Most products are built because they aim too solve a problem. It could be a problem that you, yourself encountered, or something a friend encountered. But it’s a problem that started us on the journey of developing a solution to.
Now like other product developers out there, I have made a career solving problems. Problems in the educational sector, public sector, even for myself. And what most technology businesses start out with these days are digital products that are aiming to solve a problem. But what makes your product noticeable? Why would someone buy your product?
Your product needs to have a vision. A vision of what the future will hold. It’s the idea of what life will look like for those that use your product. What is incredibly helpful in understanding the vision is helping to paint a picture of what life is currently like, before using your product.
A key component of your vision for your product is the value proposition. Your value proposition is your plan for how your product will meet customer needs better than the alternatives. Out of all the potential customer needs your product could address, which ones will your product focus on solving.
Steve Jobs said it best.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that are out there. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs
What is a Value Proposition?
A value proposition is defined by marketing as an innovation, service or feature intended to make a company attractive to customers. The idea is to share the problem you are tackling and how to solve it. A value proposition can contain the following:
- Headline: What is the end-benefit you’re offering, in 1 short sentence. It can mention the product and/or the customer. It’s an attention grabber!
- Sub-headline or a 2-3 sentence paragraph: A specific explanation of what you do/offer, for whom and why is it useful.
- 3 bullet points: List the key benefits or features.
- Visual: Images communicate much faster than words. Shows the product, the hero shot, or an image reinforcing your main message.
Understanding what a value proposition can be you can begin to look at what you’ve started to put together. If you already have a value proposition for your product, then you can evaluate your value proposition to make sure it still makes sense when you put on your customer hat.
When I think about how I know if my value proposition is going to make sense to the customer, I ask myself four questions. If I have trouble being able to answer any of these, then I continue to evaluate and draft up what might be a better value proposition.
The four questions I use when evaluating and creating value propositions are:
- What product or service is your company selling?
- What is the end-benefit of using it?
- Who is your target customer for this product or service?
- What makes your offering unique and different?
Using these as a framework you can begin to see how well a value proposition fits. Let’s take a look at a few examples though, to see if these questions make sense.
Examples of good Value Propositions
A good way to understand if your value proposition is heading in the right place is to look at and evaluate other value propositions. Using the above questions, here’s 3 companies we have likely used to see how well they stack up.
Send Email Your Customers Can’t Ignore.
Easy-to-use, professional-grade email marketing and automation for today’s fast-growing businesses.
- What product or service is your company selling? Email marketing and automation
- What is the end-benefit of using it? Send email to customers that they can’t ignore.
- Who is your target customer for this product or service? Any fast-growing businesses.
- What makes your offering unique and different? It’s easy-to-use and professional-grade.
Learn WordPress the Easy Way
Who’s got time to waste on boring tech books? Tired of homemade videos filled with ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ or confusing tech jargon? Ready to finally learn how to use WordPress to create your own website today?
- What product or service is your company selling? Easy to follow videos to use WordPress.
- What is the end-benefit of using it? Help you learn WordPress.
- Who is your target customer for this product or service? Someone wanting to create their own website with WordPress.
- What makes your offering unique and different? They aren’t homemade videos. They are professional, easy to follow along.
Convert Abandoning/Engaged/Targeted/Loyal/Website Visitors into Subscribers
Powerful Conversion Optimization Toolkit to Grow Your Email List and Boost Sales!
- What product or service is your company selling? A toolkit to help increase conversions on your site.
- What is the end-benefit of using it? Growing your email list and boosting sales.
- Who is your target customer for this product or service? Any site owner that wants to convert visitors into subscribers.
- What makes your offering unique and different? This one is a little hard for me to pull out, but what I would guess is that the toolkit helps a site owner to not only grow their email list but also boost their sales.
Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition needs to answer in a compelling way the age old question your customers ask, “Why should I buy this specific product?” When you spend time knowing and understanding your customers and you are focusing on the problem you are aiming to solve, you can create a great value proposition. The trick is to know your product well, how it compares to your competition and how well it solves the problem.
One you have identified what the key problem is that you are trying to solve, it becomes surprisingly easy to position your product or service as a helpful way to solve it.