value most. Make sure you write down their primary pain points.
  2. Write down the primary benefits your customers receive from your product/service. It’s always a good idea to ask your customers what they value the most and use that as part of your value proposition. Prioritize the benefits and go with the ones that connect to how you help solve their problem or alleviate their pain.
  3. Write out several sentences that include a summary of your product/service, who it’s for, and the chief benefit they receive. If writing isn’t your strong point, ask someone on your team who is good with words to help you craft the sentences. Create several versions and share them with your team and your customers.
  4. Decide on a winner and put it on your homepage with a clear call-to-action.

‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’ – Mark Twain

Here are several things to remember as you work on your value proposition:

  • This will take time. Brevity and clarity are simple but coming up with it isn’t always easy. As Mark Twain wrote: ‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’
  • You can refine it as you go
  • Don’t wait until it’s ‘perfect’ before you pick a statement to go with
  • You may have multiple value propositions – one for your overall business and more specific statements for different products and services. It may also vary based on your audiences.
  • Share it with your customers and see what they think. Does it resonate with them and confirm what they experience with your business?

Developing your value proposition is an ongoing process. Most of the business owners we work with are continually thinking about how to make things better, including their value proposition. What you start with now may be different in six months. The important thing is that you are taking steps to clarify your message. And that you do it sooner rather than later.

The Results

The natural outcome of clarity is an increase in engagement which should lead to better results. If someone knows what you do and it connects with what they need, they are more likely to stay and engage on your website.

Update your value proposition and start watching what happens in Google Analytics. There’s a good chance you’ll see a reduction in the bounce rate and an increase in the time spent on the site. However, there are other factors that influence this such as your overall site design and content. But getting your value proposition right is a great first step.

Let us know your thoughts or questions in the comments. Know of other great value propositions? Share those, too!

by Steve Phipps

Think Beyond Your Backyard: Digital B2B Marketing for Accountants