Your target audience has money, and you want it. That’s not the only thing that factors into business — there are certainly plenty of complexities — but it is the core of the matter. And to get that money, you must convince that audience that it stands to get something better in return. That’s the aim of a value proposition: to present whatever you’re offering in such an appealing way that people will gladly part with their hard-earned cash.
But how exactly do you create such a proposition? Something that can convince even skeptical visitors to take immediate action? Well, it bears noting that there’s no magic secret, and no perfect value proposition — but there are some steps you can take that will consistently produce compelling hooks. Let’s run through them to see how you can raise your marketing game.
Carry out competitor research
When you present a product or service to a prospective customer, you’re not pitching in a vacuum — you’re setting out your stall in a digital arena near-saturated with competitors. This means that the efficacy of whatever you say and do will be heavily determined by context. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all marketing pitch.
Imagine trying to sell meatballs in a room of meatball sellers: even if you can make a compelling case that yours are the best, you aren’t going to stand out. Now imagine selling ice cream in that room instead. Even if your ice cream isn’t amazing, you’ll attract a lot of custom because you’re different from what’s around you, and because your product naturally complements the others in the room (enjoying some dessert after some meatballs makes a lot of sense).
Before you begin working on your value proposition, then, look at what your main rivals are doing. How are they finding distinct ways to sell products or services similar to yours? What do their unique selling points appear to be? You’ll want to learn from their work, but ultimately go in your own direction — in the end, your goal is to find a way to stand out from them and others.
Carefully choose your language and tone
To persuade someone, you need to speak their language. Dry formality will alienate casual readers, while lack-back slang will undercut the production quality of a luxury brand. Speak to your prospective customers. Read what they have to say on social media and websites. Find out how they talk about your niche.
Be sure to get a meaningful cross-section of your entire audience, because you may well find that there’s a significant amount of variation throughout it. Some companies have highly niche audiences, but what if you cater to a broad range of people? What ultimately matters for your content is what unifies them. To achieve the greatest impact, you must find a message capable of compelling the majority.
Once you know the type of language that resonates with your general audience most clearly, you can adopt it (tastefully, of course) for your value proposition. It’s a horrible waste when a company has an exceptional product but finds a way to dress it up with such horrible phrasing that the target audience immediately recoils from it. Phrase carefully, and you’ll see success.
Find the problem, and present the solution
This is the heart of a strong value proposition. Weak efforts will often list features, throwing out impressive-sounding stats, figures and dimensions in an effort to showcase objective quality — but objective quality is a means to an end, not an end in itself. We buy high-quality things because of what they can do, or what they can bring to our lives.
Advertisers have long understood the format of describing the prospective customer’s problem before swooping in to save the day with the solution. A cleaning-product service might well go with something akin to “Sick of dealing with dirty windows? Hate paying for a cleaner to come sort them out? Our new Wind-Clean Spray makes window dirt a thing of the past, and takes seconds to apply — no cleaner needed.”
This approach is far superior to listing the size of the bottle, the weight of the contents, and all the safety bodies that have approved it. You should still include that information, just not in the value proposition. Think about the formatting of a single-page product description, cut into panels with each one featuring content that suits the vertical position: you start with a hook, segue into the most compelling copy, then provide the dry details at the bottom of the page so the readers not yet convinced are rewarded for continuing to scroll down.
Tie it into a clear brand identity
To add some force to the solution you’re presenting, attach it to a simple brand identity — something straightforward that you can meaningfully commit to. Let’s take a classic example in the form of consumer electronics titan Apple. Apple set itself apart as the champion of user-friendly designs (however much it failed to live up to that over the years), top-quality hardware, and beautiful aesthetics. Every product it makes is related to that identity, and you can see it from every Apple product page out there.
You won’t, of course, have the brand recognition of Apple, but you can ensure that every one of your value propositions falls in line with everything you say on your website and your social media profiles. If you’re all about the finer things in life, then show it consistently. If your goal is to make life easier, then emphasize that element of every product you sell.
The more your company actually seems to be invested in the presented goals of its products, the more convincing those goals will be — and the more willing people will be to believe that what you’re offering can indeed solve their problems. If you do an exceptional job of establishing your brand identity, you’ll find that customers will even start recommending you unprompted — this is key for fighting the churn, a vital process with customer retention rapidly rising in value.
Showcase items in the most positive light
Presentation is a part of pitching a product that mustn’t be underestimated. After all, value is communicated through more than text — the visuals you use will hugely affect how a product comes across. Do you have blurry low-resolution images with poor cropping? Or do you have glossy well-lit in-situ product photos that look sharp on even the biggest screens?
Keep in mind that your visual content isn’t going to be confined to your website, or even your official social media accounts. It’ll be scraped by search engines and scattered across myriad channels — used by bloggers for featured images, and featured in snippets when people link to your product pages. You might have an image big enough for your website design, but if a media organization approaches you with an idea to write about one of your products, will you have a high-resolution version to send them? It’s best to start with the biggest source files possible: you can trim them as required, but store them so you have them when needed.
What’s more, you can expand your visuals today with VR/AR content. Even something as simple as an interactive 360-degree rotation of a product can make a big difference in how it’s perceived. People will view it as more of a premium item to have warranted that kind of effort. And since the average ecommerce CMS will have native VR/AR support and/or a selection of viable apps, add-ons, plugins or extensions, it’s not that hard to implement.
Provide convincing social proof
When we’re called upon to make weighty decisions, we don’t often like to act alone. We crave approval from others, whether we acknowledge it or not, and will unconsciously look to how others are acting to gauge how normal (and presumably justified) our actions are. And the key to taking advantage of this in a value proposition is to cite social proof: evidence that the reader’s peers are completely sold on the value on offer.
Ecommerce has understood this from the beginning, offering social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials to overcome the trust issue inherent to using digital stores to buy physical items. If you can see that 100 people have previously purchased something and been delighted with the results, you’ll feel much less reluctant to trust that it is what you hope it to be (and you may even feel a distinct tinge of the all-powerful FOMO, or fear of missing out).
Try drawing out some notable pieces of commentary to push your value proposition over the edge. Suppose that you’ve had a resounding endorsement from an influential figure whose opinion your target audience is likely to take seriously — display it prominently as a core convincer, and let it do your work for you.
Why Should You Create a Value Proposition?
Mess up your value propositions, and you’ll waste all your dedicated effort elsewhere: everything that went into perfecting your products and/or services, finding your audience, and establishing a strong online presence. What you want to do is creating an irresistible high-value offer to attract clients to your business. Follow the tips above to polish your pitches and win far more conversions.
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