Not to sound dramatic or anything, but when it comes to your business achieving the growth you desire, a Value Proposition is pretty much life or death.
Although… I’m in no mood to be labelled as a “sensationalist pig” (again), so I’ll retract that statement. But the sentiment stands. Value Propositions are really darn important.
Get it right, and you’ll start finding it a lot easier to make a sale. Get it wrong, and before you know it you’re staring down the barrel of a revolver in Vietnam playing Russian Roulette in the back room of a bar which is an infamous drinking hole for business owners who lost their business because they didn’t do a Value Proposition.
Still here? Great. Here’s how to create a Value Proposition (with examples!), and subsequently stay ali-… sorry, subsequently grow your business.
What is a Value Proposition?
A quick Google of a Value Proposition may leave you feeling a little confused. On the one hand, it can just be a single statement that quickly communicates the value you have to offer. But on the other, it can be a full-blown Value Proposition bonanza that breaks down what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, and why what you’re selling is the bees-knees.
Today, we’re going to learn how to do the latter. Because that’s a real Value Proposition, one which will lay the foundations for your marketing to kick some real ass.
How to create a Value Proposition (in 5 steps)
So here’s a step by step guide of how to create a fully-loaded Value Proposition. There will be examples throughout, and to do that, I’m going to invent an imaginary bed company. Why beds? Because I really wish I was in bed right now. But noo, here I am, writing another bloody blog.
But I digress. I’d recommend having a pen and paper ready, or an electronic equivalent, because it’s time to write your Value Proposition.
By the way, the bed company is called McDreams.
Step One: Break down your offering
We start with a simple breakdown of what it is you’re actually selling. Nice and easy, literally just list what your products and/or services are. So let’s ask our pals over at McDreams what they do:
What are your main products/services?
This might seem unnecessary, because obviously you know what you’re selling. But it is important, because next up you’re going to answer the following questions:
Which is the most popular?
Which is the most profitable?
Which is the most enjoyable to provide?
Answering these questions will help you to clarify your priorities, which in turn will dictate how you approach your marketing strategy. In McDream’s case, their most profitable products are the beds and mattresses, so they will be the main focus of their marketing moving forwards.
Step two: Create a customer avatar
If you’re anything like me, you might be imagining weird blue alien dudes running through a forest with bows and arrows at the mention of the word ‘Avatar’. But luckily for you, you’re probably nothing like me, so let’s cut the crap and create an actual customer avatar.
A customer avatar is basically a representation of your ideal customer. By creating one, you can picture very clearly the kind of people you will be selling to, which is very helpful indeed when it comes to crafting your messaging.
If, like McDreams, you are a B2C business, you’ll only have to create a customer avatar. If you’re a B2B business, you’ll also want to create a business avatar. We’ll cover that later.
For now, let’s focus on the customer avatar. All you have to do is think carefully about the kind of person who is most likely to buy from you, and then provide some basic information about them. Here’s McDreams’ attempt at creating a customer avatar:
Who are they?
Marital status: Relationship
Home location: Nottingham
Education level: Degree
Personality traits (x3): Curious, creative, a little lazy
Favourite quote: “You miss 100% of the naps you don’t take.”
Other: Bit of a nerd
What drives them?
Values/ beliefs: In a world where you can be anything, be asleep.
Motivating factors: A simple, happy life.
The big dream: To become a level 20 wizard.
How do they spend their time?
Social media: Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn
Content consumption: Netflix, Prime Video, Youtube, Twitch, Spotify
Hobbies: Video games, guitar, hiking, reading
Events/ shows: Gigs
Other: Once tried crochet but it was a disaster.
What do they stress about?
Challenges: Not having the energy to do everything they want to do.
Main stresses: Cost of living crisis, climate crisis, Game of Thrones Season 8.
One thing preventing the big dream: An uncomfortable bed. Get it?
So there’s a fully-fledged customer avatar. You might think that’s a lot of unnecessary information – but the more information you can conjure about your ideal customer, the better equipped you will be to market to them.
Now for a business avatar. Similar concept, but with different information prompts. Provide as much information as you can, including the business sector, turnover, number of employees, location, key products/services, and current client base.
Think about what the company might need (related to your offering), and the main challenges they are facing. Sprinkle in some media preferences, and you’ve got yourself a business avatar.
Note: If you are a B2B business, it is worth creating a business avatar and a customer avatar. Because even when you are selling to a business, you are actually selling to a person.
Step three: Outline your features and benefits
Now we get into the real meat of your Value Proposition. With your offering and your customer avatars established, it’s time to start unpacking exactly what it is you’re bringing to the table.
To do that, you’ll want to clearly define not just your features, but the benefit of those features. This is where many businesses fall short; features and benefits are often confused.
A feature is something your product/service has, or is. The benefit is how that feature solves a problem, and how it improves the customer’s life.
It isn’t enough to simply state a feature. People don’t really care about the X-TRON-MEGA-FEATURE-5000; they only care about how it will make their lives better. Therefore you need to state, plain as day, the benefits of any given feature.
Here’s a feature and benefit of a McDreams mattress.
Feature: Our mattresses offer supreme levels of comfort.
Benefit: Get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling well-rested, ready to take on the day!
Feature: High-tog, duck-feather duvets
Benefit: Stay warm and cosy through winter!
Now you try. List all the features of your products/services, and write down how each one positively impacts your customer’s life. It’s easy once you get a feel for it!
Step four: Address common objections
You’re almost done, I promise. Just a couple more steps, and then we can all go back to doing something more fun. I, for instance, am looking forward to building a blanket fort, although I am perhaps short a few blankets. I bet McDreams could help me out.
But once again, I digress. This part is about addressing the objections a prospective customer may have when buying from you. You might be able to think of objections that are specific to your industry, but here are some general ones (answered by McDreams) to get you started:
Q: Why should the customer change?
A: If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can have a serious impact on your wellbeing.
Q: Why should the customer change now?
A: A good night’s sleep is available right here, right now.
Q: Why your product or service?
A: Unrivalled levels of comfort for a better night’s sleep.
Q: Why you and your company?
A: We’re the sleep experts, with decades of experience.
Q: Why should they spend the money?
A: Small price to pay for an improved quality of life.
If you can provide 1-3 answers for each of those questions, you’re having a blinder. And the real beauty here is that you may have some lines which will slide neatly into your website copy, social media posts, or general sales messaging. It really is worth taking the time to do this.
Step five: Write a one-line explainer
The fifth and final element of your Value Proposition could take either the least or the most amount of time. All you have to do is write just one little sentence. Easy peasy, right?
Perhaps not. Because this sentence is going to encapsulate the entirety of your business in just a few words. Like a slogan, but not really; the one-line explainer is the core of your Value Proposition, briefly defining what you do and the value it brings. Something like this:
Award-winning beds and mattresses, for a better night’s sleep!
For another example, here’s our one-line explainer for Bloody Marketing:
Our team becomes your team, delivering outstanding marketing to grow your business.
And with that, your Value Proposition is complete. You now have a solid foundation on which to build a targeted, impactful marketing strategy. Nice!
Usually at this point I’d offer some sort of summary, but I think you’ve been through enough. I hope this blog helped, and I hope your Value Proposition brings you, well, value!