How to Write a Persuasive Value Proposition

Contributed content / By Zach Watson / 20 February 2019

A persuasive value proposition helps companies communicate the benefits people will experience from the product/service, how those benefits are relevant, and why people should choose the company’s offer over the competition.

There’s one fundamental question all marketing must answer for an audience: “Why should I make this choice instead of doing something else?”

If you want to successfully convert customers and grow your business, you need a value proposition that answers that question.

Let’s apply the question to a couple of common scenarios:

  • “Why should I use your marketing automation software instead of your competitor’s?”
  • “Why should I download this guide instead of just continuing with my life?”

In every scenario where marketers make an offer, people will ask “Why should I?” A persuasive value proposition will provide the answer.

A value proposition is a piece of copy that conveys why someone should choose your offer. Here’s an example from Hotjar:

Hotjar value proposition

A good value prop communicates three things:

  1. The benefits people will experience from your offer
  2. How those benefits are relevant to your audience
  3. Why someone should choose your offer over the competition

Hotjar’s value proposition articulates how people will benefit (understanding their users), why those benefits are relevant (so you can make the right changes), and why they’re unique (fast and visual).

I know that sounds like a lot to communicate in just a few words. The truth is, it does take a fair amount of research and testing to get it right.

But defining and optimizing your value proposition is one of the most powerful moves you can make to improve your customer acquisition.

How to Write a Value Proposition

Writing a successful value proposition takes time but is easier if you know how to do the research and formulate the message you’re trying to send.

Do the Research

A value proposition is the product of careful audience research. You’re not writing a tagline that needs to appease your client or the C-Suite at your company.

Instead, you’re gathering voice of customer (VoC) data to uncover how your audience thinks about your product or service and using that information to craft your offer.

VoC data is qualitative in nature, and you can gather it in several ways:

  • Email surveys
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Website popups
  • Competitor testimonials
  • Live chat

Your ultimate goal with this research is to identify the underlying pain your audience is dealing with and the optimal outcome or state of being they’d like to achieve. By uncovering those two things, you’ll discover the exact words your customers are using to talk about their problems.

I know some of you are thinking, “But I don’t have any customers.”

Don’t lose hope just yet because there is a technique to gather VoC data without an existing customer base. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Find places where your target market is talking about your industry (it doesn’t even have to be about your product or service).

Step 2: Listen to what they’re saying, and look for recurring messages.

Now, there’s a couple of main places to do something like this: social media networks and Amazon.

If you’re taking the social route, I recommend joining groups your target market is likely to also join. For example, if you’re working on an e-commerce application, you’d probably want to join a Facebook group about e-commerce. And there are a lot of them:

Facebook e-commerce groups

Joining Facebook groups in your industry will help you learn what potential customers are discussing.

If you’re taking the Amazon route, look for books or products on topics that relate to your offer. So, if you’re building a fintech app for young people, you might find some good information in the reviews of books for that same audience.

Case in point:

Amazon book review

This reviewer not only articulates the pain her or she was going through but also touches on the outcome he or she achieved.

Mining these conversations isn’t as straightforward as talking directly to customers, but if you don’t have customers, this is the next best thing.

Now you can use that knowledge to inform your value proposition — sometimes even putting your customers’ words directly into your message.

This is how you take an evidence-based approach to copywriting and conversion optimization.

Rather than guessing, you’re sourcing inspiration from your audience and reflecting their emotions back to them on the page.

Formulate Your Message

The power of the value proposition comes from the promise it makes to alleviate someone’s pain. So, the way you write your message is important.

To communicate that effectively, you have to show your audience how your offer can address the pain they’re facing and help them achieve their optimal outcome.

There is a myriad of ways to structure your value prop, which makes it easy to get stuck at the starting line. Let’s look at some examples to make this process easier, starting with Unbounce.

Unbounce value proposition

Why this works: Unbounce takes a pretty straightforward approach to its value prop. It’s obvious the company knows its audience wants more leads and sales from its advertising, so it states loud and clear what you’ll get when you use its platform.

Another example is Grammarly.

Grammarly value proposition

Why this works: Grammarly distills its offer to its bare bones. The headline doesn’t even use a verb. The idea of “Your writing, at its best” is compelling enough.

But to be sure, the marketers have included a subhead that fills in any blanks the reader might have. Your writing will be “clear, effective, and mistake-free.”

This value prop is masterful because it speaks directly to a pain point many people experience: the fear of making silly grammar mistakes. The promise of not having to worry about making those mistakes is quite powerful.

Impero also has a successful value prop.

Impero value proposition

Why this works: Calling this a value prop might be controversial in some circles because it could be viewed as a positioning statement, i.e., copy that describes what the company does.

For me, this headline makes a clear promise to a very specific audience. Impero is a digital agency, but it isn’t trying to be everything to everyone. Aging brands that need to reinvent themselves for the digital era will find this value prop very compelling.

The final example is Leadpages.

Leadpages value proposition

Why this works: Value props aren’t only for the homepage. Each of your landing pages needs one, too. Otherwise, how will people be convinced to convert?

This example is from Leadpages’ pricing page. The offer is simple: Try this out and build something before you make any commitments. Providing this type of safety net removes a ton of friction when people are looking at prices.

Now, this type of value prop doesn’t require the same type of nuance that one would on your homepage, but it still plays the central role in driving people to convert.

Create a Persuasive Value Proposition

Every time marketers drive people to take action, it’s because the messaging has successfully communicated why they should do so.

Whether you go at this alone or work with a UX design firm, you need a persuasive value prop.

Without a persuasive value prop, you’re staying at a steep uphill climb to not only get your audience’s attention but convince them to become a customer.

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