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Buzzstream Value Proposition“No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others… or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.” Despite being said in the mid 20s, these words, spoken by Calvin Coolidge, are so essential to business that they’re still spoken today.  

What Coolidge’s poetic statement implies is that the entire reason businesses exist is to make a profit, and more importantly, that is the sole reason that they exist.  

Moreover, Coolidge suggests that in order for any business to maintain their role in any marketplace, they have to provide value. And those that have fallen out of favor have done so because they have lost sight of how to provide that value.  

The reason for this brief glance through history is not to give another lecture on Business 101, but to remind online marketers that the key to online success still comes from core business principles and not aggressive SEO techniques.  

Instead it comes from core business principles, specifically the one surrounding a gripping value proposition. And the smaller your company is, the more significant this principle becomes.

Why a value proposition?

In an increasingly competitive market, the online industry is becoming saturated with literally millions of search results.

So if one company doesn’t have what the consumer is looking for, that consumer will quickly go elsewhere. It’s a mentality that we all as consumers have developed in a world with so many options.   

This fact weighs heavily on the actions of your online marketing campaign. When customer’s come across their first result in a search engine, they’ll let the page load, and disappear back to the SERPs in a few seconds.  

The most common reason is that the copy in its because you haven’t provided those consumers with the proper information to make the decision on whether the site is right for them. That’s exactly why you need a compelling value proposition. Otherwise, your bounce rate will suffer. 

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. Its goal is to motivate and engage the most apathetic type of person; your customer. It’s the entire reason a prospective customer would even consider buying from you.   

The core ingredients in any successful value proposition are as follows:

  • Offering: What Products and Services are being offered? 
  • Benefits: What benefits does the consumer derive from your services and products?  Specifically, our proposition should aim to solve customer problems, or state how it will improve their situation. This will provide a quantified value in the eyes of the consumer, as well as deem your product/services relevant to them.
  • Proof: What proof is there to validate your claims in your value proposition? This segment is essential to providing differentiation from other companies, especially in a competitive market.

Be careful, value propositions are easily misconstrued

Unfortunately, value propositions are often mistaken for glamorous advertising or are way too embellished to serve their purpose.  

If you want to earn your customer’s time then you have to speak in their language, where as you will alienate them by trying to overdo the statement.   

What they are not: 

Embellished statements

 Struck Value Proposition

Struck, a digital advertising agency, may be pros at creative thinking, but they may have skipped Business 101 in college.   

Who knows what that company is trying to sell, the most I can tell is that it sells “creative marketing.”  And they make brands greater than what?  As a consumer, I wouldn’t think of Struck as the go-to business to market my company, since I’m not even sure of what it does.  

This means I would be immediately going back to Google for better search results.  Not to mention, even if I did just happen across Struck, I would never convert. I have no idea how the services could actually benefit me.

The purpose of this?  To illustrate that it’s important to be blunt, and speak in terms that everyone understands. Don’t risk confusing the consumer. Otherwise you can consider their business gone. 

Glamorous Advertising:

“Virgin Atlantic, More Experience than our Name Suggests” 

This isn’t a value proposition. It’s an advertising slogan. While copy like this does serve a point, it doesn’t belong at the forefront of your website, unless your brand needs no introduction. 

Welcoming statements:

SITECH Allegheny Welcome is a BAD Value Proposition

There’s no need to “welcome” customers and site visitors. While the goal may be to encourage them to feel more welcome, that prime real estate can be used more effectively.  

Visitors need to know what SITECH Allegheny will do for them. Instead, SITECH Allegheny would be better served utilizing this space by relaying to visitors that the company distributes construction technology and the benefit of those services through a short, concise value proposition.  

Four things you need in the perfect value proposition

A perfect value proposition is simple and easy to understand. It’s amazing what one sentence can mean for your business’s success.  

Here are four things you must have in order to be successful.

  1. Be concise, and clear. The consumer must be able to understand you within five seconds.
  2. All of the factors included in a value proposition are included. It explains the offering and the benefits.  
  3. It differentiates your brand from competitors.
  4. Avoids extra jargon that doesn’t provide extra value for the consumer. You may think being the “best” is worthwhile to say, but there has to be proof for it, otherwise the statement instills suspicion instead of trust. 

Finally. Now you know all about what it takes to create a compelling value proposition that will keep AND convert your visitors.  

By following these guidelines you can be sure to be a successful ecommerce business, and to remind your SEO company to consider these factors a much higher priority than what keywords they can fit in a page. It’s amazing what a single sentence can do for your business.

Examples of a good value proposition

Practice makes perfect. So I've added some images of sites with what I deem a relatively good value proposition.  

I encourage  you to evaluate them and tell us why you think they're good value propositions! Leave your feedback in the comments!

 Gershoni Value Proposition

 Evernote Value Proposition

 Buzzstream Value Proposition 

Shane Jones

Published 8 May, 2013 by Shane Jones

Shane Jones is Senior Outreach Analyst at WebpageFX and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow Shane on Twitter and Google Plus

10 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Ray Welsh

I believe the value proposition should also include the problem that needs to be addressed - the pain the target audience is experiencing that your solution can take away. This can be within the offering or proof component, explicit or implied.

Many young companies are effective with their value propositions as they don't have the baggage of older style marketing to dilute their messages. They are direct and to the point - they make it easy to see the value they provide. Evernote is a good example of this, I also like www.zuora.com and www.netsuite.co.uk

over 3 years ago



I've read a lot about how to create good value propositions and am still amazed so many people get them wrong - it proves again that it is not an easy task. This post is another good example of dos and don'ts in making compelling value propositions.

That said, I think Virgin Atlantic's statement probably serves its purpose better, as I suspect well-known companies have the luxury to create something around its brand and characters instead of center around value propositions. Is there any research on this?

over 3 years ago

Shane Jones

Shane Jones, Director of Earned Media at WebpageFX

Thanks all for the input! Agreed, its shocking that people want to so involved in business, and ignore one of the most basic concepts for success! I'm glad you guys have all enjoyed th post!

@Ray, I think Evernote definitely has the BEST VP of the examples I provided. I think a lot of the tech start-ups have learned from their own past experiences with different companies, clarity is essential. Zuora has a great VP, but I think they could do with mentioning that they sell "tools" to accomplish those goals. Ie: Commerce, Billing & Finance TOOLS to Power your Subscription Business.

@Pete I agree Gershoni isn't the best. Especially since they utilize a slider which takes visitors away from their VP in about 5 seconds. It's a conversion sin! But I wanted to show a creative agency starting to do things right. They at least got started with a value proposition, instead of another "gate page"

@AZ Definitely. Virgin Atlantic is completely capable of pulling this off! They're well known, and people know why they're on that site when they come across it. They can focus on advertising a little more. But often people see big brands take these steps, and think that is the expectation for their own brand. They need to realize that they should stick with the VP and not a slogan if they want to succeed. I'm not sure of any definite research, but I am positive it's fact! :)

Thanks all!

over 3 years ago

Andrew Stuart

Andrew Stuart, Marketing Officer at International Football School

I did initial arrive here for an in sight in bounce rate but ended up having a great read on Value Proposition. Its all too easy with day to day marketing to forget about the basics - selling and fixing the customers problem ( @ Ray Walsh - drawing out the "pain" which is reminiscent of selling in the health and fitness industry.

over 3 years ago

Dominic Byrne

Dominic Byrne, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at DigiToro

Cheers Shane, I enjoyed that read.

over 3 years ago

Sarah Alder

Sarah Alder, Managing Director at Cranmore Digital Consulting Ltd

I enjoyed your post and suggested that a colleague, Cindy Barnes at FutureCurve, take a look, as she spends a lot of time advising companies on value propositions and I thought she would be interested in this specific use. Her comment was "I enjoyed the examples and you've given some great ones, but these are sales propositions and not value propositions. Value propositions are not statements, they're an organisational wide approach to delivering value. The sales propositions are then created from the value proposition."

But decide for yourself, read the free whitepaper from FutureCurve http://futurecurve.com/resources/white-papers/value-proposition-white-paper/

over 3 years ago

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