Developing a Killer Value Proposition for Your Business
Legend-wait for it-DARY!
You know you're awesome. Your customers know you're awesome. Barney Stensin from How I Met Your Mother knows he's awesome.
But do your website visitors and leads know you're awesome?
Just to show you that even the most experienced marketing agencies still struggle with providing a value proposition that actually catches a potential customer's eye, builds credibility, and screams you're different from the rest, let me let you in on a little secret of my own.
It wasn't until Alexi Leimbach, our Director of Marketing at Xcellimark, dragged me into the conference room, pulled up our home page, and said,
"Would you stay on our site if you first saw this? Would you be convinced of our expertise at first glance, in the first 8 seconds, above the fold? I wouldn't. And I know we're awesome and incredible at what we do, but we don't show it where it matters most."
I stared in disbelief that, as a digital marketing agency, we had not nailed our own value proposition.
We help our clients develop their killer value proposition all day long, for years, yet we forget to take a look in the mirror sometimes.
To be fair, we have found that most companies have a very difficult time articulating their own value proposition because they are too close to it to clearly state it.
Many times it takes an outsider to help pull out your stats and accomplishments in order to clearly communicate your value proposition.
And it takes a little help to be able to state it in a clear but succinct manner.
Because, you have 8 seconds to pull it off, not 5 minutes.
It's a lot of pressure to portray your entire credibility and experience in 8 seconds, with very few words and limited space, while appealing to the reader's mind.
Effectively and concisely communicating a compelling value proposition is critical to your success in generating more leads from your website and increasing your sales.
What did I do after Alexi told me the ugly truth?
I pulled our best team together and we spent our entire afternoon breaking down what makes us different from the rest of the thousands of marketing agencies out there.
We then immediately changed our home page and are proud to stand behind what our value proposition tells our visitors.
Unless you’re a top brand like Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Intel, or Disney who have spent billions of dollars in branding over decades, you need to develop, or at least re-evaluate, your value proposition.
So, Now It's Your Turn
If you didn't understand the need to set your company apart from its competitors, you probably wouldn't still be in business.
However, there's a big difference between intuitively understanding the need to communicate your company's value proposition and actually creating a compelling statement that captures your brand and clearly differentiates it from your competition.
In order to bolster your digital marketing strategy into one that converts your website visitors into customers, a concise and compelling company value proposition is critical.
What Is a Company Value Proposition Anyway?
Simply put, your company's value proposition, also known as a unique selling proposition, aims to convince prospects why they should do business with you instead of one of your competitors.
This sounds simple enough, but far too many business owners and marketers do not develop or effectively communicate a compelling value proposition.
Developing Your Value Proposition
Crafting a value proposition that compliments all other aspects of your digital marketing strategy requires several well-thought-out steps.
So, let's break them down.
1. Identify your highest-value prospects and group them into “buyer personas."
Using historical sales and lead generation data, group your company's ideal prospects and customers into cohesive segments whose members have the same needs, goals and pain points.
For example, our ideal buyer persona for our digital marketing agency services is broken down like this:
- Position In Company: A marketing or sales executive, CEO, or C-Suite marketing or sales employee
- Position Needs: Needs to generate more qualified leads for their sales team, increase sales opportunities and closing rates, increase the overall revenue for their company, or train their marketing and sales team in the latest digital marketing and social selling techniques.
- Persona's Prospects: Their prospects conduct research online for their product or service. As a result, they need to attract these prospects to their website in order to engage with them, convert them to a qualified lead, and nurture a relationship with them to hopefully one day become a valuable customer.
- Company Revenue: Our ideal buyer persona’s annual company revenue is at least $3 million a year.
2. Zero in on the specific objectives and pain points of each group.
Although the members of each buyer persona group have some obvious similarities, it's still essential to list out what makes their needs, goals, and pain points unique.
For instance, a company owner or marketing executive:
- Lacks a significant volume of leads in order to give their sales team more opportunities to close more business.
- Needs to significantly increase their organic website traffic through search engines such as Google and Bing in order to convert more leads for their sales team. The organic search engine visitors typically have much higher conversion rates to leads than other forms of advertising.
3. Present a tailored solution to each group's needs.
Make each buyer persona feel as if you're directly addressing their needs, goals, and pain points.
For instance, our buyer persona needs a proven marketing system for:
- Attracting more visitors to their website.
- Converting a higher percentage of those visitors to leads.
- Nurturing those leads through content offers that match their buying cycle in order to help their sales team close more business.
- Continuing to engage their customers after the sale to increase upsell opportunities.
Putting It All Together
These steps require you to collect and synthesize a lot of information. However, your value proposition always needs to be short and punchy.
Ideally, it should fit into one or two sentences with an outside maximum of 40 words.
Be careful though to make it clear.
Clarity is the key to helping people understand your value proposition.
Some companies try to be clever. That only works well if you are very clear at the same time.
If you can't break down the high-level solutions your company offers your prospects, it might not be a bad idea to take another look at this process and see if you can't isolate your core areas of appeal even further.
To help you get started, here is what our team came up with for our digital marketing agency services by the end of the meeting mentioned at the beginning of this blog:
For 19 years and 17 awards, Xcellimark has increased client leads by an average of 93% within 12 months. Our digital marketing expertise provides the people, methodology, and technology, and training to help you grow.
However, you will want to refine your value proposition until you can express it in a single, instantly-credible sentence using around 10 words. Our example for our digital marketing agency is:
We increase client leads on average 93% within 12 months.
Optimizing your value proposition is part of a continuously-evolving cycle. It is not a one-time-done process.
Your marketplace is continuously evolving. Your competition will change and evolve as well. There will be new products and services in your marketplace and you customers’ needs will shift.
Try to position your company as close as you can to be the “only” factor that uniquely sets you apart from your ideal buyers’ other options.
Now go be the Barney Stensin of your industry because, well let's face it. You're awesome.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in Sept 2014 and has been updated multiple times for accuracy and freshness.