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If you do not know how to describe how you are different from competitors to your prospects, I hate to break it to you, but lacking differentiation will negatively affect your business growth.
It can be increasingly challenging to stand out in a saturated market, but therein lies the importance of taking the time to refine your unique value proposition, so that your competitors can’t copy you and your perfect-fit customers can choose you again and again — instead of heading to competitors who offer a similar service, program or product.
Why does your brand need a unique value proposition?
Your value proposition is the most important thing about your brand. Customers are busy. A strong value proposition will not only keep your prospect’s attention on social media, but it will also help them remember your brand as a whole over time.
A strong unique value proposition also makes your customers understand what makes YOU different from your competitors. It helps prospects understand why they should care, what you’re about and if you have what they’re looking for.
With a strong value proposition, your prospect will understand what it is about your brand that only you can deliver. No one else. When you nail your value proposition, it will resonate with perfect-fit customers. Your audience will understand who you are for, what’s in it for them and how you are different from brands with similar offerings.
Without a strong value proposition, your ideal customer won’t understand how you are the best person to serve them, how you’re different and why they should choose you over other solutions. You may also have customers who are dissatisfied because their expectations were different from what was marketed to them. When you are clear about your value proposition, this will increase customer happiness and brand loyalty.
Related: What is Your Value Proposition?
What is not a value proposition?
Before we get to examples of good value propositions and how to write one, let’s clarify something important. A value proposition is not:
features of a product or service
your mission statement
your core values
facts about your product or service
a brand story
what you say to your Uber driver when asked, “What do you do for a living?”
A unique value proposition is the promise you deliver to your customers. Which brings us to … how do you write a strong value proposition? Below are some of my suggestions on writing a strong value proposition so that you can continue to attract your perfect-fit customers, retain them and increase referrals to your business.
1. Make it about the customer
Understanding your customers’ problems, desired transformations and failed attempts before trying your solution is crucial to communicating the unique value your brand has to offer. This also helps your customer see what no other brand has offered before. Perhaps your value proposition is in the way you deliver your product or program. Or your experience. Or how you developed your process in the first place.
But before you get to that, if you want prospects to see the true value of your offer, avoid making the common mistake of focusing too much on yourself and your credentials or your process before focusing on the customers’ needs. Instead, research and deeply listen to your customers before and after they try your product.
Related: Does Your Value Proposition Need a Checkup?
2. Make it clear
If your customers cannot understand clearly what you do and the unique value you provide to them, they will go to a competitor. If they visit your website and it’s unclear, they’ll bounce.
When you have creative boundaries around who you serve and who you do not serve, plus what you do differently, you can control the story the market says about you. This will help you position your value and price your offers realistically.
3. Make it desirable
Writing a strong value proposition means that you’ll put your customer’s needs, desires, motivations and struggles first — before the product. To make your value proposition desirable, understand what your customers have already tried so that you can address their most immediate needs in relation to their failed attempts.
4. Make it specific
You may have heard the saying, “If you choose to be everything to everyone, you end up speaking to no one.” In addition, when you have a value proposition with an element of specificity, such as speed or something quantifiable, and when you fulfill that promise, you’ll stay top of mind for your customer.
5. Make it concise
This tip is not just for the designer who will be designing headlines on your website. The more concise your value proposition, the easier it is for a reader to remember you. Being concise is crucial to being memorable, so you can live in the mind of the reader who wants to remember you and how you are different from competitors.
Related: Why Startups Must Tirelessly Communicate Their Value Proposition
How do you improve a value proposition?
The best value proposition will always come from testing your messaging and consistently listening to real customers — not just by brainstorming what’s in your head. Get feedback from real potential customers through 1:1 interviews, surveys, message mining and competitor analysis. Then organize the messages you’ve found.
Once you’ve come up with a value proposition and how it relates to what you do better than anyone else, test the messaging in order to understand what promises your customers want to be delivered, what resonates the most with existing customers and what attracts new customers.
One way to test a value proposition is to test messages using click traffic through Facebook Ads. Simply create a graphic with a neutral background, and add a different message to a new slide to create new messages you want to test. When you have a lower lead acquisition cost in comparison to what you’ve already tested before, you have a tested message.
Another way to test a unique value proposition is by using the five-second test. Softwares exist to help you facilitate a five-second test, which helps you gauge a potential customer’s memory and understanding of the messaging above the fold on a webpage.
You can also have people you know take a look at the message you’d like to test for five seconds. Ask them what they think your brand is about based on what they saw, and make adjustments based on their feedback.
You don’t have to have an entire sales page written, nor do you need fancy software. All you need is words on a page and good questions. You’ll also want to test your value proposition using one of the methods above before you launch something.
You can grow a business without a unique value proposition. But if you want a brand that lasts and outshines competitors, you need a strong and unique value proposition. Finding and communicating a value proposition is crucial to the growth and longevity of your business. Spend extra time testing your value proposition and getting feedback from customers or prospects to make it clear, memorable, concise, specific, unique and highly desirable to the customer.