Does your unique value proposition give you a competitive edge?
Every business mentor, advisor or analyst I’ve come into contact with over the years have always asked me this: what is your business’s unique value proposition?
I realised pretty quickly it was an important question to ask ourselves when we started our marketing business many years ago. We needed to understand the purpose of a unique value proposition and why it’s important, particularly as we would be advising our clients as we were marketing their businesses.
What exactly is a unique value proposition?
Typically, it answers this question: Why should some do business with you?
Your answer should convince any prospective buyers that your products or services offer more value to them than your competitors. You know you have the best products, but how do you convince your customer.
A purposeful, well defined, clear and unique value proposition can definitely give you an advantage over your competitors and can often be what your prospects use to evaluate when contemplating purchasing from you. And for many consumers, your unique value proposition (UVP) is the first thing they encounter when exploring your brand. So, having a clear, concise UVP is more important than ever.
TIP: You only have 20-30 seconds to get your visitor’s attention.
When creating your UVP, it’s necessary to identify all the benefits your product or services offer. Describing what makes these benefits valuable in a quickly digestible way will help you to create that very valuable first impression.
It’s also critical to identify what your customer’s main problem is and how your value proposition can provide a solution. By connecting this value to your buyer’s challenges your value proposition will become more clear. This is what helps differentiate your brand as the best provider of your products or services.
The unique value proposition is also referred to as a unique selling proposition (USP) and is generally a short statement that introduces your company’s brand to potential customers. It summarises what your company stands for, how you operate, what you sell and most importantly, how your customers can benefit.
It is the motivation behind each purchase a customer makes. Customers don’t get excited about their purchase, they get excited about how it will make their lives better.
No one particularly likes going to the dentist… but you like to look attractive and avoid the agony of toothache.
Your UVP should form part of your overall marketing strategy but even more, it should reveal the most compelling reasons to convince potential buyers to become customers. It should highlight some benefit or characteristic that sets you apart from every other competitor in your market. You know your product is the best, so see this as your opportunity to convince others.
Your UVP should be so compelling that your potential customer wants to buy from you on the strength of your value proposition alone!
Unique value propositions create happy customers: Happy customers create successful businesses
Many brands draw focus to their UVP by displaying it as a headline on the home page of their website while other brands add it to their product or services pages. For prospective buyers, your UVP is often the first thing they see when exploring your brand, so having this displayed on your site in a prominent place is worthwhile.
How to create a compelling unique value proposition?
Firstly, list all the benefits provided by your products or services
Describe in a palatable way how they give value to your customers
Identify your customers’ problems and demonstrate how your products or services provide solutions
TIP: Your unqiue value proposition will need to convince customers, investors and stakeholders, that your products or services are worthwhile. If your UVP is weak, you could struggle to attract investment and consumer demand.
Creating this simple but utterly important statement is not as simple as you think: it needs to be exclusive, succinct and compelling.
It also has to be user-centric which means putting the customer at the centre of the creative process.
The starting point for identifying what ‘people-centric’ actually means for an organisation is talking to the relevant people.
Imagine you are sitting with a potential customer having a casual conversation and you’re explaining how your business works and how it benefits them. Use plain language and don’t get tied up with tricky selling tactics because they don’t work.
Sadly, many businesses bury their value proposition in marketing jargon or platitudes and meaningless slogans, or they don’t bother highlighting it on their site and in their marketing campaigns – or worse of all – they don’t figure out what it is!
Your job is to get across exactly how your products or services solve a customer’s pain point.
Uber is an example of one of the best unique value proposition examples around today:
TIP: So why do people buy from you? Short answer: because of the value you offer
Understanding your customer
When you create a new product or service you tell yourself this is a great idea!
Your main criteria for thinking this will be something you have found or developed to provide a solution to a problem (pain point). More often than not, this is not enough: unless you have data on which to make this decision. To make your idea viable and successful you need solid information from quantitative and qualitative customer research.
Without doing research and understanding who your customer is, you are risking that the UVP will apply to your potential customers. This is not always the case.
How many businesses have gone belly up because someone had a good idea and didn’t take the time to do market research?
Know your customers’ pain points and solve them
Knowing your customers’ pain points and uncovering the challenges your customers face is fundamental to how you position your products or services as the solution. These can include:
- financial pain points
- productivity pain points
- user experience pain points
- support/ customer service pain points
All your customers will have different pain points and asking the right questions will indicate what solutions you need to present to specific customers.
The benefits of having a unique value proposition
Possibly the main benefit is potential customers will understand immediately what your business has to offer.
Most prospective buyers already know what they want when they get online. This is where your unique value proposition has to be clear about how you can meet their requirements and provide solutions to their problems.
TIP: If your UVP is not immediately apparent the minute they land on your site, they won’t stick around. They’ll be off looking for elsewhere.
Your UVP creates an individuality between you and your competitors. Make it strong, compelling and authentic so that they want to buy from you.
The objective of your company’s UVP is to target your ideal customers and demonstrate why your solution is the best for them. By doing this you are increasing your chances of attracting the right prospects and finding higher quality leads more likely to convert.
A powerful UVP also has the ability to improve customer understanding of your products and services and convinces them how they benefit from them and why they are the best option for them.
Buyers don’t care about your business, your products or your services
They only care about how you can make their lives easier
They like the way your products or services make them feel about themselves
They like what your brand says about them
They like how you can change their world
If you are going to communicate clearly to your customers, you first need to understand their needs and preferences and learn how to speak their language. This is how sales work: teasing them with something they can’t resist, then reminding them they’ve made a good decision.
Copywriters are often tasked with defining a business’s unique value proposition. After all, UVPs are word-based projects so it makes sense that writers should create them.
But… a UVP needs a strategic approach that involves your whole team: sales, management, marketing and most importantly your customers. If you don’t start here your UVP will never get off the ground.
In fact, defining value and value propositions is one of the core elements of effective sales and marketing alignment. Get it right and It’s a fantastic way to get an edge.
Research shows 83% of marketers are neglecting their customer value proposition.
Don’t be one of them!
Get your team together and start now to create your unique value proposition.
Midge Hand is a Co-founder and Director of High Profile Enterprises. Midge is one of only around 50 Copyblogger Media Certified Content Marketers and is the only one in New Zealand. When away from the demands of running High Profile Enterprises, Midge enjoys time with family, cooking for friends, Pilates and paddle boarding. This year her new challenge is to learn to play the melodica.