Words are such useful things aren’t they?
We are lucky that in the English language we have such a rich and varied palette to use, and so many words to choose from.
My son’s first word was ‘bird’. Not ‘Mama’, not ‘Dada’, but ‘bird’. (How’s that for gratitude?!)
Remembering about this makes me wonder why we we have always historically chosen to teach small children the names of animals before any other words? Nursery rhymes are filled with animals, and most toddler books feature farm animals in some way or another.
Perhaps it’s because, when it comes to animals, one simple word conveys so much. Cat is much easier to say than: ‘short, slinky animal, soft fur, purrs a bit, catches mice, bit temperamental, comes and goes as it pleases’.
Thinking about animal words really does clearly illustrate the purpose of words in general.
Now, unless you are going to live for a million years – enabling you to witness evolution in action, a cat will always be a cat.
It’s not so simple for businesses. The problem with trying to convey what your business does in one short word or phrase is that most businesses are constantly evolving beasts, adapting with the terrain or the environment. When you set up your business you may have been a lizard, but now you are a chameleon – that’s tricky to get across to your prospects.
A Value Proposition saves you from having to do this. With a well-crafted Value Proposition, you don’t need to keep using your job title, or saying: “I’m a recruiter”, or “I’m a chiropractor” – and that’s good, because one day, you might retrain and add acupuncture to your range of offerings, and then what job title will you give yourself?
You won’t, you’ll use a Value Proposition.
How do you write a Value Proposition?
It needs to be a clear statement of:
- How your product or service solves your customers’ problems.
- The specific benefits that you deliver.
- Why you are the best business to deliver these benefits to your customer.
Here’s an example that might be familiar to you.
Send Better Email.
There certainly is no confusion there about what Mailchimp does, and the benefit you can expect to achieve from selecting them as your email service.
Here’s another one that is a bit longer:
Picture your business running on your terms.
Xero is online accounting software that helps you to save time on your paperwork and get paid faster.
It’s not gimmicky or catchy. It’s not a throwaway line. It clearly says what Xero does.
Web technology firms are generally pretty good at this stuff, but all businesses should be.
How do you use a Value Proposition?
Some businesses build their Value Proposition into a strapline that they use all over their marketing literature. Others just use it as the first paragraph that you see whenever you arrive at their website or open their brochure or flyer. The point is, to use it ALL the time, wherever you can. This is particularly important if your company has a new technology, or it has innovated a new service.
There is certainly an art to creating a good one, and it’s not something you can do quickly. It needs time, concentration and a good thesaurus. If you want to know more about how to do this in detail and for more examples, take some time to read this this very detailed article on cxl.com
Never heard of cxl.com? If you click the link and then look in the sidebar to the right, you’ll find its Value Proposition sitting clear and proud, and then you’ll know exactly what service and benefits it delivers to its customers. Marketing in action.