One thing thatâ€™s difficult for many of us new to the world of marketing, is working out what our Value Proposition is.
Personally itâ€™s something I often struggle with as can be evidenced on the Solutions Answers Results website.
Yet without a Value Proposition optimizing your marketing messages so that they appeal to your target market or ideal customer is like extreme sports... mentally and physically challenging.
What is a Value Proposition?
Your Value Proposition is the primary reason why your ideal prospect should buy from you rather than your competitors.
Not to be confused with your brand story or mission statement, your Value Proposition is the statement of value you weave into all your marketing messages that generates the most responsiveness from your market.
A great Value Proposition is a single sentence of 25 words or less that communicates your value and articulates credibility.
Interestingly a great Value Proposition is established through testing and measuring rather than through carefully crafted 'word play'. It is something that grows out of the needs of your customers and is central to the conversation that they are having in their heads about what you sell.
It is this conversation in the minds of your prospects that you are attempting to join when youâ€™re working out what your Value Proposition is.
Mind reading your customers
So the starting point is to work out what the topics of conversation could possibly be for your target market.
Is it about low prices, a possible saving, great customer support, simplicity, ease or reducing work, the product design or features, maybe it's about over coming challenges or getting results. You want to get inside the heads of your customers and prospects and hear what that conversation is so that you can continue it and add to it through your marketing.
The way to begin is by coming up with a list of the possible conversation topics, no more than 10. Go back through your research and what you already know about your customers and find the questions they asked.
If itâ€™s a new market and youâ€™ve no experience with these customers, take a look at what others are doing. What questions are they answering and then look for different questions that you can answer instead.
By answering a different question you are positioning yourself differently in the market. You are niching; establishing your unique value proposition.
Matching message and channel
Now think about the media channels you use (PPC, email, direct etc.). Each channel will have a slightly different responsiveness to your messages and will need separate attention. So pick one to start testing and measuring with.
From your list of topic conversations, select one and write some draft marketing copy that you will test in your media channel.
In crafting the draft you are looking to convey your 'only' factor. This is the thing that you and only you do, have or provide. For example, 'We are the only company in the southern hemisphere who sell dog tutu's for Great Danes'.
Itâ€™s also important that you avoid any words that are vague and instead be specific, quantitative and descriptive. Specificity is one way in which people determine authenticity, truth and expertise. So when you are explicit and specific you are tuning into our unconscious radar for detecting credibility. An example of being specific, quantitative and descriptive would be, 'Over 114,000 parts - the largest range of Honda truck parts under one roof'.
The key things to think about when writing your draft messages are â€“
- Appeal (How desirable is the offer to your customer?)
- Exclusivity (Is this offer (or a better one) available anywhere else?)
- Credibility (How believable are your claims?)
Create a message for each of your conversation topics and then distribute and measure responsiveness.
For example, if youâ€™re using PPC on Google, watch your Adwords reports to follow what happens to each ad; pull the ones that fail to get traction and refine the ones that work.
The one that gets the greatest responsiveness is the Value Proposition to use for the channel you test on.
Now with an understanding of the mental conversation your customers are having, you can roll out your Value Proposition into your copy and test it on landing pages.
Continuing the conversation
On your landing pages you're looking to ensure that when a visitor ends up on your page theyâ€™re quickly able to orient themselves (usually through repeating the same marketing message that got them here and continuing that same conversation, as well as through other cues such as navigation, branding and images).
In addition you need to be answering those two important hidden questions 'What can I do here?' and 'Why should I do it?'. All without loosing the thread of that Value Proposition message/conversation.
When a visitor has taken the action to click and land on your page, they've already made some sort of decision about you being a match for their needs, so disconnecting and starting another conversation is a wasted opportunity. Keep the conversation going from your campaign ad through to the landing page.
When drafting the copy for your landing page pay special attention to â€“
- bullet points which are for highlighting the evidence that supports your Value Proposition and is proof of your credibility;
- testimonials you display that are supporting stories that further provide evidence of exclusivity and credibility; and
- that the images you use work to further communicate your value proposition by providing proof through charts, tables and factual evidence of results and not just to look pretty.
By carrying your Value Proposition through from campaign to point of sale you are helping your customers make a buying decision by getting inside their mind and having that conversation with them. The one they were having whether you were listening or not.
To discover more on getting a great Value Proposition that Converts, check out the recorded webinar presentation on this topic by Marketing Experiments.