The most essential question a small business has to answer is what you offer and why a customer should buy from you. Articulating this requires a unique value proposition, a strong core message, relevant key visuals, and an enticing call to action.
Unique Value Proposition
Communicating to customers begins with your unique value proposition, or UVP, which ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership define as “A clear statement, in line with your market’s challenges and desires, communicating the unique contribution your company, product and services provide to your market that is different than your competitors.”
Every time a potential customer comes across your business, the first thing they will want to know is what your company does and why they should buy from you. After all, they might already be buying that product or service from somebody else and be happy with it, and there are almost always countless competitors selling the same exact thing.
Creating Your UVP
1. Study Why Current Customers Buy from You
Examine what customers value from your business. The key factors that customers value often come down to a list of 7 things: quality, convenience, price, trust, image, time, and safety. Take a look at your product or service and consider how these forms of value might fit your company.
2. Detail and Rank Your Claims of Value in Comparison to Your Competitors
List out the values of your product or service and rank them based on appeal and exclusivity. You then put those values in a grid with key competitors and rate where your claim of value stands in relation to theirs.
3. Determine How to Word the Claim (UVP) More Clearly
Focus on how to best represent these claims. Consider if you can increase the exclusivity of the value statement and if there is a better way you could appeal to the perceived need. You will need to create many different variations of these and test them, potentially floating them by current or past customers, then field testing your claim on social media and your website to gauge feedback.
4. Make the Claim More Credible
Once you have a unique value proposition, you need to add credibility to it. Some ways to do this are asking current and past customers for reviews and testimonials that resonate with your claims, writing an article or a case study, creating a list of flagship accounts, and creating a list of references.
To make creating your UVP easier, we have compiled several formulas created by top marketing experts to give you a jumping off point.
- Steve Blank’s XYZ
- We help [X] to [Y] by [Z].
- Example: “We help parents spend more quality time with their kids by providing parent-friendly play areas.”
- Dave McClure’s 3-Step Checklist
- Focus on short, simple, and memorable
- Include the what, how, and why
- KISS (no expert jargon)
- Example: “Mint.com is the free, easy way to manage your money online.”
- Geoff Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”
- For [target customer] who [statement of the need or opportunity], our [product/service name] is [product category] that [statement of benefit].
- Example: “For non-technical marketers who struggle to find return on investment in social media, our product is a web-based analytics software that translates engagement metrics into actionable revenue metrics.”
At Cultivate, we combined these formulas to create our UVP: We support small businesses and startups with over 20 technologies to win new customers, manage finances, and combine the best of working from home, the office, and meeting spaces with a paid or sponsored membership.
While a unique value proposition is important to articulate what you offer and why buy from you, at least as important are the key visuals that you use to tell your story. A great image allows you to build trust and engagement with your customers. When looking for the perfect visuals, there are 3 different categories that you can pull from.
1. Custom Images or Video
You hire a photographer or videographer to come out and capture custom imagery for you. The most efficient way to do this is to plan out your images beforehand to get as much done as you can.
2. Stock Photos
You purchase the right to use an image from a large library on your website or in marketing as many times as you want. These images are usually fairly generic but get the job done.
3. Creative Commons 0
A type of copyright assigned by a creator where the photographer or videographer has put the image or video into the public domain. This makes the visual available for commercial use without pay. We have a list of sites that you can access with amazing CC0 images here.
Call to Action
The piece that ties all of the others together is a call to action, or the invitation for the prospective customer to follow through and become a lead. This will most often be a button or a link, and it will bring up some kind of form that the potential customer will fill out.
One key thing to note is that you need to balance the length of that form with the quality of the lead you are getting. The longer you make the form, the more information you will collect, but the fewer people will complete it. Because of this, it is important to only ask what is essential to continue engagement.
You can find some examples of a call to action on our home page.
Communicating to your customers what you offer and why they should buy from you is the first and most important step you will take towards winning a customer. Focusing in on your unique value proposition, key visuals, and call to action will answer these questions and allow you to get started on your trust building process.