Does your audience actually know what you do? A copywriter’s case for clear value propositions.

Meredith Papps March 31, 2023 Brand
Graphic with a file folder full of documents that gets translated into a clear value proposition

Your value proposition is your ultimate elevator pitch. It should be the clearest, most concise description of what you do and why it matters.

In SaaS, your value proposition is the difference between taking off and going under. There are just so many options out there. If you can’t immediately explain the problem your product solves, people will move on to the next website. The next demo. The next pitch.

As a copywriter, the value proposition is my guiding light. The statement itself isn’t copy, but it forms the foundation for all brand communication — from the big, bold homepage headline to the little About section on your LinkedIn profile.

Anatomy of a value proposition

A comprehensive value proposition statement is made up of 5 parts:

  • Your product/service/solution
  • Your target audience
  • What your target audience wants to do
  • How you help them do it and the pain you relieve along the way
  • Why your offer is better than your competitors’

Anatomy of a value proposition

Here’s a potential value proposition statement for Slack:

Our instant messaging app helps businesses, who want to be more productive and feel connected to their teams, find and share the information they need without switching between tools, unlike other business communication products

Quite a mouthful, right? That’s okay, because your full value proposition statement isn’t copy. It guides the copy. Here’s how this value proposition translates into homepage copy:

Headline: Unlock your productivity potential
Subhead: Connect the right people, find anything you need and automate the rest. That’s work in Slack, your productivity platform.

Screenshot of Slack's homepage

This copy clearly communicates Slack’s focus on human connection, business productivity, and ease of use. It explains the value with precision and personality.

5 tips for clear value propositions

Make the customer the hero

Whether you’re crafting an initial value proposition statement or writing homepage headlines, it’s tempting to lead with all the wonderful things you can do. But a truly compelling value proposition keeps the focus on the customer. It should feel like you made your software just for them (because you did, right?).

Your product only sells if you get your target audience right. You have to know them inside and out. What are their jobs, pains, and gains? What do they want or need? Don’t guess. Talk to your target audience and get the intel directly from them.

Stay out of the weeds

Technical jargon is an epidemic among SaaS companies. There is no place for technical features in your value proposition. Your value is most clear when you keep your offering description at a high level. Are you a product, a platform, or a service? For which industry? Think of the Slack example: “business communication platform”, not “PHP application”. Make it easy for people to picture your ideal product use case.

Get to the (pain) point

What customer problem do you solve? Be specific. Agitating on a problem or pain point is critical to persuading someone to buy. If they don’t see a problem, why would they buy a solution? A clear value proposition confidently pinpoints the customer’s biggest problem and presents a real solution.

Just hook the fish

A clear value proposition can hook the fish but it doesn’t always reel it in. You will have endless opportunities to get into product details and features on your website, pitch decks, sales one-pagers, blog content, etc. Don’t try to tell the whole story in the first 10 seconds.

Find what makes you different

You can get everything right — your audience, their needs, and your benefits — but if you still sound like your competitors, your value proposition may still fall flat. A clear value proposition goes beyond what you do and explains why it’s better than everything else out there.

Pinpointing your differentiators can be challenging (Hint: it’s usually not the number of years in business or that you are an innovative company). But it’s critical for conversion. Your customers want to know that they are choosing the very best product for their needs. Make it easy for them to see what you can offer that your competitors can’t.

Your value proposition can’t wait. It really can’t.

The longer you wait to clarify your value prop, the greater the risk to your business. This single statement aligns sales and marketing on the big-picture story and is critical for persuading customers to buy.

Tiller works with brands at all stages of value proposition development. Over time, we’ve noticed many of our clients fall into one of two scenarios:

1. No clear value proposition

There can be many reasons for this. Sometimes the company has pivoted or new products have been added to the product suite. Often, they’re making decisions by committee and can’t seem to get internal alignment. Or, maybe what they think is the value proposition isn’t actually the value that will hook customers.

2. Struggling to translate the value proposition

Crafting the right value proposition is just the beginning. Then you have to turn it into customer-friendly copy. Your website, sales enablement content, and marketing materials all have to support the value proposition. It’s a big job, and many SaaS companies lack the time or resources to get this right.

We can help you create a clear and compelling value proposition. And we can help you translate it across all brand communications.

If you aren’t sure if your value proposition is clear, let us know. We can review what you have and give you a fresh, outside perspective. Because the question isn’t whether you need a value proposition. The question is: how clear is it?

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