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How to write a value proposition for your small business

What is a value proposition: man using a computer

Key takeaways

  • A value proposition can help you stand out by delivering a unique promise to your target audience
  • Strong value propositions can attract your ideal customers, leading to more sales and increased client satisfaction
  • Identify your target audience before crafting your promise, then get feedback from customers on your value prop to ensure it resonates

As a small business owner, you’re confident your product or service can meet your target audience’s needs. But without an effective pitch, your potential customers won’t know that. People depend on you to provide a powerful value proposition that clarifies your competitive advantage—the reasons a customer should choose you over the competition.

So, what is a value proposition? Here’s what you need to know about this valuable statement and how to craft one of your own.

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition (often called “value prop” for short) is a promise to solve a customer’s problem or improve their life. This clear, concise, and compelling statement summarizes the benefits you provide—and it should appeal directly to your target audience

A good value proposition includes a headline and subhead that identify:

  • A problem that affects your target market and how you’ll solve it
  • Key benefits or features you’ll provide with your product or service
  • Your competitive advantage, or why your ideal customer should choose you over your competitors

On your website and online platforms, a value prop should be front and center. A value proposition is usually the first block of text you see when visiting a company’s homepage or landing page. It acts as a selling point to get visitors interested and engaged.

Beyond your website, your value proposition can also serve as a talking point in pitch conversations and help you create effective print or digital marketing campaigns.

Unique value proposition examples

As you prepare to write your own value proposition, draw inspiration from successful value proposition examples. Reading real-world copywriting from professional marketers can help you hone your own statement.

Evernote

Headline: Tame your work, organize your life.

Subhead: Remember everything and tackle any project with your notes, tasks, and schedule all in one place.

As a software company that helps creatives and business owners who struggle with organization, Evernote‘s value proposition clearly illustrates how it makes life easier for customers. The product helps you get organized, tackle large workloads, and avoid missed deadlines. The company also differentiates itself by identifying some specific needs that it can streamline:note taking, task management, and scheduling.

Apple Watch Series 6

Headline: The future of health is on your wrist.

Subhead: Measure your blood oxygen level with a revolutionary sensor and app. Take an ECG anytime, anywhere. See your fitness metrics at a glance with the enhanced Always-On Retina display. With Apple Watch Series 6 on your wrist, a healthier, more active, more connected life is within reach.

This is a great value proposition example because it sets customer expectations for a  specific product. The value prop includes a variety of unique features to differentiate the product and illustrate its value. But ultimately, it’s still focused on one key need: health management.

How to craft a compelling value proposition

Woman happily typing on a laptop

Any small business owner can create a strong value proposition to attract their target market. Start with these three steps to create your value prop.

1. Understand your target customer

Before you write a value proposition, take time to identify your target audience—the customers who your brand, product, or service can best help. Create a profile for your ideal customer with characteristics such as:

  • Demographic information, including age range, marital status, and income level
  • Geographic information, such as specific cities or zip codes
  • Psychographic information, such as interests, values, and lifestyles
  • Behavioral information, such as spending habits, brand loyalty, and previous product ratings

Understanding your target market will help you focus your value proposition on the people who matter: your customers.

2. Answer crucial questions

Your value proposition should address crucial questions about your business. As you brainstorm, start by writing down answers to the following:

  • What problem are you solving?
  • How do you solve that problem?
  • What benefit does your company provide to customers?
  • What does your company do better than your competitors?

Rearrange your answers to each question until you create the strongest value proposition possible for your target audience. Then, refine the statement by breaking it down into a catchy headline (usually a single sentence or phrase) and a 1-3 sentence subhead. Always aim for clarity and simplicity.

3. Gather customer feedback

As you finalize your value proposition, gather feedback from members of your target market, including both your current customer base and potential clients. Host a focus group, send surveys, or chat with shoppers in-person to compare reactions to multiple value props and better understand the value they’re seeking.

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3 key benefits of a great value proposition

What is a value proposition: woman using a laptop

Creating a customer value proposition is one of the best ways to promote your business. It helps you hone your messaging, providing clarity about what you do and who you serve. Specific key benefits include:

1. Better differentiation

Your competitors may offer similar—and sometimes better—features and pricing. But a strong value proposition helps you emphasize the incalculable value of your company’s products, services, or brand experience. Maybe it’s your compelling brand story. Maybe it’s a unique perspective you offer on a niche industry.These differentiators will capture the attention of your target market while they’re still shopping around.

2. Higher conversion rates

A conversion rate is the percentage of your website visitors who complete a specific goal, like signing up for a consultation or purchasing a product. When you warm up potential customers with a value prop, they are more likely to convert. Clearly stating your unique value helps buyers make faster decisions and decreases the chances that they’ll leave your site before taking action.

3. Increased customer satisfaction

Your company’s value proposition can also help you grow your business by increasing satisfaction with your brand across your customer base.

A great value prop sets expectations for what customers will get out of your service so clients can determine if they’re a good fit for your solution. For example, if you’re an auto mechanic who offers best-in-class service for Japanese cars, you’re not looking for clients with BMWs or Audis. With a clear value prop, you can be confident that any new leads will fit your target market, meaning you can adequately address their pain points

Comparing value propositions with other branding elements

Value propositions carry a unique purpose when you’re building a brand. However, they’re often confused for or replaced with other brand elements. Make sure the value proposition you’ve developed differs from mission statements, taglines, and positioning statements.

  • Mission statements: Value propositions and mission statements both define what you provide for clients, but value props are more specific. They tell shoppers what problem you can solve right now, and in turn, drive sales, while mission statements broadly define your company’s purpose and build long-term loyalty.
  • Taglines: A tagline is a short phrase that helps people identify your brand, but it doesn’t convey your value. Although a memorable part of Nike’s brand identity, catchphrase “Just do it” doesn’t tell you much about how the company helps potential customers.
  • Positioning statements: Positioning statements state the factors that differentiate you from competitors, while value props include a wide range of benefits for your target audience. A positioning statement might be part of your value proposition, but it doesn’t fulfill the entire purpose of a value prop. For example, WordPress.com‘s website header is actually a positioning statement: “Welcome to the world’s most popular website builder.”

Sell more with a strong value proposition

So, what is a value proposition? It’s a promise that explains how you’ll solve a problem in your customers’ lives—and do so better than your competitors. The more compelling your value proposition is to your target audience, the more likely they’ll convert to regular customers

To get more out of your value prop, use search engine optimization (SEO) to draw your target market to your website.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.