How to Write a Great Value Proposition

Can you guess a simple way you can convert visitors into customers? It’s through your value proposition.

In case you are not familiar with a value proposition, here is an explanation: A value proposition is a sentence that tells your visitors why they should buy from you and not your competitors. A good example of this is Shopify’s value proposition:

Shopify is everything you need to sell everywhere.

Value propositions are so effective that when we tested them on KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, we found that good ones helped boost our conversion rate by over 10%.

So, are you ready to create and test your value proposition? All you have to do to get started is follow the steps in the infographic below:

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

How to Write a Great Value Proposition

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

Focus on your target market

Your value proposition should not appeal to everyone and anyone.

Define your target audience.

You won’t be able to please everyone, so don’t try to.

Trying to reach a wider audience with your value proposition could potentially backfire.

It could end up turning people away.

Here’s an example from Dollar Shave Club:

image7 11

Look at the wording and terminology they are using in this value proposition.

I pointed out a couple of key points.

It’s clear they are trying to appeal to a younger audience.

Older generations may not understand the “level 9 yogi” analogy of their flexible cancellation plan.

The same people may not respond well to something as informal and direct as “C’mon. Do it.”

But Dollar Shave Club clearly defined their target market.

Changing their value proposition to something more basic could turn off their existing customer base.

Why?

People could see a generic pitch as boring or not as cool.

This company handles their value proposition really well in terms of focusing on a specific audience.

The small things make a big difference

What added value can you provide?

It may sound like something small, but it could make or break the customer’s decision to buy something from you or a competitor.

If you offer added value, show it off.

Here are some examples:

  • Free installation
  • Free shipping
  • Next day delivery
  • Cancel subscription at any time
  • Money back guarantee
  • Fully customizable

Don’t wait until the checkout page to tell customers about these benefits.

If you don’t put it on your homepage, they may never even get to your conversion page.

Look at how Bed Bath & Beyond accomplishes this on their website:

image9 11

The website visitors instantly see two pieces of added value:

  1. free shipping
  2. free truck delivery

Now they know they can get their order shipped free even if they are buying furniture.

It can entice them to add something big, like a couch or a table, to their shopping carts.

According to Marketing Land, free shipping is the top incentive for consumers who shop online.

image3 11

This is an essential piece of information to anyone in the ecommerce industry.

Why?

Because it’s something that adds value to the customer.

How to present your value proposition

There’s no perfect way to display your proposition.

It’s not like there’s a blueprint that has specific requirements.

With that said, there are certain components you should consider when coming up with this display on your website.

Start with a headline.

Keep it short, and try to grab the customer’s attention.

Next, create a subheader.

It will be slightly longer than your headline, adding a little bit more information.

The subheader should be specific.

You’ll also want to come up with a few sentences that describe your brand, product, or services in greater detail.

It’s always helpful to include some bullet points that outline some of your top benefits or key features.

Images work well too.

Visuals help make the customer understand exactly what you’re offering or how the product works.

Let’s take a look at the value proposition from Square:

image10 11

I love this homepage because it encompasses everything we just discussed.

The header instantly grabs the attention of prospective customers.

What exactly does the company do?

The sub header explains that you can “accept credit cards anywhere,” and the brief description goes into greater detail about how it works.

Square also included bullet points with their top features:

  • free magstripe reader
  • take chip cards
  • countertop POS system

What does the product look like?

The image shows exactly what they’re offering.

Showing scale implies more added value as well. It’s so small that it can fit into your pocket.

If you’re struggling to come up with a layout for your company’s value proposition on a website, you can treat Square’s site as a template.

Just swap out their benefits and description for your own.

But what if you don’t know your top benefits?

If that’s the case, it sounds like you have a marketing problem or a possible issue with your company’s identification.

It’s fixable if you’re willing to put in some research.

Think back to what we outlined earlier.

Start with your target audience.

Conduct a study.

Here’s an example of some critical consumer research in the IT industry in relation to the value proposition.

image6 11

If you’re in the IT field, you should focus your proposition on:

  • ecommerce
  • landing design
  • online experiences
  • analytics
  • innovation
  • digital transformation

That’s just one example.

It’s up to you to conduct research based on your company and industry.

Reach out to your customers directly and ask what they’re looking for.

Create online surveys. Conduct customer interviews.

This will help you accomplish a couple of things at the same time:

  1. build a better relationship with your existing customers;
  2. use the information to create a value proposition that attracts new customers.

Essentially, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Test your value proposition

Now that you’ve developed a value proposition, it’s time to make sure you have it optimized to maximize conversions.

A/B testing is one of the best ways to do this.

Make sure you test only one thing at a time.

If you change too much, you won’t know which aspect of the test increased or decreased conversions.

Here’s an example from California Closets:

image5 11

At first glance, these website versions appear identical.

The only thing changed was the heading.

Split-testing your website to find out which part of the value proposition is more effective will increase your conversion rates.

After you test the header, test something else.

In the example above, they could test the background image next.

They could also add more bullet points or put the bullets on another part of the screen.

The options are endless.

Another way to test your value proposition is through pay per click (PPC) advertising campaigns.

For the most part, we’ve been discussing your value proposition in relation to your website.

But that’s not the only place where you’re trying to acquire customers and get conversions.

It makes sense to have an effective value proposition on other platforms as well.

Consider using Facebook’s PPC services.

It just depends on how much you’re willing to spend.

The placement of your advertisement will impact the price.

image4 11

Back in 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion dollars.

If you want to run a PPC campaign on Instagram, you have to go through Facebook.

This will be one of the most expensive ways to test your value proposition through PPC advertising.

However, if you have the funds, you could get the most accurate results with this method.

But don’t feel obligated to use Instagram.

Facebook offers other, more affordable, placement options.

If you’d like to avoid Facebook and social platforms altogether, you’ve got other options.

Consider running your PPC testing through Google AdWords.

You can test your value proposition at a local level or internationally.

Google lets you set this up by:

  • cities
  • regions
  • countries

Less than half of small businesses are currently investing in PPC advertising.

image2 11

Even if your business is small, you can still take advantage of this strategy.

It will give you an edge over your competitors.

Focus on customer emotion

The emotional value was something we briefly discussed earlier.

I want to elaborate on this because I think it’s important.

Triggering an emotion in your value proposition can elicit a certain response from your customers.

In your case, obviously, you want this response to be a sale or conversion.

Take a look at how different industries are rated based on emotional responses:

image8 11

How can you elicit certain feelings from your customers?

Think about the goals and mission of your company.

Your value proposition should portray what your business represents.

Here’s an example from Mercedes-Benz:

image12 9

Look at the phrases they are using in the top left corner:

  • benchmark of luxury
  • peak of intelligence
  • eloquent expression
  • leading edge luxury

It’s clear what kind of emotions they are trying to elicit.

They used the word luxury twice, so they’re targeting people who want to have a very specific experience.

Symbolism.

This car portrays a certain level of social status.

That’s how they have effectively branded their company.

Let’s take a look at another example that’s on the opposite end of this spectrum.

We’ll discuss a company involved with charitable organizations.

Have you heard of Project 7?

image11 11

They sell gum and mints.

A portion of their sales goes to nonprofit businesses, suppliers, and distributors who help people in need.

The money goes to 7 different missions:

  1. Save the earth
  2. House the homeless
  3. Feed the hungry
  4. Quench the thirsty
  5. Heal the sick
  6. Teach them well
  7. Hope for peace

Businesses that give back to the community both locally and internationally should be proud of what they’re accomplishing.

Share that information with your customers in your value proposition.

It can trigger an emotional response leading to a sale.

Conclusion

If your company has a catchy slogan, that’s great.

But your slogan is not the same thing as a value proposition.

Your value proposition should talk about the functionality of your brand, products, or services.

What differentiates your company from the competition?

Your value proposition won’t appeal to everyone.

Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to.

Focus on your target market.

Mention any added value as well.

Even if it’s something small like free shipping, free installation, or a money back guarantee, it could be the deciding factor that drives a sale.

Learn how to present your value proposition:

  • header
  • subheader
  • description
  • bullet points
  • images

After you build an initial value proposition, test it.

I recommend using A/B testing and PPC advertising to find the best option for your layout.

What does your company stand for? Use this to generate an emotional response from your customers.

If you follow these tips, you can create a highly effective value proposition.

Comments

  1. Hey Neil,

    I glad that you shared the thing what I needed badly from many days. I am working hard to launch my own E-Book.(A product). I will try to make an Awesome and promising Value preposition for it. So it can get thousands of sales. 🙂

    By the way, Could I get to know how much of your time in a day you give to writing?

    Thanks for Sharing! Nice Article!
    ~Nitin Singh

    • Nitin, glad we could reach each other at the right time. Let me know if you need any help along the way. Looking forward to seeing how it all works out for you.

      I spend a couple hours a day writing. On the weekends I spend more time.

      • I knew it! I knew it that you will say this that you spend very little time for writing.
        But in a post here you advised that we all should write an article ourselves. How it is possible that you do it continuously? Have you trained your mind in such a way or it has been gifted my God?

        Anyway, thanks for such great articles you write regularly and teach us Internet Marketing. Whenever anybody show interest to understand or learn Internet Marketing, I without any hesitation advice him to read Mr. Neil Patel.

  2. Some good examples there Neil. Too many businesses fail to appreciate just how valuable a great value proposition can be.

  3. Great infographic Neil. Getting the vp right is as important as everything else. It’s not only for a company as whole but also for projects, products and even content. A content value proposition doesnt have monetary cost but involves cost of time a reader needs to put in. If what you’re telling is not worth the reader’s time, you messed up on your VP.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Karan, not sure if I follow your logic. If your VP isn’t concise and to the point it will hinder your ability to close a sale.

  4. How does this one sound? Working on mine:

    Dark and Gritty Book Cover Designs for Self-Publishing Authors That Help Increase Book Sales. Concepts Delivered in 72 Hours or Less!

    • Tony Lancaster :

      Ditch the dark and gritty – sounds cool enough but has no meaning or worse is open to misunderstanding or limiting your audience. Your value statement is ‘Book sales increased for self publishing authors. Sub-head Compelling sales concepts delivered in less than 3 days.

      • Adrijus, I would follow Tony’s advice — ditch the fluff and go with the value statement’s core.

        • @Tony and Neil – Dark and gritty is the design style that separates me from other cover designer. Most of them are generalists having ‘get a book cover and increase your sales’ taglines etc. I niche down with purpose. Maybe it’s better to use ‘Thriller/Horror/Mystery’ instead of them tho.. hmm.. maybe it’s clearer! Good to see your comments, thank you!

          • Stand your ground, Adrijus!

            The whole point of a value proposition (or what used to be called a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP) is to differentiate yourself from what everyone else is doing, and that unavoidably means “limiting your audience”.

            That’s exactly what it’s supposed to do!

            The plus side of “limiting your audience” – besides making marketing easier and more effective – is that it makes your job more fun. It brings you the sort of work you want to do and are good at doing, while driving away the stuff that bores you or takes the edge off your skills. (A good book on this strategy is The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowicz.)

            The weird thing about this niche-marketing stuff is that no sooner does an entrepreneur find a specific field he can dominate then someone comes along and tells him to dilute his focus, broaden his appeal, and try to please everybody – which is exactly what you don’t want to do, and couldn’t do anyway.

            If it helps, I understood your proposition instantly and knew just what you were offering and liked it immediately.

    • “Book Cover Designs Lovingly Created to Increase Book Sales. 72 Hour Turnaround.”

      “Book Cover Designs Lovingly Created to Increase Sales of Self-Publishing Books. 72 Hour Turnaround.”

      ‘Dark and Gritty’: may turn away some as not everyone understands.
      ‘Self-Publishing Authors’: serves positioning or niche’ing, so debatable.
      ‘That Help’: gives the ‘may be’ feel.
      ‘Concepts Delivered’: unnecessary detail just yet (you need them to get interested at this stage).

      Hope it helps.

  5. Rocket Ranking Josh :

    Lovely concise guide to what a value proposition is.

    Ours would be “Generate More Online Sales and Increase Your Website’s Traffic For Only £59.99 Every 3 Months.”

    Think that summarizes what we do in one sentence, quite nicely, but I’m sure it could be optimised further. Would be great to have anyone elses thoughts on it.

    Thanks
    Josh

    • Josh, I like it. However, there is one thing that is definitely missing. You need to provide a “unique” value for the reader. You have to distinguish yourself from other people in the marketplace — that’s vital.

      • Rocket Ranking Josh :

        Yes good point, Neil. We’ll work that into the heading on our home page so the value we provide our customers is obvious from the second they land on our site.

        Thanks,
        Josh

  6. Randy Kauffman :

    Good post Neil. We write value propositions constantly. They have been a great way to boost conversions. I always incorporate the 3 questions into the main headline. The 3 questions the headline should answer are: 1. What is it? 2. What or who is it about? 3. What do I get? (the visitor). This really helps with the bounce rate also.

    Thanks for a great post.

    • Randy, awesome to see that you guys are doing it correctly. I really think conversions benefit most from good copy from VPs. Thanks for sharing!

  7. It’s the 1st time I heard about value proposition. Thanks.

  8. Saurabh Shukla :

    Nicely explained Neil! So useful and learnt some new things from here. You have mentioned elements of the value proposition, here I have a question about creating a visual element – how you create visuals like this beautiful design of infographic you posted here. 🙂

    • Saurabh, it’s all about finding the right designer. If you are doing it in-house make sure you replicate some models that you like on the web.

  9. Mary Collings :

    Hi Neil,

    This post is such great timing. I’m working on my website and it’s like you just pulled me out of the sinking sand.

    I have such an almighty checklist that I was getting bogged down and moving away from stating the obvious.

    Thanks for the reminder to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid!

    I think you know what that means Neil 🙂 it’s just for anyone who hasn’t heard it before.

    Thanks Neil

    • Mary, glad we could connect at the right time.

      I think simplicity is key. Looking forward to hearing much more from you!

  10. Johnson OKorie :

    Great work Neil, Look a look at mine below.

    “Koriefusion uses Digital Strategies to drive more profits into your business and growth your brand’s awareness”

  11. Dave Rosenthal :

    Wow, this is great and right to the point. I’ve struggled with my own VP in terms of videos, slides, massive text, endless creative writing, and client interviews for my travel services.

  12. Neil, this is really a fantastic Infographic and good Information…

    thanks for sharing..

  13. adolf witzeling :

    As always great advice from one of the best. Will put it to work for my small biz.

  14. Again, great post and infograph, Neil! I think this is an issue for so many businesses. I am a local marketer and I find so many marketers do not have a clear value prop/USP. I never had one for years.

    I work with real estate agents and this is so common in that industry as well. “Good service” is not a value prop.

    • Adam, glad you found it helpful. I think at the end of the day it’s important to really outline your points in a clear and precise manner. It’s vital that people work on the VP if they want sustained great business.

  15. I have been contemplating the development of some value propositions on a specific brand and this is what pulls up in my feed while I have some time to dive in. When this new product-market entry hits shelves I am going to owe you royalties Neil for the fantastic overview of this process.

  16. Great post, however the info graphic will not load on iPhone. Will have to wait it out. Looking forward to seeing it 🙂

  17. Thanks for another great post, Neil. I really like how you distinguished a value proposition from a positioning statement.

    This is an important part of brand messaging that many businesses miss out on.

    Thanks,
    Vi

  18. Hi Neil,

    Thanks again for this wonderful article. I just wonder how do you manage to create such compelling content every time? What’s your inspiration?

    • Amit, I just have a passion for writing and that is really reflected on this blog. You just have to start writing and the inspiration will follow.

  19. Rohan Bhardwaj :

    Hi Neil,

    I guess I need not worry as long as I am not selling anything.

    Once again a brilliant infographic.

    To summarize, a good value proposition explains the benefit to customer instead of specifications of product.

    Take care Neil.

  20. thanks for great infographics, what I get is understanding customer needs, knowing market demand and deal it with great offer, killer effective content, related images could drive the user and increase conversion.

    • Khurram, that pretty much sums it all up. Glad you found the article helpful. Please let me know if you need any other help.

  21. Hi Neil,
    I really struggle with this stuff, so your article is a great help.
    What I did not get from your article, is where to place this masterpiece vp, once it is created. For max impact, I’m guessing on the home page, so its going to have to be really short and snappy or its using valuable real estate above the fold. am I right?
    Thanks again Neil
    Mark

    • Mark, you are right on point. Alternatively, you can test out some landing page options to see which part of your site works best. There is no magic formula, you just need to test.

  22. Hi Neil. I’ve got issues with viewing the info graphic on my iPad.

  23. I find doing competitive research makes the biggest difference (personal experience).. Also for some reason the infographic just wont load 🙁

  24. It’s another learning method on How to Write a Great Value Proposition. This is very helpful and useful for bloggers. I learned and many great tips here. I like the presentation above. Thanks for sharing the article. Great post!

  25. Simple way of sealing the deal.

  26. nice post Neil. It reminds me of the common saying “people buy benefits not features”.

  27. Ashish Nagwanshi :

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for this informative blog post.

    For last couple of weeks, i am planning to add few landing pages on my blog. But, i was not clear how to go with that. Specially, what to offer and in what way.

    I think that creating a landing page is easy. But, getting result out of it is difficult if we are not able to figure out the right value proposition.

    This infographic is very much informative and easy to understand.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Ashish, glad I could help.

      Finding the right VP is always a tough process, because you want to get it just right.

      I think at the end of the day you just have to find something that resonates with your users.

  28. Bradley Nichol :

    Hi Neil,

    Thank you for this great post. I have just started my own website and you’ve made me re-evaluate my ‘first impression’ that potential customers see. I’ve realised I am not laser focusing what I actually offer.

    Thanks again

    Bradley Nichol

    • Bradley, glad I could help. I think at the end of the day people can always improve upon their messaging and VP. It’s just a matter of application.

  29. Hello, Neil

    This is really helpful for me, but there is question how did you design such awesome info-graphic, did you hire someone?

  30. Yes, I agree, a useful article, particularly for effective landing page the creation. Thanks!

  31. Great, blog post.

    Its all about presentation right way.

    Thanks @Neil

  32. Ranjita Mandaviya :

    Yeah, It’s very important point for every business. Thanks for explaining Value proposition as whole.

    It’s a new term for many readers like me.

  33. Thanks for the post – I’m struggling to see how they communicate why to buy from them over a competitor on the examples you’ve listed. Is it with the expectation the customer has an understanding of the market and what’s on offer?

  34. Completely agree with the importance of value propositions. It’s such low-hanging fruit that it’s a mystery that many companies struggle with creating them. Here are some thoughts on a good approach: http://www.markevans.ca/2014/12/12/value-propositions-2/

  35. Extremely Like your Post, Actually Mainly I am happy for your Helpful Article. I hope i will get More and More helpful Article from you. Thanks & Regards.

  36. The Infographic look Amazingly Superb 🙂

    pretty same as the Information is, Great Work, Neil !

  37. Satish Ithamsetty :

    Dear Patel,

    Infographic is awesome. The concept is very clear with this infographic.

    Thanks for sharing

  38. Wow do you always get so many responses to your posts? Wow I’m converted…..Such a great post. I am starting a new side to our business and have followed your rules but am really struggling with the VP. I want to say we provide global business connections to enable you to increase profitability. we do this thru established successful business connections… but honestly if someone said that to me i would be like you do what???? I have an amazing international network but struggle with the VP

  39. Thank you for this great post. I have just started my own website and you’ve made me re-evaluate my ‘first impression’ that potential customers see. I’ve realised I am not laser focusing what I actually offer.

    • It’s great for you to have realization Charmin! Now that you’re aware, start thinking of who your audience is exactly and what problems you can help them solve.

  40. Wow, this is great and right to the point. I’ve struggled with my own VP in terms of videos, slides, massive text, endless creative writing, and client interviews for my travel services.

  41. Nicely explained Neil! So useful and learnt some new things from here. You have mentioned elements of the value proposition, here I have a question about creating a visual element – how you create visuals like this beautiful design of infographic you posted here. 🙂

  42. Hey Neil the Infograph is Pretty awesome and informative, but i just need to ask is do Proposition matter on SEO?

    • Yes, it’s important as it’s part of the user’s experience on your site. It’s one thing to get them there, then another to keep them and convert them.

  43. Finally found what I want. Thanxx for sharing

  44. Very well explained. Thank You.

  45. hey hi ! nice share sir.
    here some great happy birthday memes Happy Birthday Meme

    thanks

  46. Hey Mate!Thanks for posting such great information and you are doing great work and from now i will come daily on your blog .
    Thanks check my blog :
    new year message

  47. Hope it is not too late to post here 🙂
    What a great infographic, thank you Neil this helped me big time. We are few months in our startup and have a working BETA with several users. I wanted to ask your opinion on this VP with sub-headline.

    Purchasing Software That Makes Management Easy
    Find best wholesale deals, receive and have correct inventory, manage your vendors, issue returns and track your money.

    Thank you for any help,

    • Keep asking yourself ‘so what’ and ‘why’ as that digs in more. A really good thing is to be specific 😉

      • Should I ask that in terms of the VP?

        We identified that our buyer persona would most likely need one of the benefits and would base decision on that. If I understand correctly your suggestion would be VP should be focused on describing one main value not going into specific benefits.

        Thank you for your help,

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