Imagine a crowd of your ideal customers coming to you from everywhere: walking in from the street, visiting your website, emailing you, reaching out to you on social media…
Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?
But here’s the catch: if those ideal customers come in contact with your brand, and they don’t find a message that appeals to them specifically, it’s over. Most of them are going to leave and never come back.
If that scenario sounds harsh, that’s because it’s real. It’s already happening to your brand. Those customers come in, fail to see what they were hoping for, and off they go.
And the only way to make them stick around is through communicating your unique value proposition. In other words, you need to answer a vital question…
“What is it that only you have… and your ideal customers want?”
It’s one of those simple questions that can take a lifetime to answer definitively. But since we don’t have that long, we’ll have to do it in this blog post – no pressure!
Today, we’ll guide you through a quick process of identifying your unique value proposition, and then show you two ways to apply what you come up with in your marketing.
Let’s dive in!
Part 1. Finding your unique value proposition
To take advantage of a fantastic value proposition, you need to have one first. Shocking, right? So let’s examine what a great value proposition looks like, and get some examples to illustrate what we’re talking about.
Properly done, a unique value proposition is:
- Unique – something only your brand has
- Desirable – something your ideal customers want
- Specific – it explains what you do in a simple, straightforward way
- Memorable – it stick with your ideal prospect
Here are some examples of unique value propositions that hit those points well:
“The only combat organization where you can see the world’s most elite combat athletes knock each other out in spectacular fashion.” (Ultimate Fighting Championship)
“The world’s most comfortable underwear.” (MeUndies)
“Create a beautiful website for you & your business, in minutes. Zero code or design skills required.” (Strikingly)
“Sales and marketing automation software built exclusively for small business success.” (Infusionsoft)
Each of these value propositions is memorable, specific, and highly appealing to the brand’s target market. Now let’s look at the process for arriving at a unique value proposition that truly resonates…
Step 1. Identify your key differentiators
These are the things that only you have – or that you do 1,000 times better than your competitors. This is what the late great ad man Rosser Reeves called your “Reason Why Marketing”.
Which aspect of your brand is so important to you that your entire business strategy and marketing are built around it? For instance…
For Apple, it’s design. For Amazon, it’s the service and fulfillment experience. For Southwest Airlines, it’s being the low-fare airline. You get the idea.
So what is your most important thing that separates you from all the competitors? Find it, and you’re well on the way to a fantastic value proposition.
Step 2. Identify your ideal customer
Ask yourself: out of all the people who could possibly be your customers… which one would you want most?
And if people like them were your only customers, forever, would you be satisfied with that?
Even though this isn’t an easy question to answer, it’s really important. Understandably, your first instinct might be to say, “I don’t want to limit my options! All sort of customers can benefit from my products and services.”
Here’s the thing: it’s not about limiting your options. It’s about consciously attracting the best type of customer for your brand. By definition, your ideal customers will be in the minority – and if your value proposition isn’t tailored to them, you will have a hard time attracting them.
Your “non-ideal” customers aren’t going anywhere regardless – so let’s not worry about them!
Step 3. Compare the two
Now that you’ve arrived at your key differentiator and your ideal customer, compare them and answer this question…
Do they (your ideal customers) care about what you do best (your key differentiator)? Is it desirable to them?
If the answer is yes, and everything checks out, you’re good to proceed and write your unique value proposition. If the answer is no, your assessment of either your key differentiator, or of your ideal customer, might be off. In that case, repeat Steps 1 and 2 to find out what you’ve missed.
Step 4. Formulate your unique value proposition
Congratulations – we’re officially at the easy part!
To write your unique value proposition, simply try and express your key differentiator… as if you’re talking to your ideal customer.
The easiest way to do that is to start your unique value proposition with “The only…” – and fill in the rest. For example:
“The only data intelligence solution built from the ground up for education.”
“The only service that lets you send same-day payments to contractors anywhere in the world”
“The only monthly wine subscription service, curated for adventurous souls”
“The only intelligently designed clothing line made specifically for travelers”
Note: Starting with “The only…” when writing your unique value proposition is just a way to get the ball rolling. You don’t have to stick to this structure – go with what works for you.
Also, you can edit, shorten, lengthen, or adapt your value proposition for different formats (more on that later). Here are some additional pointers that would help you formulate a great message to your ideal customers:
- Don’t try to write a statement that encompasses everything you do. Focus on the key differentiator.
- Don’t try to write a tagline or a slogan. Your value proposition needs to be specific and straightforward. So when choosing between being brief and being clear, stick with clarity.
- Be unapologetic about the ideal customer you’re trying to attract. Call them out directly in the value proposition. It will pay off, we promise!
- Avoid using cutesy, clever, or metaphorical language – unless that’s what your target market would say about your business.
- Whenever you can, go straight for the pain or the problem your ideal customers are experiencing. Let them know what you will solve for them.
There you have it! Now that your unique value proposition is all written out, let’s move on to the exciting part – finding ways to use it in your marketing.
Part 2. Two ways to use your unique value proposition for marketing
So… what on earth are you supposed to do with your freshly minted unique value proposition?
For starters, you can put it on your website to get a measurable boost in conversions (as described in this post)! Here are four specific things you can do to make sure that your value propositions doesn’t just gather dust in your marketing documents, but actively works to sell for your business.
1. Turn it into headlines and sub-headlines
Your most important webpages, presentations, and marketing materials have one job, and that’s landing you as many qualified prospects as possible. But not just any prospects – your ideal customers.
Using your unique value propositions to create headlines and sub-headlines for your marketing messages is the equivalent of displaying a big neon sign that says, “Hey, I have exactly what you want! Come on down!” to your ideal customers.
If you only have the time to apply one strategy out of the two we’re sharing with you here today, make it this one. Headlines and sub-headlines that communicate your unique value proposition are proven to increase conversions – you don’t want to neglect them!
2. Use it to vet customer testimonials and case studies
Testimonials and case studies are another powerful attractor for your ideal customers. When they see different people and brands recommend your business, they are deciding, often subconsciously, if that person / company is like them.
If the answer is yes, they become more inclined to think that your offer is going to be the right fit for them, too. But if the answer is no, those testimonials and case studies will only invite further doubt and excuses – “It worked for that person, but they’re not like me!”
So when you have a customer testimonial or a case study in front of you, and you’re thinking of where to use it, ask yourself two questions:
- Is this a testimonial / case study from your ideal customer?
- Does it highlight your key differentiator?
If you can answer yes to both questions, you can go ahead and use that testimonial or case study in your most critical sales copy, and otherwise display it prominently on your website.
If you answered no to one or more of those questions, keep it for later – say, when you need a lot of social proof, or you want to put together a page just for testimonials.
Of course, using your unique value proposition for marketing goes way beyond what we’ve shared with you. A true value proposition should be at the core of your marketing – informing every message you put out there, always sending signals to your ideal customers, ideal employees, ideal business partners, you name it.
But very often brands are overwhelmed with the well-intentioned (but ultimately not that useful) to communicate everything they do, to every potential customer, all the time. And when they do that, their value proposition gets lost, and needs to be re-captured for their ideal target market.
That’s why we wanted to give you a couple of quick tactics you could use immediately to incorporate your value proposition in your marketing. To make it obvious. To make it prominent. To get it in front of your ideal prospects in the most impossible-to-miss way you can!
We hope you put them to good use. Enjoy!