What is Your Value Proposition and How Do You Present it?
Many people like to optimize the call to action or other elements of landing pages but overlook the crucial aspect of every business website or even online interaction! It’s the value proposition.
I’ve been doing a lot of blogger outreach in recent years and some additional short consultations. In both cases one of the most important things I look at first is the value proposition.
It’s not just outreach or landing pages that require a value proposition.
Any business activity on the Web has to provide a value proposition because it’s not about wasting time. It’s about using your time online to reach your business goals:
- a blog post
- a LinkedIn share
- or even a tweet
need a value proposition. It’s unlike personal or private Internet use for entertainment purposes and to deal with boredom.
That’s why I rarely use Facebook for example as it’s private in its nature. All those cute baby photos are great to look at. I admit that!
Yet beyond strengthening your bonds with the people who show them there is no value in viewing private photos. Also I prefer real life babies instead of virtual ones.
Who are you and what is your actual offer helping people with?
What is your value proposition and how do you present it? It depends on who you are and what you offer. Are you a
- start-up entrepreneur
- local business owner
- designer or architect
- doctor, lawyer or any other independent professional
- non-profit representative?
As a blogger you ideally have several value propositions.
Your blog name is already one, your tagline offers another, you have one on the article level. I don’t like weblogs that are just real name domains like johndoe.com
Why? One reason to dislike real name domains is that you have to know who that person is to see a value proposition on that blog straight away.
That’s why I called my blog SEO 2.0 a few years ago. At that time it meant something like “the next level SEO”. There was my first value proposition.
The so called tagline – the short sentence explaining your blog – is a crucial factor.
In it you can add a very powerful value proposition or you can just explain your blog which is not ideal but still better than no tagline.
Until recently I had an explanatory tagline that said “Search and Social Media Survival Guide”. The proposed value was of guiding you through search and social media but with mere survival at as the result.
Who wants just to survive? That’s why I changed it recently to a more positive value proposition: “I help people with blogs, social media and search”. This is not yet perfect.
The updated version is: helping people with blogs, social media and search. It’s still a bit fuzzy though. I may to have to be more specific.
Keep optimizing no matter how apt it seems
I will probably optimize it further but it’s already a rock solid value proposition. You can get help with all three disciplines.
Also it’s ambiguous, either I help you once you already are actively using a blog, social media and search or I help you with my or other blogs, social media and search.
A value proposition is like a promise you have to keep.
In case you say you have the “ultimate” resource on link building, you have to deliver and it must be ultimate one or at least so comprehensive that most people will be satisfied with it.
Ideally you guess your visitors’ “user intent” before they arrive on your site. Some people will want to buy immediately whatever you have to offer, others will just want to peruse.
Are you serving different audiences?
On some sites there are even at least two different audiences. For example on ad network sites you will have advertisers who want to buy ads and publishers who want to sell ad space.
In such cases you have to align your value proposition with each of your audiences. The process of doing so is called traffic segmentation.
Usually the common approach is to have just one call to action on each page, for example a “buy now” button.
In reality as you have different audiences and many user intents you rather need more than one call to action.
- The immediate buyer type of visitor needs a “buy now” button
- the researching type of visitor needs a “read more” type of link
- someone who wants to sell their product to you, a manufacturer for example needs “contact” form.
Thus a landing page and any page on your site is basically a landing page needs several elements. Here the clutter begins.
In an ideal world you divide your audiences first before delivering on your value proposition.
On ad network sites you will most likely have a button for “advertisers” and one for “publishers”. Likewise online shops that sell fashion will have a women/men choice on the frontpage.
How do you put your value proposition into words?
Presenting the value proposition is not as easy as it might sound at first. Also you must make sure that the value proposition comes first and the call to action comes second.
There have been test results published recently which contrary to industry best practices claimed that having your call to action below the fold – that is hidden in the invisible area of a page.
That way you have to scroll actually. Apparently it has boosted the conversion rate. Why? Most probably in these cases the value proposition took a while to get delivered.
It was presented as lots of text or a video you have to watch first. Thus the people who saw the call to action were not ready yet to perform the action the call to action asked them for.
Please ask yourself: what is your value proposition and how do you present it?
Also once you determined the value you propose make sure the proposition gets fulfilled. Also probably you need to segment your visitors.
You need to separate them into two or more audiences first before proposing your value. Last but not least you have to keep the promise you give.
Thus it does not make sense to sell “the best pizza” or publish “the ultimate guide” because you will never completely satisfy everybody.
Here is a template to simplify finding your value proposition: [your offer] [common issue] [unique solution].
A realistic example from journalism
Consider a realistic use case and a specific goal: “the microphone for hassle-free automatic recording.” Why did I use this example?
As a former journalist I often struggled to recorded things properly. Using a microphone is not complicated you think? Either
- I forgot to turn the mic on in the first place
- there were some background noises
- or it was too far from the speaker.
One way or the other I had often to record twice or publish low quality recordings or even just quote the people I interviewed from my memory.
A mic that turns itself on whenever someone speaks nearby, filters noise frequencies and alerts you when you’re too far away would be the solution.
The ecommerce experts from Shopify have also a list real life examples from existing websites that have well crafted value propositions.
[…] off, what the heck is a value proposition? My products represent the value, I don’t have to propose to anybody! Keep calm and read on. […]