In this article I’ll explain the following:
- What a “Unique Value Proposition” is, and why EVERY organisation needs one to be successful.
- The materials you’ll need, and the process to execute, to craft an effective Unique Value Proposition.
- How I use “Unique Value Statements” to power-up landing pages, websites, digital marketing campaigns, and other digital collateral.
- How to use emotional drivers to setup marketing tests.
Part One (Theory): Introducing your “Unique Value Proposition”
The most important foundation of ANY organisation’s sales and marketing strategy is a differentiating sentence or statement called a Unique Value Proposition, or “UVP” in short.
A UVP describes the UNIQUE value or benefit(s) an organisation provides to its target market(s), and allows the organisation to differentiate itself from competition whilst simultaneously attracting responsive, “ready-to-buy” customers. The key operating word here is “unique” – fundamentally, a UVP addresses one key question asked by an organisation’s target customers:
“Why should I buy from you, and not somebody else?”
If an organisation can successfully address this question via a UVP, it’ll be easier to achieve commercial success. UVPs allow organisations to separate themselves from their competition and appear like THE most logical option to their target market by explaining:
- How their target market can engage them to get the result they desperately want,
- Why the organisation is THE BEST vehicle to provide that result, and
- How the organisation’s UNIQUE features, benefits, social proof, and other facts will help the target market get a BRILLIANT result that they COULD NOT get anywhere else.
“The essence of business is marketing. The essence of marketing is the message. And the essence of the message is the value proposition.”
– Dr. Flint McGlaughlin
Unique Value Propositions should:
- Speak directly to the desired outcomes of the prospect,
- Speak directly to the reader, in their own terms, using “you” language, instead of using only “we” or “I”,
- Be stated from a customer’s point of view, and solve a problem or provide an outcome they don’t yet have,
- Contain PROOF that the organisation can make true of their claims,
- Contain unique data points that separates the organisation from their competitors,
- Make it 110% clear that the organisation is THE #1 LOGICAL CHOICE to the prospect, and
- Contain a guarantee and/or elements that will contribute to some form of reduction in risk.
Effective UVPs exist inside the overlap between the needs or wants of a target market, and the unique offering and experience an organisation provides.
Here are two examples of homepage Unique Value Propositions:
“Learn how to win more freelance jobs, get better ratings, and grow your business as a global freelancer. The Freelancer Alliance is a tactical training resource and community that shows you how to win more freelance work on websites like Freelancer.com, UpWork, Guru, and People Per Hour. Start improving your job-winning skills for only $1.”
“I’ll help you convert digital platforms like Google AdWords, Facebook PPC, and your own website into plentiful sources of prospects and sales, allowing you to do what you really want: not worrying about digital marketing. For the past six years, I’ve helped dozens of clients across dozens of industries improve their digital marketing Return On Investment, and I’d love to help you, too. Try me out, and if I can’t get results, I’ll give you your money back – guaranteed.”
In a digital marketing context, without a Unique Value Proposition, marketing tools and channels like Google AdWords, Facebook PPC, landing pages and websites are lifeless and mediocre ‘shells’ that do not and will not cut through a competitive landscape.
The process for creating a UVP is multi-dimensional. An organisation’s target market, offering, experience and proof elements are involved in this process, and I’ll explain a high level process on how to do this below.
Introducing “Unique Value Statements” – For Tactical Use In Digital Marketing
Often, Unique Value Propositions consist of a lengthy and comprehensive sentence or two, which is GOOD for a homepage splash, persona page or landing page.
However, sometimes this ISN’T GOOD when running a campaign on Google AdWords, Facebook PPC or any other platform that has character length limitations. Why? Because the UVP simply won’t fit.
Unique Value Statements (“UVS”) overcome character limitations by distilling a full-grown Unique Value Proposition into a set of shorter, punchier, and more functional tactical statements that can be used in different formats of digital marketing collateral. Shorter, punchier, and more functional is the most important factor here – these statements must be deployed directly into digital marketing campaigns and collateral without being too wordy or cumbersome.
Unique Value Statements help digital marketers sell their product or service more effectively by condensing the core message of a Unique Value Proposition into bite-sized, useable chunks.
Here’s an example of Unique Value Statements derived from the one of the Unique Value Propositions above:
- Learn how to win more freelance jobs and grow your business as a global freelancer.
- Discover how to win more freelance work on websites like Freelancer.com, UpWork, Guru.
- Start improving your freelancer job-winning skills for only $1.
- Learn how to win more freelance jobs for only $1.
- Win more freelance jobs, get better ratings, and grow your business as a global freelancer.
- Win more freelance work on websites like Freelancer.com.
- Introducing a tactical training resource that’ll show you how to win more work on Freelancer.com.
- Start improving your freelance job-winning skills for only $1.
Hopefully you’re now starting to form an idea on how these can be used:
- Your homepage, where your full UVP might not fit (example: headings for block paragraphs)
- Landing pages (use value statements specific to the targeted audience or search intent)
- Persona pages (use value statements specific to the persona)
- Social media posts
- AdWords ads
- Facebook PPC ads
- Email marketing
- Local citations
- Direct mail
- Other ATL advertising
- And any other medium requiring short, punchy claims of value, where your full UVP might not fit.
Consider your UVP as your “master” value statement, and your Unique Value Statements as smaller, focussed, and more practical derivatives.
Using Different Emotional Drivers For Testing
I’m also an advocate for never-ending testing of campaign components, landing pages, and other collateral with the aim of improving ROI and ROAS. To achieve this, I also like to create versions of Unique Value Statements that play on different emotional drivers.
In “Mail Order Strategy” (Hoke Communications, 1956), Victor Schwab compiled the following 40 key emotional drivers.
People want to gain:
Praise from others
Pride of accomplishment
Security in old age
They want to save:
They want to be:
“First” in things
Proud of their possessions
Influential over others
They want to do:
Express their personalities
Satisfy their curiosity
Win others’ affection
Resist domination by others
Emulate the admirable
Acquire or collect things
Improve themselves generally
For example, here are two Unique Value Statements, using different emotional drivers:
- Learn how to win more jobs on freelancer websites. (Main driver: Money).
- Learn how to gain more respect as a skilled and experienced freelancer. (Main driver: Recognized authority)
By having a set of different Unique Value Statements that play on different emotional drivers, it’s fast and easy to setup A/B or multivariate tests. When I launch a new campaign, I like to begin with a dozen or so statements, with a few different emotional trigger hypotheses to test in ad creative and landing pages.
Part Two (Process): How to create your “Unique Value Proposition” and “Unique Value Statements”
Here’s the high-level process I follow when crafting (a) a Unique Value Proposition, and (b) Unique Value Statements. I’ve done my best to explain the process as succinctly as possible, without writing a thesis… please remember this is an in-depth process that requires intense consultation, analysis, and reiteration to produce a strong final result.
STEP ONE: “Your Desired Customers”
To begin with, you need to get a CLEAR understanding of the hot buttons and psychological drivers of your prospects.
Write down as many responses as you can to the following questions:
- What BURNING problem(s) do your prospects have that they don’t want?
- What ADVANTAGEOUS outcome(s) do they want, but currently don’t have?
- What do you think they need to see in a solution, that will make them consider engaging it?
- Are there any persona types that have varying differences on the above problems, outcomes, or solutions?
- What common, pre-conceived objections or risk-aggravators might these customers or personas have?
- What are common demographic statistics and psychographic drivers of these prospects and persona types?
STEP TWO: “The Value You Provide”
Next, answer the following questions:
Your Value Offering
- What VALUE do you offer your customers, for free?
- What VALUE do you offer your customers, in exchange for their money?
- What VALUE do you offer uniquely, that you competitors do not?
- What skills (AKA your features) do you have, and what result can they produce for your customers (AKA your benefits)?
- What experience do you have, in a quantifiable format? For example, years in business, number of cases completed, etc.
Your Proof Elements
- What testimonials, reviews or other forms of social proof do you have?
STEP THREE: “Your Competition”
Analysing your competition is important – not so much for creating your UVP and UVS, but for analysing your offering at a higher level.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What VALUE do your competitors offer your customers, for free?
- What VALUE do your competitors offer your customers, in exchange for their money?
- What VALUE do your competitors offer uniquely, that you do not?
STEP FOUR: Compiling This Into A Succinct Written Unique Value Proposition
This is the most difficult part of the process 🙂 and requires skills in the areas of business analysis, consumer psychology, and copywriting.
Firstly, use the above information you’ve compiled to produce a list of key UNIQUE benefits that you offer your customers.
If you can’t pull out any unique benefits, you mayyy have a bit of an identity crisis on your hands. Go back to the drawing board and see how you can re-position your offering so you CAN offer some form of unique value.
Secondly, using this information, create sentences that articulate how WHAT YOU DO UNIQUELY to provide THE BIGGEST OUTCOME(S) YOUR CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT, whilst simultaneously baking in proof, unique data points, a guarantee, an offer that drips in value, and good old copywriting salesmanship and sizzle.
Like I said earlier, this process is easier said than done and takes time, practice and probably multiple iterations to get a final, working result.
When you’re writing your value statements, follow these tips:
– Use ultimate and proximate benefits, NOT features.
– Use real facts and figures, NOT hype-driven exaggerations.
– Talk in the terms of your customer: provide the burning outcome they’re looking for, interwoven with an offer they can’t refuse.
STEP FIVE: Break these into Unique Value Statements
Lastly, break down the UVP into smaller Unique Value Statements, via the format I described above.
Factor in different emotional drivers, so you’ve got a set of pre-written sentences ready for use.
I’ve found that Unique Value Statements are never really static – some or all of them are always slightly changing via the feedback loops coming from tests in AdWords, Facebook PPC, landing pages, etc.
STEP SIX: Get blistering ROI
Go get a pint.
I hope the above provides value to you.