Marketing Plan

Is Your Value Proposition Helping or Hurting You?

Author:  Debra Murphy


Reading Time: 6 minutes
Is Your Value Proposition Helping or Hurting You?

If someone is willing to invest in your business, what do you promise to do that provides value to them that matters? This promise needs to be based on something you do that is uniquely different from your competition. This is your value proposition and it needs to identify the best reason for your ideal client to buy what you sell.

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to customers after they buy from you. It describes the benefits your customers can expect from your products or services.

Your value proposition is a concise statement that tells the target customer why they should buy from you. It should clearly convey:

  • Value. The specific benefits you provide your ideal client.
  • Relevancy – How you solve your customers’ problems.
  • Unique differentiation. Why customers should buy from you and not your competition.

Why is having a value proposition important?

A strong value proposition proves that you truly understand your customers. You know:

  • What they wish to accomplish so they are able to get their jobs done.
  • Which pains or negative outcomes they want to eliminate.
  • The positive outcomes they want to achieve.

This alignment of your value, benefits and solutions with your customers’ needs helps them determine why they should choose you over your competition.

Where do you use your value proposition?

Your value proposition needs to be communicated via your marketing. It should be the first thing your visitor sees when they reach your website. It should be the foundation of your messaging.

If it speaks to them, they will quickly know whether you understand them. Make sure your homepage encompasses your value proposition and that it:

  • Explains who you work with and the value you provide – Many companies have a poorly developed value proposition because they try to be everything to everyone.
  • Tells your audience what makes you uniquely different – It’s not just the product or service you sell but the perceived value in your offering that encompasses the entire customer experience.
  • Aligns with what your target audience wants or needs – This shows that you understand their challenges which will entice them to find out more.

What makes an effective value proposition?

Strong value propositions deliver results:

  • Increased revenue
  • Faster time to market
  • Decreased costs
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased market share
  • Improved customer retention

When prospects realize value from your products and services, you increase sales, generate quality leads and strengthen customer loyalty.

How to write an effective value proposition

To help you write an effective value proposition, Strategyzer provides a canvas to help you work through the information needed.

Strategyzer Value Proposition Canvas

Who specifically do we work with?

The process of writing a value proposition starts with you having a clear understanding of your target audience. If you look at the right side of the canvas, this is where you record your client needs.

What is that one thing that they would do ANYTHING and pay (relatively) ANYTHING to solve, eliminate, or achieve?

Are they looking to eliminate a pain?

  • Overcome a challenge, struggle or obstacle they encounter on a daily basis
  • Eliminate a money or time leak

Are they striving for a positive outcome? 

  • Achieve that one goal that seems unattainable
  • Make a huge improvement in their lives or business

The better you understand who you work with, the more you can define their wants, needs and challenges.

What do we do that is unique to our company?

On the left side of the canvas is where you define how your products or services help your target audience.  But how you help your clients should differentiate your business in a way that distinguishes you from your competition.

To identify your unique strength, think about why your current clients bought from you. What have your clients said about working with you that made you stand out in their minds?

Most likely what made you memorable was something that to you that was really simple. And because it is simple to us, we don’t place any value on it. We are taught to believe that things of value have to be hard to do. But normally what is easy for you is hard for others.

  • Are you a master at simplifying processes for your clients?
  • Do you bring a new perspective to a challenge that helps your clients determine a solution they never would have thought of without you?
  • Are you able to do something faster than anyone else could?
  • Do you create systems that help your clients learn how to do things more effectively?

Your differentiation should be things that make you different in your field, packaged in a way that others cannot copy. Record these unique differences and keep working on them until you have one that sets you apart from others and aligns with the needs of your ideal client.

No value proposition is better than an ineffective one

Many small businesses have difficulty defining their value proposition. Let’s take a look at the following value propositions. When reading these, remember the three things your value proposition must convey: value, relevancy and unique differentiation.

Web Design Agency

“We partner with clients, enhancing their online marketing, web strategies and online campaigns. We are dedicated to building long-term relationships through superior customer service, beautiful design, cutting edge programming and the deployment of SEO/SEM marketing best practices.”

This is nice, but what are you going to do for me?

Business Coach

“I will confidentially work with you to find the answers to the questions that will build your organization by raising performance levels. Through a process of understanding you and your business, I will focus on strategy development and partner with you to bring about a disciplined process to execute your business plan. You will move your performance and that of your organization to a higher level.”

This is more a how you work with us verses what you will do for us.

These statements also don’t:

  • Say who they work with – I need to know that you understand my business and my challenges.
  • Tell me what I get for working with you – What results will I get from my website? What do you mean by move my performance?
  • Tell me why you are different from your competition – All three of these statements would work on any of their competitors websites.

Examples of effective value propositions

Here are effective value propositions. These statements encourage prospects to find out more:

  • Web Design Agency – Our web design services for small businesses create a consistent and well designed web presence that increases online visibility while decreasing the cost of acquiring new qualified leads by 30%.
  • Business Coach – Our business coaching services for home improvement contractors increase sales while decreasing costs. Typically our clients grow their business by a minimum of 20-40% over the year while reducing costs by 30%.

Defining your value proposition takes work but is worth it if you can identify the one real benefit you can deliver with confidence. A successfully tested and proven value proposition is essential to opening more doors and closing more sales. Work on a powerful statement that gives people the ultimate reason to buy.

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