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What is a value proposition?

Have you been looking for a way to communicate what makes your business unique? Want to highlight the things you do better than anyone else? Then you need a value proposition.

A value proposition is a concrete, written statement containing the reasons why customers should buy from you. It's a promise you make to customers. When that promise is compelling enough, it can turn browsers into buyers.

When you write a value proposition, make sure customers will see it. Put it front and centre on your website, whether it’s on the homepage, a category page or a product page. Make it impossible to miss.

Having a great value proposition will also help your marketing strategy in other channels.

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How to write a value proposition statement

All value propositions share three things. They are:

  • Specific: Be very clear about what benefits your product will bring to customers

  • Customer pain point focus: Identify what frustrates customers about currently-available products in your field and clarify how you will alleviate that frustration

  • Unique: Value propositions should highlight what’s special and unique about you as opposed to your competitors

Your value proposition usually won’t be about the product itself. Instead, address the issues your brand fixes, the ways you’ll improve their lives and the feeling your customers will get from using your products.

Be clear, then clever

Everyone wants to write clever, one-of-a-kind copy. But before trying to write something no one’s ever seen before, make sure you’re being as clear as possible and addressing all the essential points.

What are the essential points your value proposition should address? Be sure to clarify:

  • The product that you’re selling

  • Who would benefit from or who should buy your product

  • How your product addresses pain points in a customer’s life

  • Why customers should buy from you and not your competition

  • When customers can expect to enjoy the value of your product

Also, the best value propositions are short. There’s a fair bit of information to cover, but try to keep it to two or three sentences.

How to write a value proposition

Hype has created generic statements like “world’s best” or “most incredible”, and others you’ve probably seen everywhere. They get harder to believe the more we see them, which is why you should avoid them whenever possible.

Instead, emphasise the concrete benefits of your product. Be specific about what it is you’re selling and why it’s different from what others sell. Don’t exaggerate and don’t be too long-winded – just get to the heart of what your brand is about.

It’s also likely you’ll be writing more than one value proposition for your busines because there are multiple types of value proposition, all with a slightly different purpose.

How to communicate your value proposition

You can and should communicate value propositions in multiple parts of your company website – essentially at every touchpoint. These can be distinguished based on where they appear. Despite this, your messaging should be consistent and cohesive wherever you speak to customers.

To see value proposition examples, visit the websites of companies you follow, or ones in your industry, and see how they talk about themselves.

Company value proposition

You’re going to have a different value proposition for your company than for other things like your products. This is because a value proposition is how you talk about yourself. You wouldn’t describe a company the way you’d describe a pair of hiking boots.

Your company value proposition covers the general aim of everything you do. It should answer the question: what are you providing to customers?

A good place to start writing this is by examining your brand ethos. Your brand ethos is what your company stands for – its core identity. Your value proposition should be both informed by, and strive to communicate, that ethos.

Product value proposition

A product value proposition describes a good or service that you sell in a way that highlights its uniqueness and the value it brings to customers’ lives. You’ll want to write a separate value proposition for each product you sell, because not all your products will address the same need.

Your product value propositions should all have a little piece of your company value proposition in them, meaning the way you describe them should be consistent with the way you describe your brand. For example, if your brand is characterised by simplicity, your product value propositions should reflect how easy your items are to use.

Homepage value proposition

This is what most people think of when they hear ‘value proposition’. It’s that slice of text that’s front and centre when visitors open your website. A homepage value proposition varies depending on your business.

Either way, you would still need separate product and company value propositions. The homepage value proposition functions as a general overview of what customers can expect from you, not a detailed manual outlining everything you offer. You can save product value propositions for product headlines and descriptions.

Category page value proposition

Assuming your business offers enough products to have separate categories, it’s important to include value propositions on your category pages. The messaging is important, but this can also be useful for SEO.

When a customer searches for a category of products, like ‘men’s sneakers’ or ‘women’s yoga pants’, and come across your category page, ideally. When they do, encourage them to browse with a strong page description – one can be, in essence, a value proposition.

Max Elias