How to Create a Compelling Value Proposition (with 6 Examples…)
How many products have you come across with “award-winning” or “unlock your potential” smeared across their marketing collateral? Urgh. In a crowded market, these worn-out pitches just don’t work.
To snag your prospect’s attention, you need to replace those fancy-sounding promises with a solid value proposition. You need to clearly articulate your product’s unique benefits in a way that’s relatable to your target customers.
If you’re a lesser-known company, your value proposition statement carries even more significance. It needs to intrigue and compel a prospect to try your company’s products.
In this article, you’ll learn how to create a compelling value proposition that persuades your prospects to choose you over your competitors. Let’s start by defining what, exactly, a value proposition is–and what it isn’t.
What Is a Value Proposition?
For businesses, a value proposition is crucial to communicate their product or service's benefits clearly and differentiate themselves from competitors. It provides a clear and compelling reason for customers to choose their product or service.
For example Wynter, a B2B message testing platform, puts a data-backed proposition on its homepage for its visitors. “Get up to 73% more demos and signups through better messaging.”
Do not confuse the value proposition with the tagline of your company– your value prop lays out the benefits of your product, while the tagline is a catchphrase to help prospects remember and recall your brand.
According to Mihaela Muresan, marketing strategist and brand architect, “The slogan should be the artistic and condensed expression of a well-defined value proposition, memorable and embedded in the brand personality.”
It’s also different from your positioning statement—which is a subset of the value prop—and meant to communicate the benefits of your product for a particular campaign or a specific audience persona:
Importance of a Value Proposition
Many founders struggle to articulate what their company offers in a succinct manner. If it’s such a common challenge, why even bother creating a good value proposition?
Here are the top three reasons:
- Differentiation from competitors: As per Gartner’s Global Software Buying Trends, the average buyer considers up to five software providers before making a choice. Your value proposition statement is a competitive advantage that convinces them you’re better than the rest. It can align your marketing strategy across different channels.
- Ensure prospects spend more time on your website: In a 2011 study, NNGroup found that users spend only 10-20 seconds on a website. If you can clearly communicate your value proposition in under 10 seconds, you can get visitors to spend a few minutes on your company website. Today, users may press the back button even sooner, so your proposition is even more important.
- Increase your sales: The best value propositions make your sales team’s job easier. They give your potential customers a compelling reason to buy from you that isn’t based on price. In fact, we mention ‘nailing down your unique value prop’ as the first step for practicing value-based selling.
How to Write a Strong Value Proposition for Your Business
Picture this: You conduct market research to get a feel of the competition. Then you begin writing your value prop. You badly want to craft something unique. But you end up hitting a wall. What if I told you that you don’t need to compose something out of this world?
Here are a few simple steps you can follow to draft an effective value proposition:
Learn the Types of Consumer Benefits
Even if the product or services you sell aren’t unique—which will be the case for most of us—you simply need to find a weakness of the competition that your product excels at. Then, highlight that benefit in your value proposition. This will help you stand out in your target market’s mind.
And there are only so many ways you can offer benefits to consumers. Below is a categorization based on Anthony Tjan’s (CEO, Managing Partner and Founder of the venture capital firm, Cue Ball) Harvard Business Review article that can come in handy:
- You offer high quality
- Be the cheapest product in the market
- You sell a wealthy lifestyle to aspirational consumers
- You offer basic goods or critical info that your target market can’t do without
If the above framework doesn’t resonate, you can read the five value nets suggested by strategists David Bovet and Joseph Martha. The goal of the exercise is to find what you’re selling: the customer experience, ease of use, or something else.
Conduct Customer Interviews
If you already have your ideal customer profile (ICP) figured out, you can probably skip this step. Otherwise, you need to conduct some research on your customer’s needs, pain points, and understand how they imagine their world, and phrase the problems your product solves. Interviewing them is one of the best ways to tighten your positioning.
Alternatively, unlock the power of effective customer profiling with our comprehensive Ideal Customer Profile Templates, designed to help you understand, attract, and engage your target audience like never before.
Use the Value Proposition Canvas
Integrating elements from behavioral psychology and design thinking, the value proposition canvas is a great visual tool to craft your unique value proposition (UVP). It consists of two parts: the customer profile and the value map.
In total, it consists of seven areas to explore, with a question for each area of exploration (as visible in the graphic below). If it interests you, you can learn more about Peter Thomson’s proposition canvas here.
For example, below is a canvas for Evernote, a note taking mobile app. Its value proposition is “anchored on simplicity and speed.”
Settle on a Simple Structure
You’ve learned various tactics and frameworks to create a UVP. But don’t overcomplicate the process. Remember, a key ingredient of a value prop for visitors is clarity. It even triumphs over persuasion.
How can you keep your message clear?
Peter Caputa, the CEO at Databox, highlights the importance of defining “who you help” first when thinking of your positioning. Therein lies the answer.
He says, “Your buyers don’t care about how you do what you do or what beliefs you have, at first. (That matters, but not at first).
They want to glance at your home page or your LinkedIn profile, do a quick Google search & find someone who helps PEOPLE LIKE THEM with PROBLEMS THEY HAVE. You get one second of consideration before they swipe left.”
He offers a simple starting point for your positioning (which you can also use for your value prop): "I help [type of companies] who struggle with [problems].”
“Let them ask how, why, etc,” he goes on to say.
You can model the above statement in the second person to begin drafting your UVP. Indeed you can expand it into a simple structure below:
- A benefit-driven headline: Based on Caputa’s suggestions above, you can use a simple statement like, “We help [your target market] who struggle with [problems in the words of your customers]” to start.
- Subheadline: You can use what they call an H2 (or heading 2 tag) in SEO to expand on the benefit above. It can include specific features, why what you do matters, or even another follow up benefit.
- Hero image: Using a visual that shows your product in action is a nice touch. They can convey your value faster than words or support your copy.
- Relevant call to action (CTA): Most software product landing pages follow on their promises made with a relevant CTA, such as “Sign up for free” or “Get a demo.”
The Trello homepage follows a neat structure of the kind we discussed above. Besides a headline, subtitle, and a visual on the right-hand side, they also have a link to “Watch video” of the product.
Note that research by Speero found descriptive value propositions get noticed quicker. So put your copywriting chops to use to ensure you get more text on the page.
Validate Your Value Proposition
Peep Laja, the founder of Wynter and a conversion rate optimization thought leader, says, “If I could give you only one piece of conversion optimization advice, 'test your value proposition' would be it.” So once you have your UVP, here are some ways to A/B test it:
- Run PPC ads: Once you’ve your company’s value proposition, put it front and center on a landing page. Then run Facebook or Google ads to validate it.
- Use A/B testing tools: You can also use Wynter, a B2B message testing tool, to put your value proposition in front of your ideal customers. It can help you derive qualitative insights into where you’re falling short.
Before you use your value proposition in your marketing campaigns, you want to feel confident about it. Emma Stratton drives the point home beautifully, “I believe validation is really confidence. Do whatever it takes for you to feel confident about the new positioning and messaging.
Because if you don’t feel confident, you might not put it out there consistently – which is the only path to true validation. Validation is confidence. And confidence is critical!”
6 Great Value Proposition Examples (+ 2 Average Ones)
To get your creative juices flowing, I have compiled eight examples of compelling value propositions with some notes on why they work. You won’t find large corporations like Apple or Uber—instead, they are all B2B and SaaS companies that did a great job.
I am not the ideal customer for some of these businesses, so take my comments with a grain of salt. :)
App and software deals are appealing to most SaaS professionals. So AppSumo drives its value prop with a convincing promise. They already live up to this promise in the second line itself by offering an “additional 10% discount” on the first order.
I also like how they've displayed their software lineup, along with the offered deals, right next to the key messaging.
2. Y Combinator
Y Combinator puts forth its selling point to entrepreneurs in a succinct yet impactful sentence. The photo and impressive numbers on the RHS back them and make a strong case for startups to work with them.
The headline hooks with an emotional phrasing "Everything you are." But, in the second half, they get functional and speak of a tool their audience may relate to. The numbers establish strong social proof, while the CTA prompts users to claim their username. The images on the right show the tool in action and highlight the use cases.
The headline of CXL is attention-grabbing for an ambitious marketer. The text below elaborates on what they teach (in-demand marketing skills) and the mode through which they do it (online courses). The testimonial on the right establishes social proof as well.
Using simple text, Beacons nails their UVP. They lead with what matters the most to their audience of creators. Then, the subheadline expands on how they do it and nudges the visitor to sign up by offering a “free” version.
The company puts a couple of key benefits for drivers—its target audience—front and center. The added bullet pointers are straightforward and elaborate on these. And the visual on the RHS creates intrigue about its unique feature.
While I love the company’s email marketing software and its founder, Nathan’s, wisdom on social media, their value prop falls short. They probably want to become the default marketing platform for all creators—so they use a rotating value proposition. The keyword ‘book’ and the image on the left keep rotating to address different types of creators. This leads to a “fuzzy positioning,” as Peep Laja would say.
Their headline itself, “the creator marketing platform”, doesn’t communicate any strong benefit of using the product.
Agencies are challenging to differentiate. In the case of CIENCE, they begin with a rather generic title that they offer services and software. In the subheadline, they expand on that with more of what they offer. And use some high-sounding language to go with it. Their messaging seems focused on themselves instead of making their audience the hero.
Value Proposition Template
If you’re looking for a quick template to write your value prop, here are a couple of options:
1. Geoff Moore’s value proposition template: A management consultant, Geoff’s framework relies on five simple questions:
- For [your target customer]
- Who [statement of need or opportunity]
- Our [product name]
- Is [your product’s category]
- That [the main benefit your product offers]
Here’s an example showing the framework in action:
2. Venture Hacks’ high-concept proposition template: Created by venture capitalists, this framework relies on piggybacking on top of an existing renowned company that has disrupted its industry.
It goes: [Proven industry example] for/of [new domain].
Here are a few examples using this template:
Pro Tip: Use ChatGPT to Generate a Several Value Propositions
How would you like some automation from AI overlords to help write the first few drafts of your value prop?
Here’s a prompt you can use in ChatGPT to get started: “I'm the sales leader of a B2B SaaS company. Ask me five specific questions - one by one. Wait for my response before asking the next question. When you have answers to these five questions, use them in a one-line strong compelling value proposition statement that my sales team members can use while pitching on cold calls.”
Once you share your answers, you may need to give a follow up prompt, such as, “Make 5 of these statements. Make them one-liners.”
Below are five value prop statements I got. Any guesses on what SaaS product this company sells?
If you prefer following a specific framework or want to align your value prop to your brand personality, you can even train ChatGPT on it first by sharing those details. Then have it ask you questions and come up with some value propositions. Of course, treat any of these UVPs as starting points and make them your own.
Your Value Proposition Should be Relevant, Short, and to the Point
Consumers are spoiled for choices today. Further, many SaaS businesses have similar website designs with vague promises. You need a clear value prop that speaks to your customer’s problems in the language they speak. That’s the only way to get your prospects to pause and pay attention.
So embrace the process, invest time in refining your message, and let your value proposition shine as a powerful magnet, attracting your ideal customers and propelling your business toward greatness.