Imagine you have five seconds to communicate what’s great about your product to your market. In effect, you do. Your potential customers are busy people, and if they don’t see the immediate appeal of your product over the competition’s, they’re going to click away from your page. You need to know how to create a value proposition. Your value proposition can make or break your business, so it’s imperative to get it right.
Specifically, value proposition refers to a summation of your product’s results and advantages for the customer. It should be a brief statement that includes exactly how your product addresses your client’s needs, and what makes it better than competing products. More than just a buzzword, a well-crafted value proposition can actually help your business grow and perform, by pushing you to pinpoint and build on just what makes your business special. The perfect value proposition will include the concrete, measurable benefits of your product, and help you identify those benefits and perfect them.
Here are our key steps to create a great value proposition:
Know your audience
You know your product, but potential clients aren’t going to be hooked unless they feel that you know them, and are tuned in to their needs. Your product could be amazing, but a lead isn’t going to become a customer unless it solves a particular pain point for them.
Focus on three major aspects of your target market:
- their needs
- their wants
- their fears
Needs are the “easy” part: this is what they need the product to do for them (e.g. organise their data, manage their employees, clean their floor, whatever). Presumably, you’re already confident in your ability to satisfy your customer’s needs.
Their “wants” are more about the kind of experience they’re looking for in getting their needs met, and what will ultimately turn their attention away from the competition and towards your product. This is where your value proposition really needs to hit home: you’re selling an experience that’s better than the experience that anyone else can offer, and appealing to your target’s emotional responses.
The third aspect of your target market is also crucial: their fears. This is the natural risk-aversion that might make your potential clients suspicious of your product. People are generally inclined to stick with what they know instead of trying something new. Your value proposition should address those fears, to convince them to take the plunge and try your product.
Be better than the best
Although it seems simple, this is where many businesses stumble. Often, businesses pitch themselves against lackluster or abstract competition. However, your customers are smarter than that, and they’re likely shopping around between you and the other top choices on the market.
Your value proposition should sell your product against the strongest competition out there, not the weakest.
Take a good look at your strongest competitor. Now zero in on what you offer that they can’t. This is where you should really develop your product’s unique selling points. Maybe you’re smaller than the other guy, but you can offer a more personalised approach to each client and implement new innovations more easily. Or, maybe you can sell your round-the-clock responsiveness.
This approach – to juxtapose your product against the best, or next-best alternative – is also a great way to identify weaknesses in your product or business model, before they become fatal flaws. Crafting a value proposition takes more than just writing the best story for your product: it means building, and selling, something you have absolute confidence in.
Don’t try to please everyone
Your value proposition must be specific, which means you can’t be all things to all people. If you try to please everyone, you’ll just end up watering down your message. Don’t worry about addressing every imaginable need in one statement. Instead, figure out which pain point is really plaguing your target market and really hammer home how you are the only one who will solve that pain point.
Again, this is where it’s important to know your target market. Identify your ideal customer– their age, profession, needs, and habits– and tailor your value proposition to them specifically. If you must, you can break down a couple sub-groups in addition to that target customer, but don’t lose your focus.
Keep it concise
Of course, you could go on and on about what makes your product special, but that comes after the value proposition. Your value proposition should be almost like a thesis statement for your product: the shortest, most effective way to say the most important thing about your product.
A great value proposition should be just one or two sentences. It should state exactly what your product does to address your client’s pain point and how it does that better than anyone else on the market.