Business | Digital Marketing
In the age of the internet, your customers have more options than ever before. Long gone are the days when people visited the hardware store, grocery store, or insurance agent in town to buy what they need. Google now puts dozens of your competitors in the palm of your customer’s hand.
If you don’t make it clear why customers should choose you over those competitors, they’ll either buy from the competitor who best communicates their value or make a choice based on price alone. So how do you stand out from the competition, capture customers’ attention, and drive sales based on your value rather than your pricing? You define and communicate your unique value proposition.
A value proposition is a short, memorable statement which quickly communicates why customers should buy from you instead of your competitor. An effective value proposition will highlight the benefit that most resonates with your customer. Ideally, this will also be a benefit your competitors aren’t advertising—which is what makes it a unique value proposition.
Communicating the right value proposition is critical if you want to advertise effectively, attract customers, and drive sales. Read on to learn how to define and communicate your value proposition in five steps.
Step 1: Know your buyer personas.
Your most effective value proposition will speak directly to what your customer cares most about. Before you can develop a unique value proposition, you have to really understand what matters to your ideal audience. What are their goals? Their challenges? Their fears? What problems do you help them solve?
Instead of assuming you know what customers want, it’s always a good idea to ask them. That’s why surveying your customers is a critical step to developing buyer personas.
(Click here for our simple, step-by-step guide to surveying customers and developing buyer personas.)
Buyer personas empower you to understand what your customers care about, so you can speak to their goals in your unique value proposition.
When you take time to know your buyer personas, you may be surprised to find that what your customers value most is something you’ve overlooked in your advertising—and it may be something none of your competitors is explicitly offering either! Insights like these are extremely valuable as you develop a unique value proposition to communicate your value to customers.
Step 2: Speak to the needs of your target audience.
Once you’ve surveyed your customers and developed buyer personas, look at where your customers’ needs and your product or service intersect. How do you deliver what your target audience wants or needs? And how do you do this differently than your competitors?
As you move forward in defining your unique value proposition, try completing the following sentences from your customer’s perspective (remember to refer back to those buyer personas!):
- I want to buy this product or service because it will help me _______.
- The best part of this offer is _______.
- I want to buy from this brand instead of another brand because ______.
Not only should your unique value proposition speak to the problem you solve, it should also communicate the exact results your customers will enjoy. Get specific about the benefit of choosing you; numbers and percentages can make your unique value proposition even more powerful.
Geico uses numbers to communicate a unique value proposition in their advertising.
Step 3: Create memorable offers.
Now it’s time to write your unique value proposition. An effective value proposition is short and memorable. This isn’t the same as an elevator pitch, which communicates everything your company does in a sentence or two. Instead, your value proposition is just a few words that communicate a particular benefit your customers will enjoy when they buy from you.
The goal here isn’t to craft something cute or clever. A vague catchphrase will only confuse your customers—and confused customers don’t buy. The most powerful value proposition statements are extremely direct and clear.
Saddleback Leather Co.’s value proposition (“They’ll Fight Over It When You’re Dead”) is clever, but more importantly, it’s extremely clear and memorable. It communicates the quality and longevity of the product and speaks to the target audience’s desire to leave a legacy.
Step 4: Get your team to communicate your value proposition.
You can write the most memorable value proposition in the world, but if it never leaves your Word document, it’s not going to do you any good. Now it’s time to make your entire team aware of your business’s unique value proposition—and not just the members of your sales and customer service team!
When you teach your team members to communicate your value proposition, there will be consistency in the word-of-mouth promotion of your brand. Team members should be able to communicate your value proposition when…
- Answering questions about what they do or where they work
- Speaking with a prospect or customer
- Connecting with suppliers
- Or any other time they talk about your company to others!
When your entire team gets on board with communicating your value proposition, they’ll have a clear understanding of how their work serves customers and can become powerful ambassadors for your brand everywhere they go.
Step 5: Use your value proposition everywhere!
While any member of your team can use your unique value proposition in conversations, your marketing team should be communicating your value proposition across all your communications platforms. Put it in the banner at the top of your website, below your logo in direct mail campaigns, in the bios for your social media profiles, and anywhere else you can reasonably put the phrase.
When you’re compiling case studies or choosing testimonials to feature, look for ones that highlight the specific type of success you’re advertising in your unique value proposition. Don’t worry about repeating your unique value proposition too much in your marketing conversations. Repetition is key to getting your value to stick in prospects’ and customers’ minds.
If you want your business to grow, your customers and potential customers have to be able to quickly discern what sets you apart from competitors. Even if you and your competitors offer very similar products or services, you can always find and communicate at least one characteristic that makes you different. Your unique value proposition may highlight your ironclad guarantee, your wide selection, your free returns, or any other unique benefit that resonates with your customers.
Remember: Your value proposition has to actually speak to your customers’ goals or problems. This is critical, so don’t just guess at what your target audience wants to hear—ask them! We’ll even provide a free resource to help you get started.
Use this customer survey template to survey your customers via email, a website form, or phone calls. The questions will ensure you learn everything you need to know about your customers’ goals, motivations, and pain points to define and communicate a unique value proposition that resonates and drives sales. Click below to access your free customer survey template now!