Consumers are bombarded by messages from companies in numerous channels all throughout the day. From television to radio to the Internet and now their cell phones and other mobile devices, people see all kinds of marketing and sales-related messaging coming at them. Many of these messages are value propositions or messages that promise some sort of result from a company and a promise that we can experience some kind of benefit. We have a template for writing a value proposition, but before we look at that, let's explore some of the other elements you will need in order to write an effective proposition.
Develop Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents a member of your target market and that has real character attributes associated with them. Buyer personas are a great way to divide your market up into groups that are easier to understand and design messaging for. Data for how to assign character attributes to a fictional buyer persona could come from anywhere. You could look for information about your target customer in the following areas:
- Databases that you or your company maintain about transactions (CRMs)
- Market research data you have conducted
- Metrics from social media accounts (Facebook insights)
- Surveys of your current customers or lists you have purchased or built
Always keep your buyer personas handy because these are the people you will be writing your value proposition for. Think of the following elements when constructing your personas:
- Who are your buyers?
- What problem or pain do they have that your product/service will help solve?
- What results are they looking for?
- Why would they choose you to help them solve their problem?
Writing Your Value Propositions
Earlier, we mentioned that a value proposition should convey how a product or service can deliver results to a consumer. First, let's take a look at what a value proposition is not:
A value proposition is not:
- General information about a company's products and services
- Phrases or terms highlighting how great a company is in terms of technological advancements, innovative products, great customer service or similar attributes
- Marketing language that is catchy or clever but that is not helpful or descriptive
- Me-oriented or, in other words, language that only talks about the company, the company's products or services or any other information related to the company
What is a value proposition, then?
- A value proposition is a clear statement about the RESULTS a company, organization or individual can realize as an effect of using a product or service. That's it.
The Value Proposition Template
If you've done any searching on this, you have found that there is tons of advice out there on how to write an effective value proposition. There isn't really one good way to do this, and the way you pitch what you're selling must necessarily depend on what it is that you have to offer. Below is a basic template that is very popular among the entrepreneur community. It provides a very good framework for building out your value proposition.
For ____________ (Your target market or customer)
who ____________ (statement of the need or opportunity)
our (product/service name) is ____________ (product category)
that (statement of result) ____________ .
To illustrate, let's say you are selling book manufacturing services. Currently in this industry, publishers are feeling pain from electronic reading devices and (as a result) are printing more orders, but of small quantities of books. As a manufacturer of those books for publishers, you might fill in the template like this:
For [small to mid-size publishers in the adult trade market] (Your target market or customer)
Who [want to print small quantities of many different titles quickly to reduce inventory costs] (statement of the need or opportunity)
Our (product/service name) is [short-run, high quality digital printing] (product category)
That (statement of result) [eliminates obsolete inventory problems and increases speed to market].
You can have the best designs, the most well laid-out campaigns and even a really great product/service, but if your value proposition isn't clear, people may not see the value in what you have to offer.
How do you write a value proposition? Do you know of any other good templates on the web for writing a value proposition? Join in the conversation by commenting below.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.