Every good piece of writing has a hook – something short and sweet to entice readers into wanting more. For your business, your value proposition is the hook that differentiates your company. A value proposition is a concise statement outlining the services you offer, why potential customers would benefit from your business, and what makes you stand out from all the rest. It is more than just a description; it reveals why your business is the customer’s solution. Every successful business needs a strong value proposition if they are to keep up with competitors. Here is everything you need to know about how to write a good value proposition, and how it can elevate your business.
What is a Value Proposition?
Often mistaken for a tagline or mission statement, a value proposition has four specific goals:
- Introduces your brand to potential customers
- Describes how your product or solution solves a specific pain point – a problem that they are struggling to solve – in their lives
- Delivers a “gain point”, or a benefit that they are receiving from you
- Differentiates your business from its competition.
Written from a customer perspective, value propositions reveal the function of your business and why buyers or consumers need you. Your value proposition should be the drumbeat that your sales and marketing march to. Value propositions are the overarching message that should be infused across your marketing efforts. Use your value prop to promote your business as often as you can in order to get the most use out of it. The more people see it and hear your message, the more customers it will bring in. In order for it to be successful, it needs to be functional, relevant, quantifiable and differentiated.
What are the characteristics of a strong Value Proposition?
For starters, a strong value proposition isn’t a static message. It is a continuous evolution. As your business grows and changes, so should your value prop. You also have multiple personas that you market to and, as such, you will have multiple different value propositions.
What is a persona? Personas are an amalgamation of key characteristics and data about your ideal customers. It is not a single, best customer but rather, a mosaic of data about your customers. Within the buyers journey you have an end decision maker, but you also have multiple decision makers along the way that all must be persuaded. The larger the organization you are marketing to, the more decision makers you will encounter and thus must impress. Each one should have their own persona and their own value proposition. In order to achieve this, you will need to ensure that your product or service alleviates each persona’s pain point and achieves their gain point.
How do you craft an effective value proposition for your organization?
Repetition, individuality, exclusivity, and focus on the customer are going to make your company stand out among the competition. An effective value proposition is going to, once again, address both the pain point and the gain point of your customer. Additionally, it will make a unique statement about your business or product that your competitors simply can’t claim. Value propositions are inherent to your business – they must be true to you. However, you can’t get stuck in simply talking about your business, you must first address the customer’s needs and then move to why your business is the solution to those needs.
Your value proposition needs to meet four key requirements in order to be successful:
- Is it concise?
- Is it clear?
- Is it specific to your core customer organization, your core persona?
- Is it unique? Is it something that your competitors simply cannot say?
Once you have a completed value proposition, it should appear on the homepage of your website, in a visible and accessible location. You should also use it in marketing campaigns and on product pages, but the most important place for it to be is your website. That way, when customers visit your site to learn more about your business, the first thing they see is your value proposition telling them all they ways that your business can solve their pain points and improve their lives.
Value Proposition Versus Core Brand Message — What’s the Difference?
In the previous article, we discussed what a value proposition is and how to craft an effective one. Here, we are going to outline the differences between a value proposition and a core brand message. A value proposition is an overarching promise. A core brand message is how you deliver on that promise. It is the vocabulary and the keywords you are going to use to effectively communicate your message and make sure it resonates with your potential customers.
The story of your Core Brand Message
Think of your brand message as a story you tell your persona. You must identify their challenge, or quest, right away. This is their pain point. Then, tie it to an emotional trigger – stress, frustration, insecurity, etc. Next, you must show them what they are going to accomplish or achieve at the end of this quest. This is the gain point. You then must identify yourself as the guide who will give them the map that leads them to this happy ending. Finally, you need to tell them how they are going to feel at the end of this journey after you have guided them through. That negative emotional trigger ought to be perfectly resolved. After their journey is through, your core brand message should include a call to action that inspires your customers to get up and do something.
A crucial aspect in the success of a core brand message is brand authenticity. It does not matter what you are saying if your message doesn’t align with your customers perception. Perception is reality. Therefore, you must always be listening to your customers and keeping in contact with them during every step of the process. In order to ensure success, you must test your core brand message often. It can’t just be static; it must always be evolving as your business grows and changes.
What are your businesses Core Values?
These days, customers do not simply want to know what services you provide, they want to know who they are doing business with. For that to happen, you need to know who you are as a business. When trying to identify the core values of your business, here are some questions you need to consider:
- Which values uniquely define your business?
- How are they different from your competitors?
- What do you do better than your competitors, and why?
- What do your customers say about you?
Be specific with the words you choose to define your business. Think of your business like a person. How would you describe them? What values are important to them in their relationship with others? In this case, what is important to the way in which you conduct business with your customers?
Core values cannot simply be bullet points in an onboarding packet or hanging on a wall somewhere. They have to be authentically proven in every aspect of your business. These need to be universally agreed upon within your company because they are the personality and the makeup of your organization. People are going to see beyond your words and look further at your actions.
You can’t fool anyone. If you do all the workshops and use all the templates but never follow through, it will just be another marketing gimmick and it ultimately won’t work. It cannot simply be empty words. You must make it your mission to follow through and deliver on your word in order to create lasting relationships not only with customers, but with employees and staff as well. In order to become a successful business that people trust, support, and love working for, your core brand message needs to be the heart of your organization.