What Is a Value Proposition?
A value proposition (or value prop) is a clear, compelling statement that explains how your product or service benefits potential customers or a specific market segment.
It answers the customer question:
“What value can I get from your product or service that I can’t get from your competitors?”
Your value proposition addresses how your product or service…
- Benefits your customers
- Solves customer problems
- Has an advantage over your competitors
An effective value proposition statement explains how you help customers overcome their challenges. And the statement should reflect your brand’s tone of voice (ToV). All while being short, sweet, and to the point.
Here’s Mailchimp’s value proposition from its homepage:
The statement explains the product’s value (“Turn Emails into Revenue”).
It also provides a unique differentiator to stand apart from the competition (“#1 email marketing and automations brand”) and lists outcomes (“more opens, clicks, and sales”).
Then the value proposition tells customers where to go next with a call to action (“Start Free Trial”).
Using as few words as possible.
Value Propositions, Slogans, and Taglines: What’s the Difference?
A value proposition communicates the unique value and benefits of your product.
Slogans are shorter, attention-grabbing phrases designed to generate brand recognition. You may see these in advertising campaigns, changing over time.
A tagline aims to encapsulate the essence or core message of a brand or product in a concise and memorable way. Taglines often don’t change over time.
All three components contribute to a brand’s image and promote benefits or value to the customer.
Here’s a great example from Dunkin’ Donuts:
- The company’s value proposition is “serving high-quality food and beverages in a fast, friendly environment at a great value”
- The brand’s slogan plays on its national popularity: “America Runs on Dunkin’”
- It uses the tagline “Dunkin’ Done Easy” for its delivery app—i.e., one part of its wider offering
Together, these assets paint a brand image of accessibility, convenience, and value.
What Is the Purpose of a Value Proposition?
The main purpose of having a good value proposition is to maintain a company’s competitive advantage.
A well-defined value proposition distinguishes you from competitors by highlighting your unique selling points (USPs). That difference can be the reason someone buys from you instead of looking elsewhere.
Value propositions quickly communicate the benefits that busy buyers should expect from your brand. This is extremely valuable for customers, investors, and brands in a content-rich world.
Value propositions also provide clarity and focus for internal teams. They help you stay aligned with your core purpose and market position when developing new products, running campaigns, and redesigning your website.
Finally, living up to the promise of your value proposition promotes trust in buyers, helping you keep customers around longer.
4 Value Proposition Examples
Even though the “ingredients” of a value proposition may feel formulaic (more on that later), they can be used in many ways.
For example, copywriters often turn value propositions into engaging homepage copy. And that copy typically includes a combination of these elements:
- A short sentence or heading
- A follow-up line or paragraph
- Bullet points
- An image or illustration
- A call-to-action (CTA)
Here are four unique value proposition statements to show this in action.
Product: Messaging app
Value proposition: “Made for people. Built for productivity. Connect the right people, find anything that you need and automate the rest. That’s work in Slack, your productivity platform.”
What we love: Every part of Slack’s proposition statement implies convenience, from the snappy two-part headline to the easy sign-up options and free trial offer. It subtly promises that “work in Slack” is a new experience for users (i.e., the differentiator).
Product: Automation software
Value proposition: “Automate your possibilities. Easily connect the apps you use for work—saving you time, no code required.”
What we love: The orange text in Zapier’s dynamic proposition statement changes to reflect its versatility. “Possibilities” becomes “sales outreach,” “to-do list,” “contracts,” “lead flow,” and more. It promises time savings and accessibility, both of which will appeal to a wide audience.
Atlas Coffee Club
Product: Coffee subscription service
Value proposition: “Try coffee from around the world. Coffee of the month club delivering exotic coffee to your door.”
What we love: The value prop’s directness leaves nothing to the imagination—busy readers know what they’ll get after reading just six words. And the imagery around Atlas Coffee Club’s statement appeals directly to its adventurous target audience.
Product: Media bookmarking app
Value proposition: “Get right to the good stuff. Your own private corner of the web to spend quality time with great articles.”
What we love: Like its product, Pocket’s value proposition speaks to the pain points of a large audience—web users short on time. It promises a personalized experience to make readers feel that they’re using their time wisely. The simple visuals and sentiment match the simplicity of the product, too.
6 Steps to Writing a Great Value Proposition Statement
Here, we’ll show you how to write the best value proposition statement for your business in six simple steps.
And stick around for the bonus.
1. Revisit Your Company’s Mission
Consider how your company’s internal vision or mission statement translates to a public-facing promise. This will help you write a value proposition that’s consistent with your business values and that resonates with your customers.
For example, if part of your mission is to positively impact your community, how can you communicate that to potential customers?
Garmin’s mission is to “be an enduring company by creating superior products for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor, and sports that are an essential part of our customers’ lives.”
Its public-facing mission statement communicates this, and more, in a way that’s likely to engage new customers:
2. Research Your Target Audience
Appeal to your target audience’s desires by learning what existing customers value most about your company, service, and products.
You’ll attract similar people with your value proposition.
Gain valuable insights through the following channels:
- Direct customer feedback: Invite feedback on customer experiences through online reviews, focus groups, and sales and customer support conversations
- Social media: Track social media conversations related to your brand, products, and competitors. Join industry groups and communities for an inside view.
- Marketing analytics: Analyze website traffic and behaviors, social media engagement, and email marketing campaigns to learn about your target audience’s interests
If you’re selling or marketing business software, check out the user review platform G2. It organizes reviews into “What do you like best about [x]?” and “What do you dislike about [x]?” Which makes it easy for providers to spot positive and negative patterns in customer sentiment.
Reviews, like Chris C’s below, consistently tell us that customers value Semrush’s comprehensive toolset.
We emphasize that quality in our value proposition, meaning we can attract more customers like Chris who want to plan and manage online marketing campaigns in one place.
Like in this marketing copy:
Ecommerce and other consumer brands can do similar research on platforms like TrustPilot, Yelp, Amazon, and Google.
Pro Tip: Use a tool like One2Target to see the demographics of a particular company or market.
3. Analyze Your Competitors
Learn what makes your business different by understanding similar offers in the market from your competitors.
There are three broad steps in the competitor analysis process:
- Identifying similar businesses
- Researching their offer
- Performing a SWOT analysis
Identify Similar Businesses
Find your competitors by:
- Asking your sales team which companies show up often in their processes
- Asking customers which other providers they considered or have bought from before
- Tracking your target audience’s recommendation requests on social media channels and online communities, like Twitter and Quora
- Searching for terms related to your business on Google
- Using competitor analysis tools like Market Explorer
Market Explorer can help you find any competitors in your industry with a website.
To do so, select “Find Competitors” and enter your domain or a known competitor’s domain.
In this example, we’ll pretend we’re a new travel company and will use a well-known brand: Expedia.
Click “Research a market” to see a summary of your closest competitors, with data on market shares, consolidation, domains, traffic, and market size.
The “Growth Quadrant” widget gives you a visual representation of where these competitors stand in terms of how niche they are, whether they’re game changers, market leaders or established in the industry:
Make a note of where each competitor stands and whether you’re interested in their audience.
This will give you a list of similar businesses to investigate further.
One way to get information on customer sentiment is by searching online for “best [product types] in [current year].” This type of search will typically bring up lists compiled by bloggers and industry media outlets.
For example, a transcription software provider could search “best transcription tools in 2023” and get a ready-made list of competitors from PCMag:
Review compilations like this are valuable for indicating how customers rate your competitors and where they’re lacking. Providing additional information for your competitor research.
For a comprehensive competitor analysis, use a range of methods to build a list of companies likely to share your target audience.
Research Your Rivals’ Products, Price, Place, and Promotion
Work through your competitor list. Visit the companies’ websites, read online reviews, and analyze social media activity to learn about their products, pricing, and customer perceptions.
The brands’ top-of-funnel (ToFu) marketing efforts (content built primarily for brand visibility) should tell you what they consider to be their USPs. Look for value proposition statements, homepage content, social media posts, and online ads.
For example, the Otter homepage emphasizes transcription speed:
Whereas its competitor, Scribie, leads with the “human” element of its service:
As you do more research on your various competitors, you’ll gain a clearer picture of your market. And most importantly: your company’s place in it.
Record what you learn in competitor profiles and review them when writing your brand’s proposition. These will also help to guide future marketing strategies.
Keep as much information as you find helpful. But ensure data fields are consistent across your profiles so you can compare competitors easily.
You can use our Competitor Analysis Template to hit the ground running.
Learn basic information about your competitors in the “Company Info” section of the Traffic Analytics “Overview” report in Semrush.
Perform a SWOT analysis
Turn your observations into actionable insights by performing a SWOT analysis for your brand and your competitors.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And there are various questions to ask yourself when filling each section:
Comparing answers for your brand and competitors will help you understand where each one excels.
Use the results to inspire an authentic, original value proposition statement that highlights your strengths and speaks to your target customers’ needs.
4. Define Your Brand’s Tone of Voice (ToV)
Your brand’s value proposition should reflect your tone of voice (ToV). Otherwise, it’ll give potential customers a misleading first impression and leave them open to disappointment later.
Before brainstorming ideas, consider your ToV and what you’d like it to be going forward.
For example, Asana uses a conversational ToV. It shows in this bold value proposition, which uses a hypothetical question to highlight the product’s impact:
That tone matches the content elsewhere on Asana’s website. From its chatbot prompt to its feature descriptions.
A consistent tone of voice like this builds trust with your audience, helping potential customers get to know—and buy into—your brand.
You can use Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant to measure your content’s tone on a scale of casualness, neutrality, and formality.
Write or paste your content into your chosen app or the tool’s box.
Then click “Tone of Voice” to check your copy’s tone of voice score and consistency percentage based on your targets.
Tip: Install the Semrush Writing Assistant plugin to Google Docs, WordPress, or Microsoft Word.
5. Compile Your Research
Write a no-frills list of your key findings so far, including:
- Company vision or mission statement
- Target audience needs, pain points, desires, and brand perceptions
- Basic competitor profiles and SWOT analysis results
- ToV assessment
Or you could use a template, like Strategyzer’s Value Proposition Canvas.
A strategic tool businesses can use to understand the value they offer to customers.
The value prop template has two sections:
- Value Map: Defining products/services, features and benefits (gain creators), and how they address customer needs (pain relievers)
- Customer Profile: Identifying customer segments, needs (pains), desires (gains), and challenges (jobs)
The aim is to align customer desires with what you offer. This helps you develop products and plan marketing strategies (including your value proposition statement) effectively.
Once complete, use your Value Proposition Canvas to align team members and stakeholders before you start brainstorming.
6. Brainstorm with a Value Proposition Template
Use these value proposition templates to get your creativity flowing—you may also add headlines, bullet points, and visual elements to suit your needs.
Value Proposition Template #1
“[Business name] offers [product/service] that [unique benefit] for [target customers], helping them [solve a specific problem/achieve a desired outcome].”
Example: Typeset Copywriting offers bespoke content marketing packages that optimize online visibility and drive engagement for small businesses, helping them grow their online presence and increase sales.
Value Proposition Template #2
“[Product/service] empowers [target customers] to [transformative outcome] by providing [unique features/value].”
Example: The QuickFit smartphone app empowers busy professionals to achieve their fitness goals with personalized workout plans, real-time tracking, and expert guidance.
Value Proposition Template #3
“[Business name] provides [product/service] made with [key differentiator], enabling [target customers] to [desired impact/outcome].”
Example: Street Eats Catering provides delicious and healthy meals made with locally sourced ingredients, enabling event organizers to provide unforgettable dining experiences.
Bonus Step: Let Your Value PropGuide Your Marketing Strategy
Remember our Asana example? It was all about collaboration and efficiency, reading:
“The best platform for cross-functional work. Want to drive efficiency across your organization? Asana is flexible and easy for all teams to use, so you can deliver quality work together, faster.”
Now check out the brand’s blog, The Workback. There’s a whole section on collaboration, and plenty of stories about improving efficiency.
There’s also marketing content on flexibility, innovation, and general business matters, all aligned with their value prop. Which allows consumers to explore and buy into the Asana brand.
Emphasize Your Value With a Clear Value Proposition
A strong value proposition statement distinguishes you from the competition. Help customers quickly understand why they should buy from you over the next brand.
Competitor analysis is one of the first steps to learning what sets your company apart. Search for similar companies and learn where you stand with Semrush’s Market Explorer tool.