- Sunday, May 8, 2016

WAKE UP YOUR BLOG: Value Proposition

A value proposition is where you define your value to your consumer, and it comes in handy for pricing, branding, positioning, and overall strategy.

According to Forbes, “In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.”
When going through this process, consider the distinction between your readers and your sales. For example: Your readership may focus on QUANTITY of posts while your sales product (such as advertisements) focuses on quality as a result of the quantity. For instance, if you produce 2 posts per day, you are supplying mediocre products at high volume to your readers; however, you are supplying more pages for an advertiser in your sidebar giving them more visibility. If you blog and sell advertisements on your blog, you are probably going to want to do this for both products.
There is no right way to do this. The instructions here can be tweaked for your specific needs. You may come up with more than 3 bullet points, in which case, that’s ok. Go for it. You may decide to only have one main idea, or to eliminate descriptions.

First: List Your Awesomesauce

Let’s get started. First answer some of these questions and derive a list of things that make you more awesome than everyone else. List everything you can, but you are going to be looking for things that both your consumers really want or need (desire), and things that you can’t find too much in competition (exclusive). When brainstorming, you will probably want a list things your customers highly want and things you can’t find too much in competition and build from there.
You can also use Peter’s Printable to help you with this!
What are your main selling points?
Do you offer premium products? A quality that exceeds the norm? Something very different than your competition?
Do you offer a low price for an existing product?
What makes you so different from the competition?
Why should people go to you instead of someone else?
What are 10 words that make you stand out from everyone else?
What do you have that your customers want?
Which category do you fall under? Most Quality. Best bang for your buck. Luxury and Aspiration. Must Have.
If B2B, how do you address problems that are critical and blatant? If B2C, how do you address problems that are latent and aspirational?
What needs do you fulfill from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?
Derive this information from places like your SWOT Analysis and how it applies to your Industry and Market.

Second: Narrow the Awesomesauce

Now take all the points you have that make you valuable to your consumers, and decide how important it is to them.
MarketingExperiments.com suggests giving your value a ranking between 0 and 2 for Exclusivity and Desire. Multiply the two numbers together, and you want 3 line items that make a 2 or more.
For instance, one of your strengths might be “Daily postings.” First rank your Daily Postings between 0 and 2 on exclusivity, 2 for things that are hard to find and 0 for things that are easy to find elsewhere in your niche. In this case, let’s say the answer is a 2 for that niche in particular. Then rank your Daily Postings on what people want or desirability. In this case, let’s say the answer is a 1, like people in that niche (the target market) might be a 2 for DIY (can’t get enough of DIY), but a 1 on articles about blogging. Then multiply the two numbers together (2 times 1 equals 2), and because it’s at least a 2, Daily Postings might be a line item selling point if you don’t have too many 4’s up there.
One good tool to trying to decide how to rank these things is Google Keyword Planner where high competition of that keyword is a 0 and low competition is 2 for exclusivity, and high search amounts is a 2 for desire with low search counts a 0.
Narrow your highlight values into 3 line items. Think of this as the basis of a page or image on a page that advertises your actual products (for comparison with competition if someone is perusing 4 options), but not your branding image or emotional appeal.
For instance, you might do a Blog about Blogging where their branding image is a bird for “Freedom!,” but freedom isn’t a key selling point. A key selling point would be more like, “We offer long, detailed posts that are in-depth” or the opposite, “We offer short posts for quick reading.” In that case, “In-depth” or “Quick Read” is your line item.

Third: Define the Awesomesauce

Now let’s take your key points and organize them into useful pieces of information. You want to use conversational tone and easy words. The following should stand out, grab attention, entice interest, and suck people into your world.

Create a Headline

Create one Headline that encompasses all major points in your awesomesauce in as few words as possible using a key word for your overall product and a keyword for your overall value. This is your attention grabber that let’s SEO robots know what you are essentially about. It’s also your main idea that your awesomesauce is supporting.

Create a Subheadline

Create a Subheadline that encompasses all of 2 to 3 sentences (like a meta description) that again contains that one keyword about your overall product and highlights what you offer and why it’s useful.

Create 3 Bullet Points

Create 3 bullet points of value (the ones you listed above). In each point, have a headline (3 action words) of what makes you more awesome than everyone else from the list you created above. Then write a phrase about how you offer that.
For instance, EverNote’s bullet point:“Find things fast” can be your headline bullet point, and “Search by keyword, tag or even printed and handmade text inside images,” can be your phrase.

Find the Perfect Image

You want to find an image that embodies your overall message. It can be a picture of your product or something abstract.

What do you do with your Value Proposition?

Now you have this thing you can use in a variety of places.
  • You have created a title and meta data for your product landing page or About Me section.
  • You have created copy for that page.
  • You also have an image to use.
  • You can also use this in your media kit in a graphically appealing nature.
  • You also have something to help you determine your pricing strategy.
  • In addition, keep it in the back of your mind. You are focusing on these things, and it should be consistent with your marketing, branding, and even social media posts.
  • You also have something for your mission statement.

How the Value Proposition can be used in a Pricing Strategy

Use the value proposition to determine where you are in this tier of prices and where you want to be on this tier. Are you offering premium services? Or an existing product at a lower price?
  • PREMIUM. Generally, you want to charge more (15% above average) if you are offering top-tier, premium products in a place that has a solid demand (it doesn’t change much).
  • AVERAGE. Aim for average if there’s a lot of competition and you are slightly better than average. This strategy should focus on sales campaigns and differentiating  your product for bigger prices. Eventually, this strategy can also offer premium services.
  • LOWEST PRICE. If the product is viewed more as a commodity, you want to price lower than average. Here the strategy is to consistently offer an existing product at a better price, usually in high volume.

Examples of Value Proposition in the Real World

Evernote’s page is probably my favorite because it’s easy to follow, pleasing to the eye, and very simple.

Geekdom created a statement that explains who they are, what they do, and a competitive edge (new kind). It’s very conversational. In addition, they found more than 3 bullet points that they wanted to list. This is fine, especially when you keep phrases short like they did.

Stripe added an emotional appeal; however, that is not part of their value proposition. We have a headline and subheadline of the product they offer, and then small paragraphs listing what makes them more special than everyone else.
Now that you have defined your value proposition, you are ready to use this in many facets of your entire planning. Your product focus and competitive edge is thus defined, and can be used repeatedly for consistency.
My main source for this article was ConversionXL and Peter Thomson. Other sources include Harvard Business Review,


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