4 Steps to Writing a Compelling Value Proposition
Let's explore 4 steps to writing a compelling value proposition.
Does your value proposition repel or attract? Do you have a value proposition? Not having one or one that is not compelling enough might be why your competition is beating you, even though there is a lot of opportunity in the market today.
A lot of competition and opportunity
There is a lot of competition but there is also a lot of opportunity in today's business world. Take my web design company for instance. We are located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The city of Dallas is home to over 600 company headquarters. There are 21 Fortune 500 companies and 41 Fortune 1000 companies in DFW. But Dallas is not just made up of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies. There are 1000's of small businesses located in the Dallas Area.
How many companies are in Dallas-Fort Worth?
In all there are over 65,000 businesses that call Dallas home. Small businesses make up the largest majority of that market. There are 59,000 small businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the Dallas Economic Development website.
If that sounds intimidating, it is. Those numbers represent a lot of competition, but they also represent a lot of opportunity. With any major business center, there is a lot of opportunity to grow and expand your own business. But growth and expansion doesn't happen on its on. It takes work to grow a startup into a successful business.
Growing a business doesn't just involve working hard. You can grind it out all day long and see no return on your sweat capital. You have to work smart. Part of working smart and capitalizing on the opportunity that is present in the Dallas market, and in your market, involves setting your business apart from the competition.
How can you set your business apart from the competition?
Besides offering a good product and exceptional service, you have to communicate your value and worth to the market. The best way to communicate your value to the market is through a clear and concise value proposition.
What’s a value proposition?
A value proposition is a statement that clearly identifies the benefits a company's products and services deliver to its customers.
A value proposition is clear.
It is not difficult to understand. The language you use should be easily understood by those reading it. They shouldn't have to get out a dictionary to look up the words. The phrasing shouldn't be too academic, nor should it be clunky in how it reads. The best value propositions are catchy, making them easy to reminder.
A value proposition is succinct.
It gets to the point quickly. Your potential customers or clients shouldn't have to read page or even a paragraph to understand what value you can offer. You can and should communicate your companies value in a short sentence or phrase.
A value proposition is not about you.
Instead it is about what you can do for your customer, more specifically, it is what you can do for your target audience. That means a value proposition is not:
- We are the top rated pool company, plumber, electrician, realtor in the area.
That is great you are top rated. You should probably include that at some point in your website copy. But that is not a value proposition. It just tells me something about you. It doesn’t tell me what you can do for me.
- Hi. My name is… I am a web designer.
That is great you are web designer. But again, it doesn’t tell me what you can do for me.
A value proposition is focused.
Almost every business has a target market. Your value proposition should appeal to your target audience. It can be difficult to niche down to a particular market. I know it has been hard for me to niche down my business to one particular segment of the market. It feels like I am missing out on a lot of opportunity by focusing in on one segment of the market. But what I am learning is that if I don't focus on one segment of the market, I end up missing out on business altogether.
People want to work with people who know how to serve them and their business. Someone who focuses on one particular market should understand that market's struggles and difficulties. They should have worked through issues in the past. They should know the solution to that market's problems as well as they should have the tools to serve them appropriately. Yes, niching down to a particular segment of the market might be scary, but it could also be the difference between barely filling your calendar and being booked full.
Spend some time thinking about the customers you have served in the past. Think about the problems you were able to solve for them. Did you enjoy solving those problems? Did you enjoy working within that segment of the market? Do you have the tools to continue to solve their problems and add value to their business? Answering those questions will guide you one step closer to your target market.
Value propositions are clear, succinct, customer centric, and focused on a companies target audience.
4 Steps to Writing a Compelling Value Proposition
Hopefully, I have convinced you by now that a value proposition is absolutely essential for your business. But you might be thinking, how do I write one?
(1) Why does my business exist?
This is a great question with which to start. Before you can compel others to hire or buy from you, you need to be clear on why your business exists. What need are you filling in the market? Every business solves a problem or serves a need, what about yours? What need does your business fill? What problem does it solve?
Beyond determining why your business exists, it is also helpful to determine who you typically serve. In other words, what niche does your business exist in, if any. Some businesses like plumbers and electricians, might not have a specific niche. Or their niche might be very broad - homeowners or commercial. That is ok. But other businesses like hair stylists might have a very specific niche that they typically serve. It is important to discover your niche and begin thinking about how you serve them or what problems you solve for them (see my discussion above for more detail on this topic).
(2) How is my business - my product or services - different from my competitors?
It is important to understand how you are different from your competitors. Remember, there are 59,000 small businesses in the DFW area alone. Of course, not all of them do what you do or what I do. While your market might be smaller, it is almost guaranteed that you have a competitor in your area. If you want to beat out the competition, you have to understand how you are different from them.
I know you are probably thinking at this point, I have no idea how I am different. Let me assure you, even the most generic business has a differentiator. If you don't, you need to find one and find it fast. If you want a consumer to choose you over another company in your area that does that same thing, you need to be able to tell them why you are different.
How can you discover and communicate your difference?
A question I have my clients answer is: What is it that only I can do? Many struggle to answer the question. Especially those that are in a saturated industry. But I tell them to focus on something, even if it is something small. Something they can communicate that they do different.
It is a fun exercise and definitely makes you think. Give it a try! Ask yourself right now: what is it that only I could do? If you think about it hard enough, I am sure you can find something that you can do that your competition can't.
Answering that questions doesn't require you to have a special unique offering someone else doesn't have. It just requires you to add a special twist to it. Or a special way of doing something. Or a special process that you have that others don't have. Even if your process is similar, how can you change it to make it unique to your business?
If you are struggling to come up with a unique offering for your business, feel free to drop me an email. I am happy to help you think through it - email@example.com
(3) Write a clear and concise value proposition.
This can be the hardest part. Being wordy is easier than being concise. But if you want your value proposition to speak to your target market, you have to be concise. A phrase or sentence is all you need. The rest of the website is going to draw your value out. The goal is for a website visitor to know what you do, how you differ from your competition, and what value you are going to provide them so that they keep exploring your website.
Use this formula: Your Customer + their problem + your plan to solve their problem + the outcome if you solve their problem.
Here is an example from a recent client. They provide organic lawn care solutions.
“Providing you with smarter, more responsible, and safer lawn care solutions.”
The Customer = a homeowner, specifically someone who cares about the environment and most likely has kids or pets.
The Problem = lawn chemicals are damaging to the environment and not safe for kids and pets.
The Plan = to provide an alternative to the typical chemical treatment.
The Outcome = smarter, more environmentally conscious, and a safer way to have a nice lawn.
Using that formula and writing out the answers to it like I have done above, if the first step to coming up with a succinct sentence. Attempting to jump right to a succinct phrase or sentence is almost impossible and will drive you crazy trying. Start with the formula. Be as wordy as you need to be at first. Then work to reduce, reduce, reduce until you have a phrase or sentence that communicates your unique value proposition.
(4) Communicate your USP or Value proposition in a big headline in your homepage header section.
Once you have your value proposition written, think about the design. How are you going to draw your website visitors to that phrase so that it stands out? The best way to make something stand out and grab the attention of your visitor is by the use of hierarchy.
What is hierarchy?
Here is an example:
In web design, hierarchy is used to set something off in order to draw your attention to that which is most important. Hierarchy is accomplished in a number of ways, one of which is making text larger than text that is nearby.
I love working with small business owners, especially those in the wellness space. If you need help crafting a compelling value proposition or designing a new website, send me a message. I'd love to connect with you and find out if we would be a good fit. firstname.lastname@example.org
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