Want Higher Conversions? Get Clear About Your Value Propositions
In last month’s article, I wrote at a high level about the heuristic introduced by Dr. Flint McLaughlin and the folks at MarketingExperiements.com that helps us B2B marketers systematically and purposefully improve the conversion rates of our landing pages and websites. For quick review here is the conversion “formula”: The conversion sequence: C = 4m […]
In last month’s article, I wrote at a high level about the heuristic introduced by Dr. Flint McLaughlin and the folks at MarketingExperiements.com that helps us B2B marketers systematically and purposefully improve the conversion rates of our landing pages and websites.
For quick review here is the conversion “formula”:
The conversion sequence: C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a
the motivation of the visitor
+ the clarity of the value proposition
=The probability of conversion
Since we have little control of the motivation of the visitor, I’m going to move along to something we have an enormous amount of control over: the clarity of the value proposition.
How clear is your value proposition?
It makes perfect sense that before we throw a bunch of time and money around trying to market our product or service that we would first make sure we have a clear and effective value proposition. In reality however, fundamental marketing components such as a value proposition get quickly and viciously trampled over by the latest cool tactic or technology. It’s not uncommon to try and ‘fix’ or polish a weak value proposition with some ‘killer creative’. In the process, muddy, poorly crafted messages and ineffective campaigns get hurled through cyberspace with less than stellar results. When this happens, rarely is the underlying problem of a weak value proposition addressed and corrected, let alone even identified. Rather new creative is applied, using different tactics, and alternative channels, again with lackluster results, and so the cycle repeats itself.
So let’s take a break from the crazy breakneck pace and chaos of our marketing programs and lead quotas and hit the pause button for just a minute or two.
How clear is your value proposition? Do you even have a value proposition?
Unapologetically lifting from the MarketingExperiments folks:
The clarity of the value proposition hinges on two critical things. Your ability to identify an effective value proposition and; your ability to express it.
Let’s break each of these down.
Identifying an effective value proposition
A value proposition is the primary reason why your ideal customer should buy from you. It should:
- Explain how your offering is different from your competition.
- Clearly state how and why you are the best choice for your ideal customer.
In evaluating your current or proposed value proposition you can draw from one or more the following principles:
- Your value proposition can usually be discovered from existing needs in the marketplace.
- Ask yourself, “why should my ideal customer buy from me instead of my competitor?”
- Compare your answers to the claims of your main competitors.
You should keep kneading and working your value proposition until it can be boiled down into a single, instantly credible, sentence.
Easy? Not a chance. People get paid big bucks to try and craft these sorts of things. Executive teams have literally gone insane trying to nail their value proposition down. But nothing worth doing is every easy. The good news is you don’t have to get the perfect value proposition out of the gate, you just have to be committed to an ongoing process of testing and refinement. This is the digital age where research and data points are cheap and easy to collect. The alternative is to lazily just keep spending more money blasting your message out there and then blaming a down economy or a shifting competitive landscape for a weak pipeline. This is one of those pivotal uber-powerful levers that few companies will dare to pull. But for those that do the rewards will be great and yield superior, lasting results.
Expressing an effective value proposition
Assuming this article has greatly inspired each of you to refine and perfect your value proposition, It must be expressed in such a way your customer or web visitor can understand it. This is a two part holistic effort. Firstly there must be congruence, meaning every element of your web page should work together to either state, or support the value proposition. Secondly, there must be continuity, meaning each step and part of the buying process states or supports the value proposition.
So where does this all fit into search engine marketing?
That’s a fair question with a clear answer. This has everything to do with search engine marketing. It is the essence and glue that makes or breaks campaigns. Your value propositions will be your compass for your keyword research, the copy of your search ads, the headlines of your landing pages, and help define the overall visitor experience.
Of course the beauty of all of this is it can all be put to the test and improved upon. This is definitely an ongoing process. This isn’t your daddy’s marketing department where work with our agency to come up with the killer tagline or slogan that we hitch our wagon to, for better or worse, for multiple months or even years. No, this is a new age where these value propositions can be held accountable for their ability to directly impact conversions, lead generation, and ultimately ROI.
For those of you that would like to delve into this deeper and even rate your value propositions, here is some further recommended reading.
Next month: Incentive and Friction.
Todd Miechiels is a business-to-business internet marketing consultant. His website is www.miechiels.com. The Strictly Business column appears Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.