That’s how long you have to hold your prospect’s attention in today’s crowded online marketplace.
Thanks to mobile phones and connected smart devices, we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
And because the majority of business today comes from online sources, capturing that attention has never been more important.
But how do you capture that attention?
By having a powerful value proposition.
You probably already know that having a compelling positioning statement is the most important element on your landing or services page.
54% of companies do nothing to optimize their value proposition. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)
Which group do you fall into?
Is your value proposition capturing and converting your visitors? Or are you losing prospective customers because you’re not conveying who you are and what differentiates you from your competition?
If it’s that latter, don’t worry:
I’ve got you covered.
In this article, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about creating a compelling value proposition, including:
- What a value proposition is (and why your landing page MUST have one)
- What a high-converting landing page looks like (hint: there’s more to images than meets the eye)
- How to write a compelling value proposition for your landing page that converts traffic into high-quality inquiries for your business
Let’s get started.
What is a Value Proposition (VP)?
Imagine you’re interested in applying for health insurance.
You go online for a quote and stumble upon the following two websites:
Based on your first impression, which do you feel more inclined to get a quote from?
If you’re like most people, you’ll answer Company #1.
Because it has a powerful value proposition (“Pay Less for Better Health Care”).
A value proposition (otherwise known as a unique selling proposition or positioning statement) is a clear statement that summarizes why your prospect should buy from you and not a competitor.
This is the first thing visitors will see and read when they arrive at your landing page.
Contrary to popular belief, a value proposition is NOT a mission statement or a company slogan. Unlike its company-centric counterparts, a value proposition is user-centric.
In other words, a value proposition speaks to your prospect’s needs.
A company that does this really well is Fluid Plumbing Services:
Fluid cleverly address a common customer concern in their value proposition: getting overcharged (or as we Aussies like to say, “getting ripped off.”)
By assuring their integrity, they put their prospect’s mind at ease, making them more likely to make an inquiry.
Many business owners neglect their value proposition out of a mistaken belief that other elements of their landing page (copy, call-to-action color, image, site design etc.) are more important.
While the above do play an important role in helping turn inquiries into qualified leads, your value proposition is what holds everything together.
Testing and improving your unique value proposition is one of the best ways of increasing your conversion rates. It’s just as important as testing your call-to-action buttons—and often even more important.
What Goes Into a Good Value Proposition?
According to Neil Patel, a high-converting value proposition consists of four key elements:
Let’s look at each in detail.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your landing page.
That means if you’re not giving your visitor a powerful enough reason to stay on your page, you’re likely to lose them forever.
The purpose of the headline is to convey the benefit of your service with as much brevity as possible.
Lyft conveys their value proposition in three words:
A magnetic headline needs to be clear, written in easy-to-understand language and must assure the visitor that what you’re offering is for them and that they’re in the right place.
While you don’t always need to convey your value proposition in your headline, you do need to hook the reader well enough so that they continue to read the rest of your copy.
2. A sub-headline or paragraph
If the most important element of your landing page is your headline, then the second most important element is…
You guessed it:
The purpose of your sub-headline is to expand on the benefit you hinted at in the headline and convey what you do as a company.
Deloe Chiropractic Center, for example, promises to “bring health back to your family” in their sub-headline:
“What’s the benefit the visitor will gain from taking the desired action?”
The clearer this in, the more click-throughs you’ll receive.
3. A list of key benefits
While an engaging headline and sub-headline will often be enough to get a visitor to take the desired action on your landing page (e.g. make an inquiry), some people will need further persuading.
Maybe they need more trust.
Maybe they need to know more about what you’re offering.
Or maybe they’re satisfied with the above, but need to know what makes you different.
That’s where your list of key benefits comes in.
Shopify bullets the benefits of their service below the fold on their landing page:
Listing your benefits is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition, too. For example, if you know pricing is a common objection for your market, you can include that in your list of benefits (similar to what Shopify have done).
Other benefits include social proof (media outlets you’ve been featured in), testimonials (what other influencers say about you and your business), reviews (what customers think about your product/service), and more.
The more value you demonstrate in your copy, the higher your conversions will be.
Companies that use long-form landing pages, for instance, can generate up to 220% more leads than above the fold call-to-action.
Because there’s more opportunity to demonstrate value.
This doesn’t mean you always need a long-form landing page; it just means you need to experiment with what works best for your customers and market.
4. A visual element
It’s no secret that marketing with video has become increasingly effective in recent years.
But how effective is it when combined with a powerful value proposition?
Video isn’t the only visual element that’s effective, though.
Having an image that’s congruent with your offer can be just as powerful.
Often referred to as “the hero shot”, your landing or services page image can demonstrate your product/service or reinforce your company message.
One of my favorite examples of a business that does this is Plumber in Montreal:
It’s relevant, it doesn’t distract the visitor from what to do (make a call) and most important, it’s congruent with the plumber’s message (even his call-to-action button color is consistent with the background).
If you’re running a service-based business, you might experiment with line of sight:
Now that we’ve covered the four key elements of a powerful value proposition, let’s take a look at how you can create and split test your own.
How to Create a Value Proposition
Creating a value proposition that encapsulates who you are and differentiates you from your competition isn’t always easy or quick, but it is possible when you follow a few key steps:
- Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
- Write your value proposition
- A/B test your value proposition
1. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
One way to learn what your customers want is to survey your existing prospects and customers.
You might have received an email from a business owner, yourself, asking you to tell them a little about yourself.
Here’s a recent email I received from Ray Edwards:
When you survey your audience, you gain insights into what they want, how they feel about their pain points and the language they use to describe them (which can later be used in your copy if you wish).
Once you have a better understanding of your audience, you can create a customer avatar (also known as a customer persona). This will help you stay track on who you’re marketing to.
(N.B. To learn more about creating custom avatars, check out Digital Marketer’s free worksheet.)
Surveying your audience will also give you insights into what they do NOT want.
For example, if you ask your customers, “Why did you choose our service over another company?” they might reveal they didn’t want to pay over a certain amount.
If you offer competitive prices, you can demonstrate that in your list of key benefits.
2. Write your value proposition
While there’s no set format for writing a value proposition, there are several frameworks to simplify the process.
One of the most popular frameworks is Geoff Moore’s Value Positioning Statement because it helps you clarify four important areas:
- What you’re selling
- The benefit of what you’re selling
- Who your target customer is
- What makes your offer different from competitors
So, you might complete the following template:
For ___ (target customer) who ___ (statement of the need or opportunity) our (product/service) is ___ (product category) that (statement of benefit) ___.
For example, if you run a business that teaches realtors how to generate more revenue through online marketing, you might write:
For realtors who have difficulty closing their prospects our product is an in-person training that helps realtors generate more leads and win more deals.
If you wanted to shorten your value proposition, you might use Steve Blank’s XYZ framework:
We help X do Y doing Z.
The more succinct you can be, the better.
Infusionsoft does this in five words:
For more useful value proposition frameworks, read Tor Grønsund’s 7 Proven Templates for Writing Value Propositions That Work.
3. A/B test your value proposition
While your prospects and customer mean well, they might not truly know what they want.
Few of us, after all, can differentiate between what we want and what we think we want.
This is why it’s important to A/B test your value proposition.
As always, write a hypothesis and create a variation to ascertain which is more effective.
eMove, an Australian moving company, noticed their visitors won’t responding to their headline very well.
So they decided to test it.
Here’s the original:
Webprofits, their digital agency, rewrote their headline and sub-headline, moving away from a company-centric value proposition and toward a reader-centric one, instead.
Here’s the variation:
The results were remarkable:
With a minor tweak to their copy, eMove were able to increase conversions by 67.8%.
It’s important to mention that your value proposition continues beyond your landing page.
From making an inquiry to receiving confirmation of payment, it’s essential you convey what makes you different throughout your customer onboarding process.
When you gently remind your customers throughout your marketing that going with you was the right decision, your churn rate will plummet and customer satisfaction will increase.
Having a compelling value proposition on your landing page radically increases the number of on-site inquiries you receive (and the amount of revenue your business generates).
But getting a landing and services page built and tested is one of the top five challenges faced by B2B marketers.
(And if it’s challenge for you, too, we would love to hear from you and can certainly help you out in that department.)
The reason is many business owners don’t know what they’re testing.
While other on-page elements (e.g. call-to-action button color) are important, having a short, simple and easy-to-understand value proposition and testing it, is what truly distinguishes you from your competitors…
…and helps you attract the right type of customers to your business.
What’s your business’ value proposition? Leave a comment below.