How to write a brilliant value proposition
Writing a brilliant value proposition is the most important task a business can undertake.
I’ve been asked by a few clients recently to help them with their website copy and social media profiles. These clients have great businesses. They know who their markets are and why their clients should choose them. But it’s not made clear the minute a visitor lands on their website, LinkedIn or Twitter bio.
This is because they haven’t written their value proposition.
A brilliant value proposition needs to convey very quickly:
- What you do and who you do it for
- What value you add to your clients
- Why a prospective client would choose you over your competitors.
They are difficult to write but don’t let that put you off. A rock-solid value proposition on your homepage will massively increase the likelihood of a visitor who needs what you offer becoming a client. It will also reduce wasted sales time by eliminating visitors contacting you who are unlikely to become clients. So, where do you start?
Start by making a list of people you can ask about their experience of selecting you. It’s a good idea to include past clients, existing clients and prospective clients who didn’t select you but chose another supplier. Ask them if they don’t mind spending some time with you to answer a few questions and book time with them. Develop a list of questions that will help you identify your value proposition, for example:
Why did you choose us over my competitors? What was it you particularly liked about us over and above everyone else? If you didn’t choose us, what was it that you preferred about my competitor?
What benefits do you get by working with us? What do you like about working with us? If you had to choose again, would you still choose to work with me?
Is there anything you think we could be doing better? Is there anything else we ought to be doing?
Remember, don’t prompt/put words into clients mouths and be objective. It can be easier to outsource this element of the work as clients are often more comfortable giving feedback if it’s to somebody they don’t know.
Transcribe the answers clients have given you. You can then put this into a wordcloud and you will probably start to see similar words appearing, this is the basis of your value proposition. Don’t ignore the negative words, use this as a means of improving your service offering.
For example, an architect might see ‘cutting-edge design, professional, modern’. On the converse, clients might see ‘expensive’. That doesn’t need to be in the value proposition, but if an architect is ahead of the crowd in design skills and a client wants a ‘grand design’ project, they are likely to pay more than competitors who won’t deliver what they want.
Take your word cloud and start writing. You will need a few attempts but start with a headline that gets across the main benefits to clients. In the architect example, you would focus on the design ‘Bringing fresh and exciting design to clients who are looking for their own grand design.’
Include some detail around what you offer, to whom and why and some bullets outlining the benefits.
In the architect example, you might go on to add bullets around the fact that you not only offer cutting-edge design, but that you have the experience and project management skills to ensure the build gets through planning and construction. You do this for clients looking for their forever home.
4. Test for clarity
Do people understand it? Do they ask you further questions about it? If it’s not clear and easily understood, you need to go back to the drawing board. Go back to the clients you asked in the first place. Ask your team, your friends. If people don’t understand it quickly, it’s not right.
A few pointers.
It’s not a strap line or slogan. It needs to be something that is easily understand by potential clients. It also needs to be shared across your organisation so that everyone can articulate what you do, why clients choose you and what value you add.
Be objective – this can be hard when it’s your own business but it’s so important. You want to get it right, so listen to the feedback from your clients, don’t prompt them during the research phase and don’t embellish. It can be a good idea to outsource this element so that you ensure objectivity throughout.
Remember, people need to get it quickly so be concise.
I’ve included a few examples of companies who have done it really well.
www.giveclarity.org – this is really clear as to who their market is and what value they add. You understand it as soon as you land on the homepage. So, if you’re not a charity but want Salesforce integration you won’t contact them.
www.infusionsoft.com – this is a marketing and sales software company, so you’d expect them to get it right, but I love this. ‘Sales and marketing automation software built exclusively for small business success’ In 11 words, I understand that Infusionsoft is aimed at small businesses, it’s a sales and marketing automation tool and it works. As I read the rest of the homepage I see the success outlined in a series of bullet points.
Writing your value proposition takes time, effort and energy, but it is so worth it. Afterall, there are plenty of ‘me too’ businesses out there, but there’s no reason for your business to be one.