Value proposition formulas are copywriting formulas that take the guess work out of explaining the value your product or service provides for your customers.

These formulas make writing easier by providing a starting point or template that you can use to craft your value proposition.

Why do you need a value proposition?

Here’s an uncomfortable truth: Most brands are the same.

"Yes I said it" gif

Now I’m not randomly picking a fight here. The father of advertising David Ogilvy said it too.

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey or cigarettes, or beer. They are all about the same.

And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines. …

The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”

David Ogilvy – 13 Timeless Lessons from the Father of Advertising

This is why value propositions matter so much.

They’re literally the thing that’ll set your brand apart from everyone else in your market.

Elements of an effective value prop

An effective value proposition should nail these three points:

  • Relevance: it should be relevant to your customer
  • Value: it should explain the value of your offer
  • Uniqueness: it should differentiate your brand from the competition

Standing out in a sea of sameness can be hard work. Trying to craft an effective value prop without value proposition frameworks can be twice as hard.

Thankfully, I’m sharing three value proposition formulas that you can use today to craft your value proposition.

3 value proposition formulas with examples

1: The “Like” value proposition

The “like” value proposition formula is a great option to help your audience understand your value when your brand is new or unknown.

You may use it to compare your brand to one your audience already knows; a brand that has established value.

When using the “like” value prop, ask yourself,

“What core functionality do you offer that’s similar to the core functionality of someone more universally known? Who specifically is it made for?”

Joanna Wiebe – Copy School

The “like” value prop formula: Like X for Y, where X is a known thing and Y is your new audience.

Value prop formulas - 'Like' value proposition

Joanna Wiebe and the Copyhackers team described Airstory using this formula in its earlier days — “Like Evernote for pro writers.”

Twitch used a similar approach — “Like Youtube for gamers”

The dog walking app Wag! was dubbed, “Like Uber for dog walking.”

"It's like that?" gif

While the “like” value prop you come up with may not be your final value prop, it’s still useful for brainstorming.

It’s also useful when you need to easily explain your product by comparing it to something your audience already knows and understands.

2: The “Who-specific” value proposition

Use the “who-specific” value prop formula to help your prospects pre-qualify themselves for your offer.

You should use this approach once you’re clear about your product or service’s first users.

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Tailor your value proposition to speak directly to those first users.

You make it clear that your offer was made with them in mind and get their buy-in.

The “who-specific” value prop formula: The only/best/easy X for Y, where X is your offer and Y is your target audience.

Value prop formulas - 'who-specific' value proposition

Email marketing platform Klaviyo is for e-commerce brands.

So when you ask around, most e-commerce email marketers will tell you Klaviyo is the only/best email marketing tool for e-commerce businesses.

Airstory is the best writing software for copywriters.

The “who-specific” value prop works well when you want to capture a specific segment of a population and distinguish yourself as the ideal solution for that segment.

3: The “Value-specific” value proposition

The value-specific value prop is one of the most popular and powerful formulas.

It tells your audience how your offer will benefit them and why they should choose it.

This value prop formula answers one simple question — What value are you providing?

The “value-specific” value prop formula: My product is the one that ………..

Value prop formulas - 'Value-specific' value proposition

Slack uses this approach in the value prop on their home page.

“Transform the way you work with one place for everyone and everything you need to get stuff done.”

Slack example - value-specific value prop formula

Finding VOC data to improve your value proposition

The best copywriting is informed by data from your prospects and existing customers. And value propositions are no different.

To write a great value proposition that communicates your core value and speaks to your target audience, start with voice of customer (VOC) data.

If you’re pressed for time and thinking, ‘Anna, there’s no way I can do that,’ you’re in luck.

In this Tutorial Tuesdays video, Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers shares a quick tip for finding VOC fast.

Learn more about value proposition formulas and conversion copywriting

To dive deeper into value propositions and conversion copywriting, enroll in Conversion Copywriting 101. It’s a free Copyhackers course.

Then check out Module 2. It looks specifically at value propositions.

Also another great resource to learn more about value propositions is Copyhackers eBook 7 — The Great Value Proposition Test: 11 case studies to help you find & test your USP.

You can download it here. (Click to automatically download the free eBook).