When someone considers trying a new restaurant or shopping at a new store, they will usually do some research before making the purchase. They might scroll through the company’s website, or ask the business owner some questions about their product.
A perceptive business owner will know that the customer is—knowingly or unknowingly—looking for the business’s unique value proposition, or what sets that company apart (and why should they spend their money there). This value proposition is what can help customers through to the end of the sales funnel and toward making a purchasing decision.
What is a value proposition?
A value proposition is a brief statement in which a business explains to potential customers how a business is unique, what it offers to target customers, and how it can improve their lives. Usually, the value proposition is between two to five sentences long. Value propositions are often featured in a business’s website, products, and marketing campaigns. They are a critical part of any business’s brand strategy.
How to write a value proposition
- Identify a problem
- Explain how your business can offer a solution
- Explain why your business is unique
- Put it all together
- Edit for clarity
Writing a value proposition might seem like an overwhelming task if you have never created one before. However, by following a few simple steps and highlighting some key points, you can create a compelling value proposition that reinforces your marketing strategy.
1. Identify a problem
All successful business ideas must address a problem or need of potential customers. This requires you to have a sound understanding of your target audience in order to find and penetrate a market. For example, your potential customers might like Italian food but live in a small town without an Italian restaurant. Such a restaurant could help solve this problem but success depends on researching and understanding which dishes customers want to eat.
2. Explain how your business can offer a solution
You need to explain the product or service your business is offering and how it is the solution to your customer needs. For example, an online store may sell clothing for less than other retailers, and offer a wider variety of styles that can be easily customized. The solution portion of your value proposition can be around two to three sentences long.
3. Explain why your business is unique
Most businesses have competitors that offer similar products or services. An Italian restaurant in a small town faces competition from other restaurants with different price points or cuisine offerings. An online clothing store might face competition from another online clothing store with more elaborately designed clothing. It is not enough to just solve a customer’s problem. It helps if a business has a competitive advantage. This could mean that your restaurant serves unique dishes that taste better than food at other restaurants. Or it could mean that your online clothing store has a shipping service that’s much faster than other online clothing stores. Figuring out what makes a business unique is something that business owners must carefully consider. The answer will be different for every successful business.
4. Put it all together
Once you have identified the problem, the solution your business offers, and how your business differs from competitors, you will have the tools you need to write a successful value proposition. You can start your value proposition by either explaining the problem or explaining the solution your business offers. Either way, the bulk of the value proposition should focus on the solution. Many companies also place a positioning statement directly after the value proposition statement. The positioning statement is a concise explanation of why your business is better than other competitors.
5. Edit for clarity
Now that you have written the first draft of your value proposition, you should make sure to polish it so that it is as good as it can be. Is there a way to make the sentences flow better? A catchy phrase or slogan you can mention that is unique to your business? Is it clear what goods or services your business is providing? These are all questions that you should ask yourself while adding the final touches to your value proposition.
3 tips for writing a good value proposition
- Be specific.
- Make a value proposition canvas.
- Ask for feedback from friends, family, and colleagues alike.
You’ll probably go through a few different iterations of your value proposition before you land on one that works for your company. Here are 4 tips for writing a great value proposition.
- Be specific. A strong value proposition will be unique and not something that could apply to any other business. It helps if you can point to specific ways that your business operates.
- Make a value proposition canvas. One of the most popular techniques for writing a great value proposition is using a value proposition canvas, which is a type of diagram business owners can draw to help understand where and how their business can add value. This method encourages business owners to think in terms of “gains and pains” that the customer may be experiencing. Businesses using this strategy will focus on ways in which they can make customer jobs easier by alleviating “pain points,” or specific problems a customer is facing.
- Ask for feedback from friends, family, and colleagues alike. Getting feedback from people you trust is crucial to writing an effective value proposition statement. If possible, it may also be useful to speak with a business consultant or a mentor you trust to get additional feedback on your value proposition.
Examples of good value propositions
Here are a couple of unique value proposition examples for fictional businesses.
Small Town Italian Restaurant
Small Town Italian Restaurant is the only restaurant of its kind in Springfield, USA. We have a large dining area and offer discounts for larger groups, which makes this the perfect place for affordable meals for the whole family. We are also the only restaurant in Springfield that exclusively uses organic ingredients. Located in the center of town, we are open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. We also cater events, making any gathering for business or pleasure worry-free.
Affordable Online Custom Clothing
Do you struggle to find clothes that fit well? Don’t have the budget for a tailor? At Affordable Online Custom Clothes, we customize our clothes to match your personal measurements so you’ll never have a bad fit again. Unlike our competitors, we buy the best fabrics in bulk. That means we can offer low prices that you won’t find elsewhere.
Important Reminders App
Are you missing important appointments and meetings, even though you have a calendar app on your smartphone? That’s because these apps only operate in the background of the home screen. The Important Reminders App not only sends you reminders, but stays open on the home screen of your smartphone at all times, allowing you to see the day’s events without ever clicking on the app—keeping you on task and on time.
How to write a value proposition FAQ
What are the elements of a value proposition?
A value proposition explains what product or service your business offers and how future customers stand to benefit from your product or service.
What is a real example of a value proposition?
Shopify has a value proposition on its homepage framed as the question, “What is Shopify and how does it work?” In response, Shopify offers the following value proposition:
“Shopify is a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business.
With Shopify, you can:
- Create and customize an online store
- Sell in multiple places, including web, mobile, social media, online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops
- Manage products, inventory, payments, and shipping
Shopify is completely cloud-based and -hosted, which means you don’t have to worry about upgrading or maintaining software or web servers. This gives you the flexibility to access and run your business from almost anywhere, including your mobile device.”
What makes a good value proposition?
A good value proposition is unique and easy to understand. It should explain what your business does to someone who has never heard of it before, and entice prospective customers to purchase your product or service.
How long should a value proposition be?
Most value propositions are between two to five sentences. Some may be longer or shorter, depending on context.