In the age of tough online competition, one thing is sure: unless you stand out with an awesome offer or strong brand personality, you will blend in. To stand out, you need to give your customers a reason to buy from you instead of a competitor.
Easier said than done, you might say.
Don’t worry, though. I’m going to tell you about one of the most important conversion factors that will help you to increase sales. That’s the one and only unique value proposition.
What is unique value proposition
Unique value proposition (UVP) is also known as a unique selling proposition (USP) and it’s a promise of a benefit that will be delivered and experienced by customers once they buy your product.
Let’s repeat it once again: value proposition is a promise of a benefit. It means that when you sell shoes, you promise your customer to run longer or faster. When you sell a bed, you sell healthy sleep and a great mood the next day. You don’t sell seat belts, you sell safety.
A value proposition is a clear statement that your product resolves problems of your customers, it will give them real benefits and your products are better than your competition’s.
In other words, it’s not about you, it’s not about your product or selling, it’s about your customers and addressing their needs.
It's about how your product solves problems, what benefits your customers can expect and why you're better than your competition.
Here’s an example.
A few years ago, BMW has created “The Hire,” series of eight short films about a BMW driver getting hired by various people.
The main character was played by Clive Owen, who was co-starred by many hot Hollywood names. All clips were directed by the most promising young artists or by already recognized directors.
Every commercial had its unique story. In one of them, the driver is confronted by a van full of armed men because his customer has stolen diamonds. In another, the driver protects a holy Asian child that was brought to America by boat.
The reason why these commercials are so effective is that each commercial highlights other performance aspects of various BMW cars. But it doesn’t only show the product, it also makes a promise: when you drive the legendary M5 E39, you are legendary too.
This is the secret of successful selling and it’s called a unique value proposition.
The best value proposition example
To understand value proposition even better, let’s see the example.
Try to recall advertisements of weight loss pills. All these ugly banners with ridiculously fit women holding tailor meters and smiling.
And let’s recall how these magic pills are advertised. Here are several “fat-burning” slogans and benefits they promise:
- Lose 10 pounds in three days (a promise of burning fat),
- Contains green tea essence (a promise of health),
- Insulin function increased. Energy! (I have no idea what it means, but hey, who doesn’t need more energy!),
- Potent metabolic enhancer! (it also boosts metabolism?!).
You may laugh, but what if I tell you that it's better market proposition than most of the marketing texts that can be found on landing pages?
On most websites marketers would describe burning pills this way:
It’s white, round and was created to bring fantastic results! Your friends and family won’t recognize you once you buy it! Take your body to a new level with our awesome pills and remember, if you buy one, you’ll get another at half price!
Can you see the difference?
The first version promises you benefits and resolves your problems with achieving the bikini look. The second version is all about features: it describes how the pill looks like, it contains this lovely marketing jibber jabber (“take X to a new level!”) and it tries to tempt you with the price.
But why on Earth would anyone buy something just because it’s white and round? You have to give them a reason why they want to buy your product.
How to construct unique value proposition
I guess it won’t be a surprise if I told you that before you write copy for your landing page, you have to do some market research (here you can read how to do market research).
Don’t try to copy your competitor’s benefits or values, you should want to distinguish yourself from them. Other websites can be your inspiration if you don’t know where to start, but you need to think about your unique value proposition.
Ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Who are my customers?
- What are their needs?
- What are their problems?
- Why am I better than my competition?
- And the most important ones: how is my product going to help to solve these problems? How will customers benefit?
Of course, the most difficult part of it is to respond to the last questions. Luckily, there is one trick that can help you to find out what benefits your customers might expect.
A couple of weeks ago I had an interview with Jonny Everett, The Chat Shop’s co-founder and the Director of Customer Development, who shared his trick on how to find the benefits of your product. He said that every time he thinks about benefits, he plays the “which means that” game:
For example: I’m going to be selling books, which means that people are going to be able to read, which means that they’re gonna learn new things, which means that they’re gonna be better professionals in their careers, which means that they’re gonna get paid more money, which means that they’ll gonna buy the house of their dreams.
So if you start to play the “which means that” game, you’ll start to get real product benefits rather than just product features.
Unique value proposition is the first thing your customers see
One of the reasons why your customers leave your website without making a purchase might be bad copy. A nicely created proposition will help you to optimize your conversion rate, so if website visitors leave your website and don’t buy your product, you should first think about changing your website copy.
Remember that you don’t sell a product or service, you sell values and benefits. Forget about nice slogans because your customers are looking for real results and useful values.
The good thing is that you don’t need to have a big budget and hire Guy Ritchie to produce a commercial. If you find your place in your niche and get to know your customers, you can be sure that your customers will fall in love with your brand.
If you want to know more about how to write damn good copy that sells, listen to this episode of Business Sidekick podcast: What Is Value Proposition.
Main picture via courtesy of Wallpapercave.