A value proposition is a clear and concise statement that communicates the value you provide to your customers.
When written effectively, your value proposition should answer some key questions.
Questions like: Who is this product or service for? Why does it matter? How will it make the customer’s life/work better?
What is a value proposition?
A value proposition, also known as a unique sales proposition (USP), is a statement that explains a product’s or service’s value.
(I’ll be using both terms interchangeably throughout this article.)
Joanna Wiebe often recommends using the value proposition as the headline on a website.
Value proposition headlines effectively establish what a product or service does and who it’s for.
These headlines can also help boost website conversions for lesser-known brands.
“A value proposition is essentially a succinct, specific, sticky statement describing what’s unique and highly desirable about your solution.
It can be a headline. Or a headline and subhead. Or a headline, subhead and bullet points.”Joanna Wiebe, Headlines, Subheads & Value Propositions (Link opens to download the free eBook)
Why your brand needs a value proposition
A value proposition answers several questions, but the biggest one is why should we care?
Your potential customers are busy, and they have many options to choose from.
So what is it about your brand that makes you different? What value will you add to their lives? What makes you the perfect choice?
Your value proposition should sell your brand as the best solution for prospective customers.
When written well, it should convince your prospects you’re the best and convert them.
Here’s an example of a value proposition used as a website headline and subhead from Dubsado.
Dubsado’s main USP is the fact that they simplify the process of running a business.
They combine multiple services in a single software — invoicing, appointments, CRM, and some project management.
While the home page doesn’t say who Dubsado is for, a click on the first tab — Why Dubsado? — answers the question.
I think they miss the mark by saying it’s for everyone, but since they specify what they mean by everyone, I’ll give them a pass.
Just remember, when it comes to marketing and copywriting, if your offer is for everyone, it’s for no one.
There’s no such customer segment as ‘everyone.’ Having unique personas results in better copy.
How to write a value proposition
You can’t write a good value proposition without being clear about who your ideal customer is.
This is why buyer personas and jobs to be done (JTBDs) are so important to the copywriting process.
Marketers and researchers are finding that consumer insights and understanding what consumers value are key to crafting an effective value proposition that converts.
Knowing who your brand serves and what problem you help them solve will make it easier for you to position your offer.
Don’t write value propositions like this
Not all value propositions are created equal. Some of them miss the mark.
A common mistake: trying to say way too much.
When you try to say too much, you often lose sight of the goal.
As you prepare to write your own, remember that your value proposition is not:
- A description of your product or service
- A list of features
- A list of benefits
- A mission statement
- A tag line
- A slogan
- An ‘about us‘ section
What are the qualities of a great value proposition?
As I was conducting research for this article, I stumbled across some of the early Copyhackers eBooks.
Headlines, Subheads & Value Propositions focuses on value propositions, and in it, Joanna Wiebe outlines 5 qualities of an effective value proposition.
1. It’s unique
The part of your solution or the outcome of your solution that your competitors can’t say or that they don’t say.
Video call platform Whereby makes a claim other video calling platforms like Zoom have never made.
Their interface is beautiful, and using their software is simple.
2. It’s desirable
How much do your prospects want what’s unique about your offering?
You Need a Budget (YNAB) states clearly what the user will get out of their product.
With YNAB, users can gain total control of their money. They can stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of debt, and save more money.
3. It’s specific
It includes something definite and graspable, such as an identifiable reference to your niche or something quantified.
ConvertKit differentiates themselves from other email marketing platforms by positioning their software as a solution made for creators.
They highlight who they serve, making them top of mind for anyone identifying as a creator or anyone recommending an email marketing platform to a creator.
4. It’s succinct
It’s not as wordy as a mission statement, but it’s not as short as one of those awful four-word tag lines.
HostGator’s value proposition is eight words long, yet it packs a punch.
“Web hosting that scales from easy to expert.”
We know they provide web hosting that grows with your business and experience.
5. It’s sticky
Your visitor will likely remember it – not recite it but recall it.
ClickUp has nailed the memorable value proposition, and it embodies the core of their solution.
They’re an all-in-one productivity platform on a mission to replace all other productivity apps while saving users more time.
How to test your value proposition
After creating an effective value proposition, the work doesn’t stop there.
Validation and experimentation are critical parts of the conversion copywriting process.
Joanna Wiebe shows us how to validate copy with customers using a simple moderated process in the Tutorial Tuesday video below.
Watch it to learn how to conduct moderated user testing to get valuable insight on your USP copy.
Additional resources to help you write a great USP
Copyhackers eBook 7 — The Great Value Proposition Test: 11 case studies to help you find & test your USP — is an excellent resource to learn more about USPs and how to write your own.
You can download it here. (Click to automatically download the free eBook).
You can also join the Conversion Copywriting 101 course (free).
Modules 4 and 8 are great for sharpening your general conversion copywriting skills.
They’ll also come in handy when you’re working on your value proposition.