An effective online value proposition is critical for communicating your brand’s differentiation and driving conversions. You might be unfamiliar with what a value proposition is, but you have almost certainly made a decision based on the content of one. In fact, this probably happens more often than you realise.
Maybe even daily.
In this guide, we’ll demystify the concept of the value proposition and go over some of the basics of what you’ll need to write an online value proposition. This will both draw in new customers and reassure your current loyal customers.
Table of Contents
What is a Value Proposition?
Also sometimes referred to as a “customer value proposition”, your company’s value proposition is a brief statement outlining all of the promises your company makes to customers and clients.
In other words, this is the guiding reason why someone would purchase from you.
Your value proposition needs to briefly summarise the reasons that the product or service you provide will be more beneficial to a potential customer than a similar product or service that is offered by another company.
What Should A Value Proposition Do For Your Company?
While the basic concept of a value proposition can be explained pretty easily, what makes a value proposition most effective is a little vague.
No two propositions should ever be the same. This is a set of promises and standards that needs to be written specifically for your targeted customer base about your company.
Crafting a value proposition requires careful consideration and proper wording to work most efficiently, and make no mistake – when you get it right, your value proposition will actually be a surprisingly important cornerstone in your company profile.
Think carefully about the impression that you want to make on any potential customer who visits your company’s website.
- What do you feel your company does best for the people you hope to reach?
- Who is your targeted market? What do they buy, and at what cost?
- What do you think your target market needs most?
If you can’t answer the questions above, it could be time to do market research to help narrow down your intentions. If you can’t articulate the value of what your company provides passionately, potential customers aren’t likely to be convinced, either.
These statements are not pulled out of thin air, after all.
You simply must stay within the realm of possibility, or in the long run, your customers will lose faith in the promises you’ve made. Eventually, you could stop gaining new customers and start losing existing ones.
Examples of Strong Online Value Propositions
Slack’s “Where work happens” value proposition is effective for several reasons:
- Simplicity – It’s short, catchy and rolls off the tongue easily.
- Emotion – “Where work happens” evokes a sense of collaboration and activity.
- Accuracy – For its target B2B audience, Slack is seen as a hub of teamwork and productivity.
- Visual design – The bright colours and bold fonts make the value prop stand out on their homepage.
Tailoring Value Propositions to Business Models
For ecommerce businesses, focus the value proposition on product quality, cost savings, convenience or other customer benefits.
For example, an online clothing shop could use:
“Ethically sourced, premium fabrics at direct-to-consumer prices”
This highlights quality and cost savings.
For SaaS companies, emphasize how you solve a pain point better than alternatives. Include productivity gains or ROI.
For example, a project management tool could use:
“Collaborative software that saves teams of 10+ over 500 hours per year.”
This quantifies the time savings benefit.
For service providers, demonstrate expertise and specifics on the results you deliver for customers.
For example, a marketing agency could say:
“We help small businesses double their qualified leads in 6 months or less.”
This establishes expertise and a tangible result.
Tips for Writing Compelling Value Propositions
To make value propositions compelling:
- Keep them concise at 1-2 sentences or under 30 words
- Focus on the exact needs and desires of the target customer
- Use numbers to quantify benefits like time saved or revenue increases
- Choose active voice wording over passive voice
- Avoid excessive adjectives and marketing jargon
- Take a specific, clear stance on the value you provide
What Gets Through to New Customers
Your potential customers need to feel that they understand what they can reasonably expect to get from your service or product. The benefits they can expect based on your value proposition typically fall into one or all of the following three categories:
- Economic – This includes what a customer will gain from using your company’s service or product. Economic benefits can be financial (actual money saved by using your company over similar companies) or can refer to the convenience and time saved by a customer who does business with you.
- Emotional – It may seem strange to consider making your online value proposition “emotional”, but what this really refers to is the feeling that you want to evoke in your customers when they read and see your proposition.
- Functional – A functional benefit is a feature or practical purpose that your company can provide to your customers that other companies either do not provide or don’t provide in a way that is most efficient for your targeted market base.
Writing and Presenting Your Value Proposition
There are no hard and fast rules that a value proposition has to be a certain way, but it does seem to work best when you start with a loose guideline and build on that. A good starting point could be the following formula:
- Your headline.
- Your sub-headline or 2-3 sentence paragraph.
- 3 bullet points.
- A visual element that matches your statement.
This structure, in this order, is a very helpful tool to keep in mind as you draft the framework for your first value proposition. You can also use it to improve an existing value proposition.
1. Be Clear and Concise
The importance of clarity in your online value proposition cannot be overstated. Ideally, you should be able to explain what your company does in around ten words and why people should care.
2. Be Persuasive
People want to buy things which solve their problems. This is a great frame of mind to put yourself in as you consider what you want your value proposition to say to prospective customers.
3. Get Their Attention
Visitors to your website may not have any prior knowledge of the product or service that you’re offering. They may never have heard of your company at all. For this reason alone, placing your value proposition prominently on your company’s website is crucial.
You need to make an immediate impression on a prospective customer in a way that stands out from your competition but without resorting to hyperbole in your statement.
Strive for unity between all the elements that will be immediately visible to new visitors – a colour scheme and visual element that help evoke the feeling you want to convey within your value proposition can be very effective when used thoughtfully.
4. A Little Advice to Avoid Common Mistakes
Of course, there are plenty of things which can go wrong when you’re crafting a value proposition. Here are some key points you should consider when working on your value proposition.
- Find the balance of your message. Your value proposition should not be a slogan, but it also shouldn’t be your entire business model laid out in detail.
- Avoid using superlatives or “hype” in your statement.
- If a new customer can’t read and clearly understand your value proposition in under 8 seconds, consider revising it.
- Your proposition should not be read as an instruction or command to your customer.
- If addressing your customer directly, try using inclusive language like “we” and “our” instead of “you” or “your”.
5. Testing The Waters
Whether you write your value proposition or hire a writer to draft one or several options for you, the next step should be to test the versions you like best.
One kind of market test that seems to yield surprisingly useful results in this regard is a PPC (pay-per-click) ad test.
You can try out different variations on your value proposition and see which is most effective.
Value Proposition vs. Mission Statement
A value proposition declares the specific benefit or differentiation your company provides, typically in 1-2 sentences. It is externally focused on customers.
For example: “We help busy mothers save 5+ hours per week on meal planning and grocery shopping.”
A mission statement is a longer expression of your company’s purpose and reason for existing. It is internally focused.
For example: “Our mission is to make home cooking and healthy eating completely effortless for modern families by providing customized meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes.”
The value proposition concisely states the customer benefit, while the mission statement describes the company’s broader vision and goals.
A/B Testing Value Proposition
Create 2-3 different value proposition statements or designs for your homepage banner or other prominent placement.
Split traffic evenly between the variations using A/B testing software and track engagement metrics:
- Clickthrough rate on your call-to-action button
- Time spent on the page
- Bounce rate from the page
Look for statistically significant lifts in these metrics on one variation over others. The best-performing value proposition is the one that drives more clicks and engagement.
Online Value Proposition FAQ
How long should a value proposition be?
Ideally, keep value propositions to 1-2 concise sentences or around 30 words. You want them to be scannable and easy to digest.
Can I have more than one value proposition?
It’s common to have a core value proposition plus 1-2 secondary ones. Just ensure they are complementary, not redundant. For example – a main value prop around cost with a secondary one on quality.
What makes a strong value proposition?
An effective value proposition focuses on the customer, quantifies benefit, conveys a clear opinion, uses emotive wording, and highlights key differentiation from competitors.
How do I choose the right words for a value proposition?
Do keyword research to determine terms your audience uses when describing your product category and their needs. Test different wording combinations like “build” vs “create” or “quickly” vs “easily”.
Should I A/B test my value proposition?
Yes, you should A/B test at least two value proposition options. Look for statistically significant lifts in clickthrough rate, time on page, and lower bounce rate to identify the stronger version.
Can I use the same value proposition across all channels?
It’s fine to adapt your core value proposition for different platforms like mobile vs website. However, the central messaging should stay aligned.
Where should I place the value proposition?
Feature the value proposition prominently on high-traffic pages like your homepage, product pages, and category/landing pages. Header placement is ideal for visibility.
Online Value Proposition: Conclusion
An effective online value proposition can set your business apart and compel visitors to convert into customers. Follow proven tips to craft value props tailored to your business model. Quantify benefits as much as possible and focus on the customer. Use A/B testing to refine based on real user behaviour. With a compelling value proposition centred on your customers’ needs, you can successfully convey your competitive differentiation.
We hope that this guide has been informative and helpful and provided you with the answers you need to create the online value proposition that will not only accurately express the way you want your company to be received but also lead future loyal customers your way.
If you want help with your value proposition or any other element of your brand strategy, search engine optimisation or digital marketing, speak to ProfileTree Web Agency, where we will be delighted to help.