Your value proposition is your company's primary unique identifiers that highlight why prospects should work with your company instead of your competitors.
In this guide, we provide a step-by-step guide into how to write a value proposition in 2020. You will learn what this business term means and how it can be the determining factor of the difference between profits or loses. You will also learn how to create a value proposition statement and push your business results into the "green."
What Makes An Effective Value Proposition?
Your value proposition is your company's primary unique identifier. The best value proposition examples highlight those one or two key differences that separates you from all other competitors. Effective value propositions are what clearly distinguish your business from competitors, while highlighting why working with your company is the wise decision.
Defining your value proposition is essential for any business. If you know what separates you from the rest, that will be much easier to sell. Your value proposition is your key advantage, and it is what makes you and your company unique. So even if you are operating in the most saturated industry in the world, that value proposition is going to make you special, and make all other competitors irrelevant.
Understanding B2B Value Propositions
There are two sides that need to understand about the best value propositions: you, and your potential customers.
First, it is of critical importance for you to know what is your value proposition. If you don't, you can't expect your ideal buyer personas to choose your products or your company in general. Therefore, the first step is figuring out what it is, if you haven't done already.
However, while it matters that you know, it is crucial that your potential customers know your key selling point. If they don't understand that either means:
- You don't know what your value proposition is.
- You do know, but you are failing to communicate the message to your audience.
- You do know, and you are communicating, but the audience doesn't feel like that value proposition separates you from the competition (which means you chose incorrectly).
So, ideally, you will know what your concise value proposition is, and you will focus on that in your marketing and sales efforts. That will result in your potential buyers being aware of the proposition. If that is the case, they will have no doubts when choosing your products.
In fact, communicating your B2B value proposition examples is one of the best marketing tactics you can implement, as it works on its own. If your customers understand what separates you from the rest, they will always choose you, if that value proposition is what they are after. That makes creating a value proposition one of the most cost-effective marketing moves you can make.
The Big "Why"
The value proposition is not just about the services you offer and the products you sell, no. It is that "why" behind everything, a much deeper reason. It is the "cause" that is driving your business.
Your value proposition is the unique way that you solve your potential customer’s problems as no one else does. When people that experience these challenges hear about your value proposition, their decision becomes automatic. You are the one that provides the best solution, and no one else will do it better.
So, a value proposition is something much deeper than a brand's visual identity.
While having a slogan and a logo is necessary and an excellent way for customers to identify your business, it is usually not the thing that makes or breaks the deal. Sure, a generic logo might make you look unprofessional, but that's about it. You can have the best logo in the world, but without a clear value proposition, you won't be able to close sales more consistently.
The Big "How"
The value proposition will also answer the question, "How do your products and services help other people solve their problems?" - This is a huge question, as it is exactly what customers want to hear. If you are able to provide a clear answer to this question, you appear as “the one” in their eyes, and they will immediately hire you to keep the promise and solve it.
Of course, this has to be something specific. Going too broad, and being too vague won't make the deal happen. Pick something "niche" that will solve a particular pain point or operational problem for the specific type of customer. You want to be the go-to problem solver, not just a random Jack of all trades.
A Promise Of Value
Your value proposition is the promise you make to potential customers. It is that deep message that you send, that goes beyond the product itself. Yes, the customer will buy the product/service, but the reason why they have selected your company is your value proposition.
They know that each of your products/services has that proposition at its core.
But, because it is a promise of value, that value proposition is also what makes the deal happen, financially. Because they know exactly what they get for the money paid, customers are able to compare your product and services with others with a similar price.
That is what makes the value proposition so special—they can compare prices, but the value proposition is unique. If you do it right and make yourself stand out from the crowd, the customer will always choose your product, even if it is the most expensive one they can afford.
How To Create Value Proposition?
1. Find The ONE Problem
While it may seem like your company offers many services and sells multiple products, when coining your value proposition, it should all be brought down to ONE problem that you solve. The value proposition you write should tackle that one issue in a specific way, making your company unique, and giving future customers an obvious reason why you are the right one to choose.
That means the problem should be obvious, but also critical at the same time. The customer knows what they want to be solved, but lacks your knowledge, tools, and expertise to solve it. If you manage to address their problem directly in your value proposition, they will become an instant customer as soon as they read it. And if you do manage to tackle the problem successfully, they will become your lifelong fan.
It is essential to choose a problem worth solving. It has to be a particular pain point that is troubling your customers at a given moment. You should be the fireman that douses the flame, a savior that prevents the problem from causing more issues.
While it doesn't have to be a genuinely life-threatening situation, it should at least be urgent. So, make sure the problem your value proposition promises to solve is a real one and a big one. That will make it much more effective. Of course, you need to make sure you are able to deliver on that promise.
2. Find The ONE Buyer
While it might seem like a good idea to attract the broadest buyer base possible, that can backfire. Being too broad will make you into an above-mentioned Jack of all trades, and people are not looking for that. Instead, they are looking for specialists that can solve their unique problems.
In other words, they feel like their problem is unique, even if it isn't, and your job is to understand them. Create a value proposition that helps them solve that particular problem. If your customers get the feeling like you are addressing them directly, they will have no second thoughts when clicking that buy button, or grabbing the phone to call you.
3. Identifying The Benefits Your Business Has
If you are having trouble answering the "why" and "how" questions, you can take a slightly different approach. You want to list all the benefits your company brings to the table and all the reasons why your customers end up choosing you.
If you are already running a business, go through testimonials and feedback you got from previous customers. Read through the emails, comments, and messages and notice if anything repeats. If, for example, many praise you for doing the work well before the deadline, or that you are extremely polite and caring, that will objectively speak about your professionalism. Try to find as many of those benefits and difference-makers and write them all in one place.
Then it is time to trim the list. Do it again, and again, you want only a few key differences to remain. While you do the trimming, focus on the "why" and "how" questions. You want those reasons and benefits that remain to answer them the best. It will also give you an obvious singular problem your company is best at solving.
4. Finding The Unique Way You Solve Buyer Problems
So, you have figured out who your target buyer is, and also what their major problem is, now we have to address the "why" again, finding what is so unique about the type of service or product you provide.
This can be anything from the methods you choose work best, to the technologies you use are most efficient, all the way to your experience or prior results you achieved. Ideally, this will be a combination of all of this but written in a concise way that clearly shows you are the one for the job, and there's no one else in the world to do it better.
Here, your competition is a great inspiration. Each one of your competitors tries to do things differently, adding a slight tweak to their trade. Your job is to explain to your potential customers why you are the one to do it better, or faster, or at a better price. You want to communicate that unique value you bring to the table, clearly separating you from the rest of the herd, which is your whole industry.
5. Focus On Benefits, Not Features
This next tip is one of the oldest tricks in the books, but it works. By focusing on the benefits instead of features, you are able to show people how your products and services can improve their life. This speaks to a much broader audience.
For example, if you state a feature of your new blender, telling people how it has XXX motor strength, that is only good for the most technical customer. But, if you describe how it will leave no crumbs when making a shake, it is a whole different experience. Anyone who made shakes that are half-solid can relate to that.
The same goes for describing your services. Instead of focusing on the tools and techniques you use, it is a better idea to focus on results and changes people will see and feel once you've done the job.
6. Offer Measurable Proof
While targeting a particular customer and the exact problem that bothers them is excellent, you want to have proof that backs up your problem-solving claims. Testimonials, case studies, or concrete numbers showing the benefits of your products all work and will show them that you are a real expert in the field.
If you are just starting out, and you don't have any prior work, stating your diplomas, or the expertise of your team members might be an option. Or, you can tell people about the cause behind the company, and what is the unique thing that motivated you to start it.
And never lie about being experienced, if you aren't yet. In fact, stating that you are a young and energetic team that is eager to prove themselves and position among the more experienced competition can be an element of a value proposition that can drive the buyers in.
7. Keep It Clean, Simple And Concise
No matter how sophisticated your tools and working methods are, or how big your team is, or how many degrees you have, your value proposition should be as short, simple, and clean as possible.
In fact, your whole website copy should have only the necessary information, but the value proposition should be the prime example of conciseness. Its goal is to make that lasting first impression, to tell people what they came to hear, how you are the one to solve their burning problem.
But remember, value propositions are not slogans. They shouldn't be too short and vague. Concise only means no fluff, but you still need to explain to customers what they get from you that they won't get from your competitors.
Elements Of Value Proposition
Every business should have its own value proposition, which is why it is impossible to make a one-size-fits-all solution or a blueprint for making one. But, while there are no strict recipes, you will notice that most value propositions have some common elements which we will discuss now.
You don't have to use all of them for your company, but reading through them will give you a better idea of what might work in your case. Below outlines 6 elements of value proposition that can refine your brand messaging.
The headline is the most obvious value proposition element, and in fact, oftentimes the only element there is. Because many value propositions only have a headline, a single sentence, they are often confused with slogans.
DuckDuckGo has a very effective one-line value proposition: "The search engine that doesn't track you." When you analyze it, you can see they have addressed everything in a single sentence, stating what clearly separates them from the competition. Most search engines track user behavior, and if you are a privacy-conscious person, you will be glad to know that DDG doesn't.
2. A Compelling Subheading
A subheading is not mandatory, but it is often necessary if you have a lot of competition doing similar things to what you do. It will go a bit deeper than the headline, but it still needs to be concise and to the point. The headline and the subheading should work together, explaining the same concept.
The heading needs to be the direct punch that attracts attention, and the subheading should be the follow up that provides the closure, explaining how you tackle the issue your potential customer faces.
Opera, for example, has "Fast, secure, easy-to-use browser" as their headline. But, they added a subheading below it stating: "Opera browser is everything you need to do more on the web. Now with a built-in ad blocker."
While their headline addresses the key benefits, that is not enough to separate them from the competition, which is why their subheading completes the proposition. It explains how their browser lets you do MORE on the web than others, but also has an ad-blocker most competitors don't.
3. Links To Prove Your Positions
A value proposition is essentially making a bold promise. You are telling your customers you are the right person/company to solve their issues. But, you better back up those claims, as anyone can say that.
That's why it is imperative to link to proofs. This can be anything from a case study, to your awards page, or testimonials and user reviews customers left. But pick only one, and link one word in your value proposition to it. That will show people you are not just bragging without any facts to back up your claims.
4. Bullet Points And Media
While it is not advisable for everyone, you can consider going a bit more in-depth with your value proposition. While we stated how you should focus on benefits and not features, sometimes the main benefit is the feature.
For example, Bugatti Chiron is currently the fastest car in the world, and stating 304 mph as the top speed is an obvious advantage that separates them from the rest.
It is also an option to add a short video or a picture as a part of your value proposition. But, be careful with that, as you don't want to dilute the message. You have a very limited time to make that initial impression, so make sure to use it to make something impactful and lasting.
5. How To Know If Your Value Proposition Works?
Like we said above, it is one thing to have and understand your value proposition, it is something entirely different to communicate it to your potential customers successfully. But, because the value proposition isn't anything strict and easily measurable, it is hard to get it right the first time you create it.
That's why it is important to test things. Create multiple value propositions, and A/B test them, seeing which works best. Conversions and click-through rates will be an indicator of which one did better. Just make sure you are not changing too many other things at once. If changes do happen, you won't be able to tell which one caused which improvement because you made so many tweaks at once.
6. Value Proposition Can Matter In-office Too
While this article primarily focuses on the customer value proposition, this term is often used inside the company, to describe the employee value proposition.
Employee value proposition matters when hiring new people. By clearly stating it, you will attract the right candidates. If you clearly say what is expected from them and what your company is all about, you will ensure only those who share the same value apply.
That will not only make the whole hiring process more comfortable and much more streamlined; it will also ensure that your new colleagues already know what the fundamental values are for your business. That will not only make them blend in sooner, but also help them when communicating with customers, and stating the customer value proposition.
10 Best Examples of Value Proposition
Now that we’ve covered value proposition best practices and how it is one of the most important components of your brand messaging and marketing strategy, let’s look at some good value propositions examples done right. The following is a list of our top 10 examples and what makes them stand out. These examples can help you in developing a value proposition that deeper aligns with prospects and customers.
Example #1: Apple
The Apple iPhone is without a doubt the most popular and iconic electronic device, even in such an overly saturated marketplace. How does a product with as much competition as the Apple iPhone have such an impact and stand out from the hundreds of other mobile devices competing on the market?
The answer to that question is, you guessed it, their value proposition: Offering a unique experience.
Apple has always been one of the leading experts at conveying their value proposition in the copy about its products. Their elegant copy that describes the ease of use, the design of the products, and the aspirational qualities that their products offer their users, are all as fine-tuned and sleek as the aesthetic of the iPhone and other electronics themselves.
Apple’s value proposition is based completely on their aspirational messaging. Plus, their messaging is always written with a similar voice and in words that are easy enough for anyone to understand. They are excellent at taking what might be a complex point they’re trying to convey, and putting it into understandable language. Here is an example:
“Why there’s nothing quite like iPhone. Every iPhone we’ve made - and we mean every single one - was built on the same belief. That a phone should be more than a collection of features. That, above all, a phone should be simple, beautiful and magical to use.”
This copy is an amazingly effective approach that focuses on more than just the features an iPhone offers. It is selling the experience of these features, the elegant aesthetic and easy functionality of using an iPhone.
Many mobile device brands can claim that their product is easy to use and on the eyes. In fact, most mobile devices offer the same features. Apple’s value proposition has kept them at the forefront of the market for nearly a decade because instead of highlighting a specific feature(s), they choose to focus on the experience.
Aspirational messaging isn’t the only approach to value proposition that Apple takes, however. They also touch on several of the genuinely unique features that the iPhone and iOS offer to further display their products’ value.
Another great example of value proposition is Apple’s angle on security, which again conveys a similar message that highlights the experience of using an iPhone and is written in understandable verbiage that most of their users can feel good about and relate to.
What Apple understands that several other brands don’t (or weren’t fast enough to jump on at the time) is that centering their value proposition on the features of an iPhone alone would not be enough to stand out in such a saturated market. With emphasis on the experience of using an iPhone, Apple was able to take a step forward with a value proposition that is as unique as its aesthetically pleasing design and functionality.
Example #2: Uber
When you think of ride-share smartphone applications, the first brand that pops in your head is most likely: Uber. This mega-business came out of the cage swinging hard and gave traditional taxi services a run for their money.
Despite being one of the most criticized and polarized tech companies that came out of Silicon Valley, Uber does one thing extremely well and that is value proposition. Their value proposition is focused on convenience.
Uber’s value proposition pinpoints everything that is inconvenient about traditional taxi services. They do this without explicitly saying so, but by making simple statements about how their service solves these issues. Here is copy from their website:
“Tap the app, get a ride. Uber is the smartest way to get around. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.”
This value proposition is simply written, and each sentence directly addresses an issue that taxi riders have experienced. It describes how effortless and convenient the process of using their service is and really emphasizes the convenience.
Example #3: Slack
Slack is a popular workplace productivity and communication app that is easy to use, but complex enough to handle large teams that are working on even larger projects. They are also another excellent example of value proposition done correctly.
Slack’s value proposition is centered around two major factors: credibility and productivity. How do they prove that they are better than their competitors in those two areas?
In order to convey their credibility, they cleverly included the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab on their homepage as an example of one of the more complex projects being run on Slack. The image was accompanied by the following verbiage:
“A message app for teams who put robots on MARS! NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one of tens of thousands of teams around the world using Slack to make their working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive.”
This example conveys that Slack is a way for companies to work more productively with the help of their messaging and organizing features. This effective B2B marketing strategy also gives off the impression that if major companies such as NASA are using Slack, any company can and should.
As shown in the screenshot above, Slack also uses its support of integrations with other apps and platforms to reinforce its value proposition. This diversity of supported platforms is another reason why they have dominated the workplace productivity market.
Example #4: Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club has been a curator of some of the best marketing campaigns since it came onto the market almost a decade ago. They have always been experts at creating clever and compelling advertising campaigns and their value proposition is a major contributor to that.
The center of Dollar Shave Club’s value proposition is it’s competitive pricing. The following is copy from their website:
“A Great Shave for a Few Bucks. No commitment. No fees. No BS.”
The headline of this value proposition example highlights the price. Then, it continues on with a subheading that focuses on the customer’s experience with their subscription, explaining that they don’t need to fear any fine print or the need to commit. It does a great job of conveying the value and benefits, rather than the features.
Example #5: HubSpot
HubSpot is a leader in the industry of inbound marketing and sales. I think that means it is safe to say that they know a little bit about value proposition.
In their most recent sales-ready web design, their messaging is centered around providing the most convenient, easy and efficient way to help their customers grow. They even offer their services for free.
“There’s a better way to grow. Marketing, sales and service software that helps your business grow without compromise. Because ‘good for the business’ should also mean ‘good for the customer.”
In this value proposition, HubSpot brings your focus to the goal and pain point that matters most to a business owner or C-level executive: growth. You can tell in this value proposition who they are trying to target.
Example #6: Skype
Another example of value proposition is Skype’s consistently clear and simple web copy. Their value propositions of the past and present have never failed to focus on efficiency, convenience and zero obligation.
Skype’s most recent website homepage reads as follows:
“Meet Now on Skype. Host a video meeting in one click! No sign ups. No downloads required.”
With more and more businesses requiring the use of video meeting platforms, several new video conference platforms have appeared on the market. Skype’s web copy highlights how easy it is to host a video conference on their platform instantly without having to sign up or download. This value proposition brings your attention to the efficient and convenient manner in which you can set up a meeting with your team.
Example #7: ClassPass
ClassPass is an alternative option to a typical gym membership that offers flexibility and choice. They do an excellent job at conveying these competitive factors in their web copy and value proposition.
“The most flexible gym membership ever.”
This value proposition uses a clever play on words paired with an image of a yoga class to convey their message. It touches on the biggest pain point that gym-goers experience with other fitness centers and their rigid membership plans.
ClassPass’s most recent website copy highlights their competitive pricing - free - and clearly explains what customers will receive by signing up. It also focuses on their capabilities of being used at home, which has become an essential element in recent times.
“Workouts you can do anywhere.”
ClassPass is consistent with their messaging. They focus on being the flexible, convenient, affordable and customer-centric alternative to other workout options.
Example #8: Airbnb
A few years ago, when Airbnb came to be, it disrupted the hospitality industry with its innovative platform. Their marketing regime needed to have two different angles for two separate groups. One group is made up of traveling guests wanting a unique and affordable place to stay and the other is made up of hosts interested in renting out their homes, apartments, rooms, etc.
Airbnb is an amazing example of value proposition because it's a two-in-one. On one hand, they focus on how travelers can benefit from a genuinely local experience at a more affordable price and convenient price. On the other hand, it provides a way for hosts to make extra income.
“Airbnb exists to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, providing healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable.”
Similar to Apple and their aspirational messaging, Airbnb also centers its value proposition around the experience that it provides for the guests that use it to book a place to stay. For a long time, Airbnb used the headline: “Belong Anywhere.” This simple tagline conveys the customer experience, or the possibility of one.
As a business evolves and grows, its value proposition is also bound to change with it. Airbnb was originally marketed as a much cheaper option compared to booking a hotel. However, it has grown to become an experience-driven, mainstream staple platform that also has developed a premium wing known as Airbnb Plus that has an entirely different value proposition.
Example #9: Vimeo
While Youtube remains the most popular video streaming website and application, another platform has emerged and claimed its territory over a specific niche. Vimeo is a great example of using value proposition to present your brand, service or product as more desirable than your competitors.
Vimeo conveys how it offers quality over quantity with its value proposition. Its web copy reads: “Make life worth watching.” This statement makes it clear that Vimeo is a more sophisticated video streaming website that offers higher quality creations.
This value proposition directly targets video creators that commit to sharing something that is “worth watching”. It has allowed Vimeo to become the number one choice for sharing content amongst professional creators.
Example #10: Pinterest
Pinterest came onto the market with gusto and quickly became a leading force in the social media network landscape. It has evolved to not only be a source of entertainment, but also shopping and an organizational tool for personal or work purposes.
One of Pinterest’s former headlines is a great example of value proposition. It read as follows:
“A few (million) of your favorite things.”
This headline from a previous homepage conveys exactly what Pinterest is and does in a simply put phrase. It is clear and personal.
Value Proposition Takeaways
A value proposition is an often neglected part of marketing. In today's digital era, the market is the whole world. While that seems great at first glance, as it gives you an endless stream of potential customers, it also means you face an endless stream of potential competitors looking to hijack those customers.
But, if you define your value proposition and clearly communicate it to the targeted buyer personas, you make your business automatically stand out from the crowd.
So make sure you do your best when trying to write down the value proposition for your business. While it is not something set in stone, and it can change, it shouldn't be taken lightly, as it is what leaves that initial impression about your business as a whole.
Hopefully, the value proposition examples above will help you get creative with the factors that stand out about your brand and the products or services it offers. A huge marketing or design budget isn’t necessary to nail the right messaging to convey what makes your business the best at what it does. All you need is a little focus and time to consider your website from the perspective of your customers.