Unique value proposition is the first impression your customers get about your product. A well crafted one will attract your target audience, make them yearn for more, making your product irresistible, while a poorly selected one will bore even the perfect client to death.
Learn the 3 paths to finding your value proposition, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to choose the right one for your product.
Your product’s value, explained
- Why are some products better than others?
- Why some products stay with us, in our minds, while others fall into the abyss?
- Why do some products sell like hot cocoa on a frosty night, while others (seemingly very similar) products stay on the shelves, untouched, like the virgin Mary?
I thought long and hard about this. It all comes down to differentiation.
Some products are “better” than others because they are different to every competitor on the market, providing a unique value for a customer segment.
Now that’s a complicated sentence, so let’s break it down into pieces and lose the jargon, shall we?
You have a market for certain products. You have a market leader, some major players, and some products lagging, destined to fail. Now you launch your new product onto the market. Your product is different to everything out there (it offers something unique), which customers find interesting. That’s why they use your product, that’s why they buy it, that’s why they fall in love with it. It doesn’t matter whether the product we are talking about is an app, another SAAS, or any other product.
Let’s take the market of writing assistants, for example.
Grammarly is there for the masses. You want an assistant that will be there for you, whether you are writing LinkedIn posts or replying to Karen in accounting via email? Grammarly is the perfect solution for you. It’s lightweight and makes writing simple, as you don’t have to worry about mistakes.
You can’t address everybody’s needs and the market leader left a big gap in the market. A niche of medium weight writers. These writers don’t want a lightweight editor, and don’t need integrations, but want a more in-depth analysis of their copywriting. So they can learn and become the best writers they can be.
I am one of those writers. I edited this article using ProWritingAid, a Grammarly competitor, because it gives me just that. A deep analysis of my essay’s language, tone, and style. In time, this helps me advance my writing skills.
ProWritingAid caters to my specific needs*. It provides a clear value, because it’s different to the market leader, Grammarly. If you now tried to launch a new product onto the market, and simply copy Grammarly or ProWritingAid (and people do try that tactic), you would fail. Miserably. (and people do fail). Because that space on the market is already taken.
There are a hundred other writing assistants, which I frankly can’t remember, because their value propositions simply didn’t appeal to me – didn’t trigger my interest at all. They weren’t positioned properly.
*I have no affiliation with ProWritingAid, so I will stay poor even if you click and buy the software.
Without a clearly communicated value, your marketing message will fail
You can understand why your product will fail without a persuasive message just by reading the last sentence of the paragraph.
I remember looking at several solutions when purchasing my writing assistant, yet I can only remember choosing between Grammarly (the industry leader) and ProWritingAid (the product that addressed my specific needs). And once I found ProWritingAid, the conversion happened almost instantly.
The lesson here is that if your message doesn’t persuade your target audience, it won’t resonate with your target audience. And you can’t write a persuasive message if you don’t know what the value you are providing is.
People remember, buy, and love products because the products we use can help us in a specific way. If you don’t know what that is or can’t communicate it efficiently, you are not getting the sales your product deserves.
Either that, or you are selling your product at a lower price than necessary.
In order to maximize your sales, you need to craft a perfect unique value proposition. A value prop that will highlight your offer and show customers what you are all about.
What Is My Product’s Unique Value Proposition & How To Find It
You can think of your product’s value proposition as a promise you are making to your customers. By writing a specific UVP, you are saying you will meet your customer’s needs, and address their pain points.
Since we used the example of Grammarly and ProWritingAid, here are their promises:
Grammarly: Great writing, simplified. – Promises your writing will be consistently great, making writing simple or stress-free.
ProWritingAid: Write and learn with us. – The focus isn’t on a “simple process of writing”. The focus is on learning and making your writing better every time you write something.
So there you go. Almost the same product, addressing completely different needs, positioning themselves as top-of-mind solutions for two different user segments.
Now let’s find your core value and package it into a promise for your customers.
There are three paths to finding the value you bring to your target segment:
Option 1: Go by your gut
I seriously can’t stress enough how much I hate this approach, yet most startups choose this exact option; basically guessing and scribble down something that “should probably work”. This approach can work if you have done your customer research, you are a seasoned marketer, and have lots of experience with copywriting & psychology as well.
Otherwise, I recommend option 2 or 3. Or your gut might start hurting.
Option 2: talk to customers
This is the most reliable option & possibly the cheapest option, yet startup founders avoid it like the black plague will strike them if they choose it. Asking your customers how they use your product and why they converted in the first place will give you an excellent idea of what your customers value.
Keep in mind, it’s best to speak to best-fit customers – those who really value your product – and not get swayed by other customer segments who happened to make the purchase.
Option 3: Figure out how your differentiation drives your value
The third option is to map your competition and figure out whether there is a gap in the market. IE. Grammarly created the product for the simple writer, so ProWritingAid satisfied the needs of the customer segment opposed to that – the complex writer.
Now let’s give the exercise a go and help you find your promise to the customer.
A step-by-step differentiation exercise
- Map your competitors
Figure out what the alternative solutions for your customers are. Remember to include direct competitors as well as indirect ones. This is easily done by answering a simple question: What can my customer do to solve his problem or satisfy his need?
Together, you need at least 5 solutions that the customer can choose instead of choosing you. If you don’t, you probably don’t know your customer and your market well enough.
2. Figure out the competitors’ strengths & weaknesses
Once you have the competitors listed, think about the strengths they have & their weaknesses. Try to spot a gap. Is there an underserved niche? (For example, are all the competitors really big businesses, but their support sucks? You can use that and become the product with the best support in your field.)
3. List your unique features
Jot down 5 features that make your product unique (that you can’t find among the competitor strengths). What sets you apart? Don’t limit yourself to product features only. Think about team attributes as well. (An impatient team is sometimes an asset).
4. Turn them from features to product benefits
Now turn these attributes that are unique to your team into benefits for your customers. Answer the question: What does the customer gain with this feature? (The impatient team from before means the customer gets the results faster than your team doesn’t have the patience to wait for results.)
5. Provide proof
If you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. Think about how you will communicate (or prove) that you actually bring these benefits to your customers.
6. Order them by importance
Take the benefits and order them by importance. Which benefit do customers value the most?
7. Craft your unique value proposition
Turn that benefit into a value proposition. You can also use multiple benefits, depending on what makes sense in your case. (In case of the impatient team, it might be something like: We help our customers achieve results faster.)
Stick it to your homepage:)
Want help finding the values you need to communicate with your clients and help them fall in love with your product? The differentiation exercise is just one of the steps we do with your team in the Nail Your Positioning workshop. DM me for a free 30-min discovery call.
Bonus: 3 Examples of startups with enticing UVPs
No, I will not mention Nike and their slogan – Just do it.
Masterclass is an online learning platform, using specialists to teach specific subjects. Their key message is often used in the ads that guide the user to the landing page and is formulated something like this:
[Expert in the field] teaches [a coveted field]. For example:
John Legend teaches songwriting.
Richard Branson teaches disruptive entrepreneurship.
Why it works?
Who wouldn’t want to learn the art of business from Richard Branson? Or improving their stage presence by Christina Aguilera?
The message works, because it gives the reader an end result (become an incredible entrepreneur that they want and the vehicle of transformation (Richard Branson) to get there.
Drivetrain helps startups with strategic planning. Startups solve with Excel spreadsheets, but Drivetrain says this can be done in a better way.
Their unique value proposition is: “Google Maps for business growth”.
Why it works?
It works because Startups are usually in chaos, especially in finance and growth. The Google Maps analogy makes the startup founders feel like there is a plan, a map for this, and gives a sense of stability that small businesses crave.
Hipcamp is an online platform that helps you find the perfect outdoor adventure. Their primary message, found on their website’s main banner, is:
Find yourself outside.
Why it works?
The message works, because the company knows it caters to customers who use the outdoors to find not just a vacation, but some time for themselves in this fast-moving world. The message is all about the need to get away from it all.
Your promise to your customer is a single, most important statement you have to figure out as a startup founder. It has to speak to a need your customer has, as well as communicate the brand’s personality.
Aim for simplicity. Simple means you have your potential customers in mind, as you are not making them work too hard or invest too much time to understand your product. You are breaking a complex idea (your product) down and making it easy to understand. Helping your customers out will also boost your credibility.
Crafting the perfect message is tricky, but pays massive dividends when you nail it. So give it a thought, do it right, showcase your product’s main benefit and find massive traction among your customer base.