A value proposition is a written statement of the value that would be provided to customers if they choose to do business with your company.
It can be summed up as a marketing statement on why should someone purchase a product, what the chief benefit is and who is it for.
Depending on the prospect, a value proposition can either feature benefits, or list the kind of customers who the product is for or social proof combining both aspects in their statement.
Because of that, it should be able to highlight the future in an effective way, the benefits of doing business with you espouse and make a promise that can be fulfilled.
To that end the VP should be specific regarding the pain point, is relevant and something no one else is offering like you do there’s no doubt that you will be able to get conversions.
As you add more products or diversify your offerings a time could come when the value proposition needs refinement. Don’t shy away from that and perfect it as many times as you ought to.
Value Propositions act as the bridge between a customer and a conversion.
Simply put it’s a one-line story of what you do and why someone new to your site should trust you over every other brand with a similar offering.
How should you write a value proposition?
Address the why
Who would want to market a product that they don’t believe in, in the first place?
Don’t make it hard for you by not knowing what the product does so well that no one else can really match up to. Figure that out and you have your value proposition.
For instance, let’s consider Blinkist. Blinkist is a reading app that turns nonfiction books into easily digestible content that can be assimilated in a few minutes. This enables anyone to absorb the material from big books with apparently not too much effort.
The 15-minute synopsis can be thought of as extended summaries, summarizing the highlights of the book.
Integrating this core idea into their landing pages improved signups by 39%.
The above homepage, redesigned according to the principles of Value Proposition was made live in 2018.
Come 2019, just after 6 months of their revamp, they redesigned the homepage once again.
Because people don’t tend to read everything on a page.
The internet is full of distractions and the average reader wouldn’t spend more than half a minute on your landing page.
That’s the reason they changed their full paragraph arguments and blocks of text to simplified one line sentences that captured the essence of what they did.
They used the inverted pyramid of journalism and transformed its use on a homepage copy.
The most important aspects are outlined first followed by secondary social proof statements.
Here’s how it looks now
The lessons we can learn from Blinkist’s strategy?
Blinkist targeted people who wanted to read more books and use that knowledge for self-betterment. A simple summary wouldn’t suffice. Blinkist bridged the gap between the lack of information provided with book reviews and simple summaries by providing a fleshed out summary that aided learning and decision making.
With the 15 minute condensed summary, that’s also available in audio format people could scan what they needed. This helped them decide if the book was in fact for them.
The value proposition and statements made above are amply supported by social proof, followed by instructions on what to do next— Download our app in the iTunes and Google Play store.
Let’s go through one more example.
Skip being clever and embrace clarity
Slack is a messaging app for teams. If you have ever used a chat box, you don’t need initiation into using Slack. It’s that simple, yet combines many powerful features that make it tenable for day to day use, so much so that a few people I know profess of their inability to live without it.
Here’s the homepage Slack had before.
In the example above Slack tries to blend together both value proposition and social proof together.
It’s quite clever in a then not-so-subtle hint that Nasa’s Jet Propulsion team used the tool for communicating among themselves.
If Slack’s enough to put stuff on Mars it’s all-powerful to carry out any project. Slack supports hundreds of integrations and third-party apps which is what makes it so powerful as a messaging app.
But being clever in your copy can often backfire. I feel that’s what happened. If you look at Slack’s new homepage, there are no clever statements—just pure clarity and honesty.
How shouldn’t you write a value proposition?
Don’t mistake simplicity for clarity
There’s no attempt at explaining why someone going to this company would have their lives improved. There’s no proof beyond the single cryptic sentence at the top.
Value propositions camouflaged and hidden deep inside tons of industry jargon benefit no one.
Research your audience first and find their likes, dislikes and motivations.
Don’t make it a cramming festival
The value proposition says, “Accounting software for business owners who dislike bookkeeping.”
The target audience is addressed immediately. We know it’s for business owners. It’s not for every kind of business owner who has a big accounting team but the small guy who does his own accounting and aren’t very good at it.
And that’s where my praise ends.
The points are presented in a Q&A format but it appears as a block of black text on white which is so close together that it would most likely be ignored.
It comes across as a poor attempt to cram in lots of info rather than distilling what’s important in a few lines.
As such the supporting statements may not make much of an impact.
Pointers for testing your value proposition
One thing I recommend to anyone who comes to advise for me is the five-second test.
Use the five second test
With 5 second test, random people visiting the website 5secondtest.com are shown your site in a quick flash lasting 5 seconds.
They’re then asked a few questions that help you glean what they understood about your site from the fleeting vision.
People are only able to remember the most impactful sentences or images when they’re shown a site for five seconds.
If the questions indicate that what they saw isn’t anywhere close to what your business does, change your value proposition and imagery to get it closer to the truth.
After reading this post I guess you’ve now got a strong grasp of the importance of a value proposition. Especially so in branding. It confers a unique advantage to you over your competitors and stands above and beyond the steady stream of marketing messages that influence them on a daily basis.
Nothing could be more valuable in a world where loyalty and attention spans are fleeting than a strong value proposition.
This is only possible if you’re able to take consider feedback and pen down a strong VP.
And remember to find the unique value in each and every one of your products and services – or in any other area when you can.
George is a freelance writer who has been aiding brands with compelling content and well-researched UVPs for over eight years now. Read his blog today.