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Your Unique Value Proposition is the single most important piece of content on your website. Trouble is, the mere thought of having to create one makes most business owners cringe. It doesn’t have to be that hard guys, but yes, you do need one.
I recently read an article that made the case that figuring out what makes you unique and stand out from your competition is bad for business―”Don’t spend any more time worrying about what makes you different, just get going with it!” — and the crowd went wild!
Readers loved the message because they were given permission to let go of all the traditional marketing advice telling them they NEED! To define what makes them UNIQUE! OR ELSE! And I know why: because for most people, this is really hard. Unfortunately, I don’t tell people to skip over something that’s important just because it’s hard.
The takeaway message really wasn’t “don’t stand out” though. It was actually, “don’t let it hold you back or keep you stuck if you can’t figure out what makes you a special flower, just get to work.” I agree.
But here’s a secret: it really isn’t that hard. You just need to know how to answer the question.
It doesn’t have to be set in stone either. You can fine-tune your unique value proposition (UVP) as you come to understand yourself and your business better. Your positioning may change over time, and you might even test different approaches to see what works best.
You don’t need to be a unicorn
“What makes you unique and valuable” requires some research and soul-searching, that’s true. But you don’t need to figure out what makes you a zebra-striped unicorn that smells like marshmallows — something that’s never existed before in all of history.
You just have to be different in the mind of the customer, and they’re not comparing you to every other option in the world — more likely, just 3 or 4. If you were to line up your top 3 competitors, how is the experience working with you different? “I’m the one that______.”
Start by focusing on your strengths
If you don’t know what your strengths are, ask your customers. I recommend sending out a customer feedback survey and looking through testimonials, reviews and email correspondence (lots of feedback gold happens when projects are just wrapping up) and looking for patterns. How do customers feel about you? What do they say over and over again?
If you don’t have customers yet, ask past co-workers, colleagues and friends what they think your strengths are.
Ask yourself this one powerful question:
“Would I hire myself?” Heck yeah, you would. And why? Write that down. Why would you hire yourself instead of your main competitor, what do you bring to the table that makes it better, different? Why would you trust yourself with your own business?
Why you must figure out your value proposition
Your customers will consider several other options before making a decision, and they have an insane number of choices that all look very, very similar. The businesses that DON’T look similar will get their attention. You simply must articulate why you’re different and you can’t do it in a meandering way, you have to be quick, clear, and right to the point. This gives your dream customers the reason to read on.
On the web, you have mere seconds to articulate who you are, how you can make your prospective customers’ lives easier, and how you’re the one to do it better than the other options they’re considering. Bottom line, articulating your unique value proposition will help increase your chance of converting site visitors into customers.
How to Create Your Unique Value Proposition
In the simplest terms, your UVP tells your site visitors: “Cool! This is for me and it’s exactly what I need.”
ConversionXL has a fantastic guide for how to create a great UVP I’ll direct you there. CopyHackers’ gives you an even easier route: Value Propositions and USPs: “My Product Is the One That…”
With my clients, I recommend starting with a formula. No need to recreate the wheel, following formulas that work is a great way to get out of your head and get something on paper.
WRITE AN ATTENTION-GRABBING HEADLINE
You’ll mention the end-benefit, your customer and/or service. There are hundreds of proven headline formulas online if copywriting isn’t your thing. Or, just start with one of these:
The [adjective] way to [do something] for [benefit/outcome]
We help X do Y by Z.
[Dream customer] [statement of problem], [statement of your solution/outcome]
WRITE A 2-3 SENTENCE PARAGRAPH
Describe what you do, for whom, how it benefits them, and why it’s an experience that’s different from your competition.
CREATE A FEW BULLET POINTS (OPTIONAL)
List the key benefits or features of your service.
Just get started. Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to articulate your unique value as best you can for today and let it evolve.
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.