If your business has NO competition, then please stop reading and disregard this post. This isn’t for you.
I was surprised when I learned one day how many realtors there are here in the Bitterroot Valley. If I remember right, there’s something like 80 realtors from Sula to Missoula. WOW! They all pretty much do the same thing – they help you buy or sell a house. So when you consider one realtor over another, what makes you choose THAT one? Same with grocery shopping – think about why you choose to go to Albertsons over Safeway, Super 1 or Hamilton Marketplace.
As small business owners, most of us have competition. It may be here in the Bitterroot Valley. It may be across the globe. As customers & clients are in the consideration phase of the customer journey, they’re comparing you to the competition. They’re looking to see what makes you different, what makes you unique … and if you’re a good fit for them.
That unique identifier is the value proposition. Each business has one. You just have to discover it.
Having a clear and concise value proposition statement is THE way to separate yourself from your competition. It’s how customers will know that you offer the best solution for their pain points or problems.
I love this definition from Michael Skok:
“In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the pain point you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.” Basically, you’re telling your ideal customer what makes your business unique. In its simplest terms, your value proposition tells your potential customers, “Cool! This is for me and it’s exactly what I need.”
When written properly, the value proposition answers the questions:
- What is it?
- For whom?
- How is it useful?
If those questions are answered, you’re on the right path. Always strive for clarity first.
Where do you use your value proposition statement? On your website! Front and center. It should take no more than 5 seconds to read. If the visitor connects with it, they’ll keep reading. If not, it’s on to the competition.
It also helps to understand what a value proposition is not. A value proposition is NOT a catch phrase. It’s not a slogan. Nike’s slogan is “Do It.” It’s part of their brand. But it isn’t their value proposition.
Remember, you don’t need to figure out what makes you something that’s never existed before in all of history … You just have to be different in the mind of the customer, and they’re not comparing you to every other option in the world — more likely, just 3 or 4. (Source)
How do you write your value proposition statement?
Start with these 5 points:
- Identify all the benefits your product offers.
- Describe what makes these benefits valuable.
- Identify your customer’s main problem.
- Connect this value to your buyer’s problem.
- Differentiate yourself as the preferred provider of this value.
Ask yourself: Would I hire myself?” Why? Why would you hire yourself instead of your main competitor? What do you bring to the table that makes it better or different? Why would you trust yourself with your own business?
Remember, a value proposition isn’t just the product or service you agree to deliver to the customer — it’s the ingredient of your business that solves a problem competitors can’t. Your value proposition is your unique identifier. Without it, people don’t have a reason to work with you over somebody else. (Source)
Here are the elements of the value proposition:
- Headline: Describes the end benefit you’re offering to the customer. (The [adjective] way to [do something] for [benefit/outcome] or We help X do Y by Z.)
- Sub-headline or paragraph: Detailed explanation of what you offer, to whom and why
- Bullet points (optional): List all benefits and/or features
- A visual element: show a video or image to enhance your message
How do you put it together?
- Identify customer benefits: Make a list of all the benefits your product offers to customers
- Link benefits to value offering: Identify what value your products bring to the customer
- Differentiate and position yourself: Make it clear who your target customer is, what you offer to them and how you are different
- Very clear what it does;
- Specific lead paragraph;
- Relevant images that support text-based claims
… and here’s mine:
You Run Your Business.
I’ll Design Your Website.
Small business owners & entrepreneurs need a professional website to showcase their business 24/7. While you’re busy running your Bitterroot business, I’ll design your website with a proven marketing strategy together with a great customer experience.
If it all feels overwhelming, just think of it this way: How would you fill in the blank in this statement: “I’m the one that______.” That’s your value proposition statement.