Not quite a slogan, not quite a mission statement; a value proposition is your chance to tell your target market what makes you better than everyone else.
Your value proposition brings together your customers’ wants, needs, and fears with your product’s benefits and features. But your value prop shouldn’t just be a list of features… It needs to be excellent copywriting that captures your audience’s attention, using their language and tells them in a few short, simple phrases why they should buy from you rather than your competitors.
A great or poor value proposition can be the key decider in whether a customer will dive deeper into your website or hit the “back” button, so it’s vital you get this right.
What is a value proposition?
If you run a search to try and find out what a value proposition is, chances are you’ll be overwhelmed with a plethora of results that really don’t clarify anything.
But we think the best value proposition definition comes from Michael Skok:
“In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the pain point you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.”
The keyword in this value proposition definition is “uniquely.” Successful e-commerce value propositions will focus on how your brand is different from its competitors and what services you offer that nobody else does.
Establishing a unique value proposition
Although the concept of having a unique value proposition might not sound like anything new, it can be easier said than done to come up with a unique selling point (USP) in a saturated market.
It’s important not to pick a unique feature for the sake of a unique feature (“our plumbers all have red hair”); the uniqueness of your brand, product, and/or services need to add value to your customers’ lives and their experience with you.
Remember, what makes you unique doesn’t need to apply to every brand ever: it just needs to make you stand out in your customer’s mind. By offering something that’s better than what your competitor sells – and clearly stating what this is in your value prop – customers are more likely to remember and buy from you.
Is a value proposition the same as a slogan?
Although value propositions and slogans have a fair amount in common – they’re catchy, memorable statements that tell a customer who you are – they are not the same thing.
A slogan or tagline is a short, catchy phrase of 3-5 words that go alongside your brand name and logo. Think of it as a logo in writing.
While a slogan is an advantageous method of introducing yourself to the marketplace, it doesn’t actually offer much information. However, a value proposition statement is longer and goes deeper into who you are as a brand and why you’re different from the competition.
When writing a value proposition, you’ll need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of your target market: their needs, wants, and fears, and how your product or service can address these.
How to write a value proposition statement
Creating a value proposition statement can feel like a daunting task, particularly if you’re new to marketing, but it doesn’t need to be. As long as you understand your target audience and have a clear idea of what your brand offers, there are some tricks that make it easier to craft an excellent value proposition.
It’s a good idea to start with a reasonably small focus group to brainstorm and test the value proposition of a product. This should involve people across your business, and everyone should get a say in the final draft.
Once you’re happy, it’s vital to test your value proposition with real customers. A/B testing is instrumental for crafting a quality value proposition. You should also consider your website’s layout and where the value statement will be shown on every page.
Value proposition canvas
The best place to start crafting a value proposition statement is by downloading a free value proposition canvas from Strategyzer.
This useful tool will aid with the brainstorming process and help you find the links between what your customers want and what you have to offer. One of the most useful examples of this canvas that we found comes from Peter Thomson:
To complete this canvas, you’ll need to ask yourself (and the focus group) a series of questions, including:
About the product:
- What does it do?
- How does it work?
- What features does it have?
- What does using the product feel like?
To the customer:
- What emotions would drive you to purchase this?
- What are the rational reasons to purchase?
- Are there any hidden needs solved by the product?
- Why would a person not want to switch to your product?
- How is the customer currently dealing with the problem this product solves?
Value proposition guide: 4 templates
Once you’ve completed the value proposition canvas and have a comprehensive understanding of what your customers want/need and how your product solves a problem for them, it’s time to come up with your unique value proposition.
There are a few options for phrasing the value proposition of a product, but some of the best templates we’ve found include the following:
1. Geoff Moore
In Geoff Moore’s book, Crossing the Chasm, he suggests an excellent template for formatting a value proposition example:
“For [target customer] who [needs or wants X], our [product/service] is [category of industry] that [benefits]”
If we pretend to be a sustainable fashion retailer, this could be:
For eco-conscious fashionistas who want to look good without harming the planet, our clothing is the latest fashion that is made from sustainably sourced and recycled materials.
2. Steve Blank
Steve Blank probably offers the most straightforward approach to crafting a unique value proposition:
“We help [X] to [Y] by [Z]”
Using our eco-friendly fashion store from earlier, this could be:
“We help eco-conscious fashionistas to look great and lower their environmental impact by creating sustainable clothing in the latest trends.”
3. Peter Sandeen
Peter Sandeen’s approach to value propositions is to avoid “marketing bladiblaa” and ensure your value statement examples are explicit and clear, with evidence to back up your claims. To do this, he suggests thinking about the following two questions:
- What makes you valuable?
- How can you prove it?
Sandeen’s idea is that by using studies, social proof, and testimonials to back up the most persuasive reasons people should use your brand, you’ll present a more persuasive argument and increase sales conversions.
4. Vlaskovits and Cooper
In their book, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development, Vlaskovits and Cooper crafted a customer-problem-solution value proposition guide to help you clarify exactly how your product or service adds value. To use this guide, you need to establish three things:
- Customer [who is your target customer?]
- Problem [what problem is the customer currently facing?]
- Solution [how will you solve the problem?]
For our eco-friendly fashion store, this could be broken down as follows:
- Customer = eco-conscious fashionistas
- Problem = Feeling like they have to choose between environmentally friendly products or the latest fashion trends.
- Solution = a fashion brand that uses sustainable and recycled materials while keeping up with the latest styles.
Once you’ve established your customer-problem-solution template, you can transform the key points into a few short and catchy sentences to capture the attention of your target audience.
Structure of a value proposition
Once you’ve figured out the key points that need to be addressed, you need to learn how to write a value proposition. While successful e-commerce value propositions will vary from brand-to-brand, some of the best value props will be structured as follows:
- Headline: What is the main benefit you’re offering? Summarize this in one short, attention-grabbing sentence.
- 2-3 sentences: Break down what you offer in a little more detail, including who it’s for and why it would benefit the customer. This could also be a sub-headline.
- 3 bullet-points: List the key benefits of the product or service. Ideally, this will focus more on the benefits of the product, rather than the specific features… Unless the features are particularly unique or special.
- Image: the best branding and marketing includes a visual. Featuring a photo of the product, a hero shot, or another image that reinforces your message will aid your conversions and help you create an awesome value prop (and while you’re at it, you may as well have a think about creative things to post on Instagram, too!).
When considering value statement examples, they should always be written in the everyday language of your target audience… This means that value propositions should be free from jargon and capable of being understood in 5 seconds or less.
You should also avoid hyperbole in your marketing. Unless you can prove that you actually have “New York’s Best Coffee” or your product is something “never seen before!” in some quantifiable way, these sorts of claims have no place in your value proposition statement.
Extra value proposition examples
Occasionally, your value proposition statement won’t be quite enough to convince someone to choose you above all the other options in your industry… In this case, extra value proposition “boosters” on your landing page can be a great way to tip the scales in your favor.
These little extra perks shouldn’t go in the value proposition of a product itself, but could be included in the corner of your homepage and landing page, plus mentioned throughout your website for enhanced conversion optimization.
Some marketing ideas for value-adding “boosters” include:
- Free shipping
- Next day delivery
- Free gift with purchase
- No setup fees
- Cancel any time
- Money-back guarantee
- Free trial
- Discounts / sales
- Customization options
- Order tracking (check out some awesome shipping apps that offer these features)
Unique value proposition examples
Now we know how to write a value proposition and some of the things you might include in the value proposition of a product or service; here are some of the best value proposition examples you can use for inspiration.
To analyze these value proposition examples, we’re going to use Vlaskovits and Cooper’s Customer-Product-Solution model. As these are some of the best value statement examples, we can expect it to be effortless to establish exactly who the customer is, what problem they’re facing, and how the company solves that problem.
Slack makes it downright pleasant to work together.
Slack offers a few variations on its value proposition statement, but they all focus on ease of use, enhanced productivity, and pleasantness. In the example above, they use a short and sweet tagline to draw the user in, demonstrating what their product looks like and a brief explanation of what they do. When you scroll down on the homepage, Slack also provides examples of layouts, features, and benefits of the product and backs any claims up with testimonials and statistics.
Slack also offers an extra value proposition booster with the “try for free” call to action to entice uncertain users to learn more.
- Customer: Small, medium, or large business teams.
- Problem: Teams need to communicate with each other in a shared space.
- Solution: Fast messaging with the ability to create “channels” to keep your workspace and communications clear and organized.
Payments infrastructure for the internet
Stripe is a digital payment tool that markets itself as easily accessible and straightforward to use. The headline “payments infrastructure for the internet” is potentially a little more technical in its lanugage than other, more simple value proposition examples. Still, it clearly explains what users will get out of the service.
- Customer: Companies of all sizes.
- Problem: Managing the financial aspects of the business, including sending and receiving payments.
- Solution: An all-in-one program that allows you to accept payments, send invoices, and manage your business in one convenient location.
Great writing, simplified
Grammarly’s headline makes it simple to understand exactly what the company is offering. The super-short elaboration sentence manages to summarize the services available in everyday language that appeals to the target audience. One of the things that set this value proposition example apart from different marketing strategies is the included video: this provides a visual example of what makes Grammarly so great and ensures it’s easy to see the benefit of using this service.
- Customer: Anyone who wants to make their writing better.
- Problem: Makes mistakes (grammar, spelling, formatting, clarity, etc.)
- Solution: A powerful AI that picks up any writing errors and suggests improvements/corrections.
Trello helps teams move work forward.
Trello offers online software that enables teams to collaborate and manage their projects from anywhere in one simple program. To help establish how Trello is better and different from their competitors, the marketers choose to proposition a value of uniqueness on their home page: telling their audience how Trello can work with your unique business. Further down the homepage, Trello uses social proof to highlight how the software makes a difference to the workplace of “over 1,000,000 teams worldwide” and includes some big-name businesses that use it.
Trello also uses a booster benefit – “join now, it’s free” – to enhance conversion optimization.
- Customer: Business teams “from high rises to the home office.”
- Problem: Remote teams need to collaborate to manage projects and work together.
- Solution: A collaboration platform that works with your business’s unique needs to increase productivity and make managing projects easier.
5. Apple iOS 14
Looks brand new. Feels like home.
Although once the iPhone revolutionized modern cell phones and the digital era, these days, Apple has plenty of competitors selling smartphones and similar devices. However, the marketers at Apple are always able to set Apple apart. The selling point for the iOS 14 is that it offers a fresh approach while still feeling familiar and simple for users. Letting customers know what features they’ll get with the upgrade - for example, improved privacy and personalization options - is a great way to showcase how the iOS 14 is different and better than anything that came before it.
- Customer: Apple users
- Problem: Old, complicated, impersonal, and unsecure operating systems
- Solution: Upgraded iOS software that makes it easier to complete your daily tasks with improved security and customization/personalization options.
Grow your business with Unbounce conversion intelligence.
Unbounce doesn’t use any waffle on its homepage. Instead, its marketers focus on a clear, concise message that lets you know exactly what the company is selling: “landing pages and conversion intelligence tools.” This incredibly simple marketing is backed up with testimonials, social proof, and plenty of visuals further down the homepage that explain how Unbounce can help eCommerce businesses improve their website, learn how to use popups and sticky bars, and optimize sales and conversions.
- Customer: eCommerce business owners
- Problem: Need to improve the creation and management of landing pages toimprove marketing and increase sales and conversions.
- Solution: Intelligent tools designed to simplify eCommerce marketing and online sales.
Welcome to the world’s most popular website builder.
WordPress uses plenty of social proof in its company value proposition, highlighting its popularity among everyone from bloggers to Fortune 500 companies. The entirety of the WordPress homepage utilizes clear and concise points that highlight the benefits of being able to create a better website using WordPress.
- Customer: “Bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.”
- Problem: Need to join the online world with a better website.
- Solution: A clear and simple to use website builder that’s been used to build “40% of the web.”
Anyone, anywhere, can start a business.
Shopify is made to help people set up an online store to sell products. The short and simple tagline on the Shopify homepage gets straight to the point with a call to action offering a “free trial.” Further down the page, Shopify elaborates on the simple value proposition, letting people know the platform is offering “powerful tools that help you find customers, drive sales, and manage your day-to-day.”
There are also some convenient step-by-step instructions to help you move your business online. The video alongside Shopify’s value proposition is also great for providing a different way people can view the benefits of the company’s services.
- Customers: eCommerce business owners (or people who want to open an online store).
- Problem: Not having the digital know-how to open an online store.
- Solution: A simple, step-by-step platform to help people create, open, and manage an online business.
Start selling on Facebook/Google/Instagram in minutes… No expertise needed.
Made for clarity, sixads value proposition is designed to let you know exactly what you get when signing up with sixads — you get automated ads on Facebook, Google, and Instagram this way increasing your store sales. The app helps you set up those ads, so you don’t need any previous advertising experience.
- Customer: Online store owners
- Problem: A lack of digital marketing expertise makes it hard to get products in front of potential customers on social media and Google.
- Solution: ad automation to help boost sales and increase profits.
Characteristics of a compelling value proposition
As you’ve probably noticed in the above value proposition examples, the best UVPs can be very different, but they all clearly define the product, service, or brand in everyday language, free from technical jargon or hyperbole.
The best company proposition examples highlight any free features and are clearly displayed on a company website, primary landing pages, about-us page, and any other consumer touchpoints.
Remember, this is your chance to highlight how your company (and the products/services you sell) is different and better than anyone else, so don’t waste it!
To summarize, a good value prop should:
- Be clear and concise.
- Use the everyday language of your target audience.
- Clearly define what you offer.
- Explain how you relieve a pain-point for people.
- Be prominently displayed on your website and customer touchpoints.
- Explain what sets you apart from your competitors.
- Make your product/service easily discoverable with search engine optimization (check out these apps to improve your SEO).
Writing a value proposition isn’t a one-off.
Even after you’ve finished creating a value proposition that clearly addresses your customers’ pain points and ticks all the other UVP boxes, that doesn’t mean your job is complete!
It’s vital to test, test, test any value proposition to ensure it’s as great as it can possibly be, and that it’s in the best position on your website and landing pages.
What’s more, the best value propositions will grow and change with your brand, products, customers, and market trends, so you might need to reevaluate your value proposition to see whether it’s still relevant and substantial as your company and community grow.
By listening to your customers in real-time, you’ll be able to maintain a relevant and persuasive UVP that continues to convert for as long as your business is in action.