How to Create an Effective Value Proposition (and Keep Trying When You Fail)
A powerful sales value proposition is essential to hold your viewer’s attention when they visit your website or landing page. Your value proposition explains how your product or service will benefit your customer. It defines what you will do for your customer and why you’re better than other options. Typically the “value prop” is the first or second thing your audience sees, so it’s critical to success. Especially since you have about 5 seconds to grab attention, your value proposition can make or break your sales workflow.
Good Examples of Value Propositions
Send better email. Sell more stuff.
We use MailChimp. Often. Heavily. It’s better than most other competitor systems, and its value is tremendous to sales. Monkey say, monkey do.
Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done.
We use Trello every day to track project information and tasks. It’s easy to collaborate, and everybody gets more done. Yeah, what they said.
The new standard in online payments
Stripe is the best software platform for running an internet business.
One of the fastest rising stars in ecommerce over the past couple of years is Stripe. They went from completely unknown to the default payment system for many ecommerce platforms. So, yes, they’re a standard, and yes, they’re part of many, many internet businesses.
Be Bold. Experiment Everywhere.
Split testing is perhaps a bold strategy for many businesses. Optimizely is one of the key players that you’ll hear about, and their value prop is that they can do it all.
Make Your Private Data Private
In the era of Wikileaks and Anonymous hackers, a user searching for privacy protection might be stoked to find Hider2. The value proposition is totally transparent. Simple.
Poor Examples of Value Propositions
I hate to do it, but I searched for some local examples of value propositions too. I won’t include links, but I’ll explain from screen captures why they are problematic.
A Manhattan Beach Website for Insurance
This site illustrates ME – ME – ME. No value proposition other than ABOUT US. Nice building. Is that what I get?
A Manhattan Beach Website for Accounting
Speaking of the 90s… Frozen center design, tiny type, monochrome and empty chairs?
A Manhattan Beach Website for Website Development
Some companies are really good at getting their site ranked on search engines. But SEO tricks don’t necessarily convert. Despite including a photo of the local pier and the city seal, you’re not local, and you tricked me to get here with the Wikipedia entry.
Another Manhattan Beach Website for Website Development
Oh, you tricked me too. And you just collect leads for other businesses, don’t you…
A Manhattan Beach Website for Dentistry
Ruh row, what are you? A dog dentist? A site that test typefaces? A word cloud? About us as landing page… Design #fail.
Ideas to Consider for Your Value Propositions
Product Meets Benefit
What is your product name and what is the expected benefit? Ecommerce Websites That REALLY Sell For You. Are you addressing a customer pain? Are you conveying the upside?
Straight vs. Clever
There’s a bit of neuroscience going on in good value propositions. Typically you’re trying to tickle a motivation, like curiosity, status or fear. In doing so, you can be clever or to the point – just test to make sure your message is coming across correctly. We see overly clever ideas all the time, and most likely, the results are poor.
Typical Value Proposition Formatting in a Page
- Headlines: Use H1 or H2 to drive SEO benefits
- Eyebrows: Some sites put a little ‘mini-headline’ above the headline (to list the product name, for example)
- Explainer text: Close the deal with a short paragraph
- Call to Action: What do you want the user to do?
Experimenting with Value Propositions
Looking for things to try to optimize your value propositions? Test:
- Content: change the image, headline, description, eyebrow or call to action
- Size: change the size of the image (bigger or smaller)
- Location: eye tracking shows different results on left versus right, so see how your audience reads
- Color: mix up text and button colors on occasion to see what works best
V Is for Value Proposition
Honestly, there’s no magic formula for creating a superior value proposition. Every business is different, every visitor is different and every day is different. You need to make a list and start testing to see what works (now). You should, however, focus your value propositions on one thing: the customer’s need or desire. If you’re talking about yourself, it’s probably not valuable to others. What’s In It For Me? WIIFM. If your business trades on that premise, most likely you’ll do better than WIIFY…
Good Value Propositions
- Spark interest
- Tie to offering
- Help with search engines
Bad Value Propositions
- Sound like a vendor (boring)
We’re always looking at value propositions across industries for successful ones. They’ll tap a heart string, make us laugh, make us mad or make us crazy. The good ones make us feel something. We already experienced that pain, and this could be the answer. Great value propositions answer the question that hasn’t been asked yet. Does yours? If not, you can start thinking up some new ones soon and commence testing them!