Why every company needs a value proposition (and how to write one)

What is a value proposition?
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Value proposition. Another fancy schmancy marketing word that bears little relevance to the reality of running a growing business?

Put it this way. If you can’t clearly articulate what it is that you sell and why people should buy it (versus another similar product), you will struggle.

By taking a little bit of time to think about how to best convey your value proposition, you will make life much easier for yourself when it comes to deciding what to put on your website, and any other marketing materials.

Getting customers to quickly understand how you can help them will give you a crucial advantage in this noisy world.

How to write a value proposition

Step #1 – Identify the useful features of your product or service

Simply jot down a list of the things that your customer will consider to be useful features.

Step #2 – Identify the value that will come from the features that you have listed

Look at your features list and for every feature, describe the benefit that this will bring. For example if you are a plumber, the feature may be 24 hour callout.

The benefit is that the customer can book an appointment at a time that suits them, even if it’s the middle of the night. Sounds obvious but benefits carry a higher level of resonance, and are more persuasive than features.

Step #3 – Identify your points of differentiation

Chances are you will have competition. How are you different to them? You should pick something that makes you stand out. Perhaps it’s a satisfaction guarantee, a speed promise or price match (although it’s generally not a good idea to use price as a differentiator).

Look at your competition and think about how you will differentiate from them in a way that will be important or interesting to the customer.

Once you have completed this exercise, you should have enough to start writing some words for your website or marketing materials.

Focus on benefits not features

This really just serves to reinforce the points made above about translating features to benefits. If you are selling a product and are trying to give people a reason to buy it, it’s easy to arrive at a long list of features.

Let’s take an example.

If I’m selling a bicycle, the features may be that it folds up, has 16 gears and in build lights front and rear.

It may be an accurate description, but is it enough to persuade people to buy your product?

By translating the features into benefits, you can more effectively convey value to customers.

“It folds up….so you can carry it around with ease and get on to even the busiest commuter train.”

“It has 16 gears…..so you can tackle both uphill and downhill with relative ease”

“It has in built lights….so you can ride safely and confidently in the dark.”

Unlike ‘features’ which simply describes the product, ‘benefits’ convey the reason why someone should buy. They more effectively position your product as a solution to the problem your customers face.

Problem – solution

In crafting a value proposition, you should think hard about the problem you are trying to solve for the customer, and how your product fits it.

By thinking about the customers problem, it forces you to think from the customers perspective and really get into their shoes.

For example, leading with price may be off putting if the majority of your customers are more concerned with speed or quality.

A great trick here is to think about the emotions that people face when confronted by the problem that your product or service solves.

For example if you are a yoga teacher, you can illustrate stiffness, joint pain and perhaps the social element of a regular group meetup ……and counter this with the solution of a yoga class which can increase flexibility, reduce joint pain in a fun & sociable environment.

And finally…

Aim for:

  • Clarity
  • Consistency
  • Relevance
  • Repetition
  • Reinforcement

You may not have heard of “The Rule of 7”, but it’s one of the oldest concepts in marketing and still stands true in todays world.

Basically a prospective buyer needs to see your message on average 7 times before they will buy from you.

The above 5 points will help you in pursuit of the “The Rule of 7”.

In general, it’s better to say a few things over and over than have a broad variety of messages and offerings.

Clarity, consistency, relevance, repetition and reinforcement will help make you more memorable. It will mean that those people who see your marketing messaging but don’t need your product or service at that moment in time, will think of you (and not your competitors) when their moment of need arises.

Check out our article about The Marketing Rule of 7 over on B2B Marketing.

Get in touch with us for a free 20 minute consultation and we can advise you on how to craft a winning value proposition for your company.

Faisal Mian - Entrepreneur - Freelancer

Written by Jonathan Hedger

Jonathan Hedger is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM/FCIM) with over 15 years experience in B2B marketing & ecommerce having held senior positions for a number of market leading brands as well as VC backed startups.

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