While some marketers agonize over a call to action and those in branding will hem and haw over slight changes in the font of a logo, it is possible that your most important decision will be deciphering the language for your value proposition.
What does a value proposition do that makes it so crucial? Take a look at the value propositions of a number of successful companies and you see that these work out exactly how to boil down what your company does and how into a quick and impactful phrase.
What is a Value Proposition?
The most intriguing thing about a value proposition is that it should live in both in the world of created perception and in what is perceived.
That is to say that you want your value proposition to represent your company, while simultaneously allowing a consumer to understand how the product is to be delivered to them specifically. A good value proposition identifies both the company and the consumer and why a customer should choose your service over any other. It wants to identify pain points and demonstrate how your company will alleviate them.
All in the space of about 10 syllables. It’s a bit of a tall order, but absolutely critical to get right.
At the very least, in order to foster the best impact, the value proposition must be:
- Short, clear, and directive (around 10 syllables is best practice)
- Easily searchable through online browsers
- Prominently displayed on the landing page of your website
How to avoid creating a bad Value Proposition?
Unfortunately, it is very easy to get your value proposition wrong. Many companies will rely on their own internal knowledge and unknowingly obscure the value of their service in jargon, assuming that their customers will understand their message.
If you offer lengthy explanations, you risk people tuning out. You have only about an average of a minute to convince a customer to use your service through your website. It’s necessary to grab them right away.
Another way companies can approach this poorly is to use meaningless buzzwords or opinion related (instead of fact-based) concepts to try to make their value proposition. The phrasing should always be value-focused rather than subjective, i.e. for a shoe company:
“The best shoes you will ever have”
It does not make for a good value proposition. It is general. It doesn’t identify a problem and it doesn’t propose a solution.
Generalities are the enemy of a good value proposition. It’s critical to identify your audience and try not to be too many things to too many people. Specificity and a realistic notion of your audience are imperative to creating a proper value proposition.
So, for example:
“Beachcomber flip-flops that never flop off.”
Creates a value to a company — here the phrasing identifies a pain point: Flip-flops can fall off. Then it evaluates an audience: people who go to the beach. By addressing these kinds of points, you start to move toward a value proposition that will work well for you.
However, there are different kinds of value propositions that work most effectively for different kinds of companies. Here are some examples of styles of value propositions that have allowed for the business they represent to achieve massive success and what we can learn from them.
One of the most important aspects of a value proposition can be that it provides something that had been more difficult in a simpler way.
The value proposition of the rideshare service Uber (on the customer side) is a simple phrase:
“Get a ride in minutes”
By taking advantage of the customer’s desire for a ride, right away, Uber identified the customer (people who need rides) and the pain point (it takes too long). They promote that they are just faster and easier than a traditional taxi or ride service.
While you might consider that a prominent company like Airbnb would expect people to already know what their services offer, they still go back to their core for the value proposition language. Even if you had never heard of Airbnb, you would understand their model from this short phrase.
“Book unique homes and experiences”
From this, you can identify that Airbnb is not just a hotel service but has something that draws a customer that is searching for something different in a vacation spot or experience. Notice that they instruct the customer on what they should do and focus on their strength: exclusivity.
Evernote is a site that offers organizational tools for busy people. They play on the idea that there is an obvious negative connotation to being disorganized and that their demographic feels that becoming organized has been too much trouble in the past.
Their value statement: “Feel organized without the effort”
This puts ideas surrounding the organization into perspective for the consumer. Being organized is hard, Evernote will alleviate this pain point.
Twitter is a site that provides social media connections in a unique way. How is Twitter unique? The major idea behind Twitter is that it allows you to follow immediate trends. Its focus on this kind of immediacy is what makes it different from Facebook or Instagram.
Twitter capitalizes on this with a value proposition that states:
“See what’s happening in the world right now”
This capitalizes on their business model, providing up to the second coverage of anything you want to know. They focus on their global market and that they provide a glimpse of up to the second news.
Doubling up on Value Propositions
Some companies, like Uber and Airbnb, have more than one value proposition on their landing page. That is because they have more than one audience to hit right away.
With Uber, their second value proposition: “Get in the Driver’s Seat and Get Paid” is 9 syllables that identify the customers that are looking for jobs with Uber and explain what their service can do for them. It also has a metaphorical context that works well – using the idea of “getting in the driver’s seat” as taking your life (and your work schedule) in your own hands.
Airbnb also has a sidebar proposition on their landing page that connects with those that want to list their properties on the site. It simply reads “List your place” (and lower down List your experience). Since they already defined their service in the initial proposition, these are clear to those who are coming at the service from a different angle.
These examples of value propositions can give you some perspective on how to build your own in the best way. CleverTap compiled even more examples of how other billion dollar companies worked out this aspect of their marketing piece.
Basically, you need to make sure that you primarily identify your audience, then explain to them specifically how you will solve an issue they have been having. The best value propositions all focus directly on the user instead of the company they are visiting. By giving thought to who the person is who will visit, rather than what you think your company represents, you can create better value.
Have you seen and truly terrible value propositions lately, or maybe one that makes you wish you’d come up with it first. Comment below with thoughts on how value propositions you’ve seen have worked and where they might have failed big time.