How Much Value is in your Current eCommerce Proposition?
How long has it been since you took a long hard look at your web store content? Are the words you have chosen drawing high traffic volume to your site? Are you increasing your conversions and growing your revenue effectively? It might be time to test your value proposition –you know the part about the problem your product solves, its benefits and why it’s better than the competitors? That part. Not the tagline (There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard) or the slogan. (Got Milk?) Although those should be pretty attention grabbing too.
Can You Hear Me Now? Good.
Big brands that have been around for ages have the luxury of brand loyalty and brand identity. We just need to see the logo for Nike and we know to, “Just Do It!”. But if you are a smaller company or a start-up, well actually any company that wants to sell their stuff to more people –scrutinize your value proposition. It’s where most companies fall short. It’s the sentences (20 words or less) that sum up what you’re offering. It’s your promise that you are about to deliver real value to the customer. It is the number one reason why a buyer should place their trust in you and put their hard earned cash into your hand. The statement normally has three parts. In the fancy word department, they are: relevancy, quantified value and unique differentiation. For us a little lower on the “spin” cycle we say –this is how I’ll solve your problem or improve your life, these are all the great benefits you’ll get and this is why we’re better than all the other guys selling similar stuff.
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
Where do you place this miracle sentence summary? Right at the very beginning. It must be the first thing people see when they arrive at your web store and then make its presence felt through all of the other entry points into your site. These are not just cool words to fill up the WordPress white blocks - they actually end up improving your customer lifetime value. This is the part where you remember that actual human beings are on the other side of the eCommerce online wall who would like to read something they can actually understand. You know what I mean –those sentences that exhaust you after three words. Or they are really long and packed with buzzwords and big words that say nothing. You scroll away and click on out of there. Companies pay copywriters large sums of money to “jargonize” their content which translates to ensuring your customers don’t understand a word of what you are saying. It’s what Daniel Burstein calls “Blandvertising” –the art of saying absolutely nothing. Don’t be that company, there are enough of them already.
What Did You Just Say?
The terminology you use to expound on the intricacies of your services are usually not how the customers using them speak. So before you throw technical terms that show your brilliant knowledge of your company into your value proposition description –test them out. Language can make outsiders of people very quickly. You don’t want your customers sitting on the other side of a verbose, jargon-fueled language barrier. Talk to your customers find out what works for them –try out a few options. I have this funny feeling that clear, concise and colloquial is going to come out on top.
If you have to use many words you’re doing it wrong. It must be clearly understood in 5 seconds. See what I mean.
You can also throw in a colorful lure, a small value add, to hook a customer. Maybe you add in elements of your overall offering like – “customizable”, “no set up fee” or “free shipping”. A little gift snuggled into your value proposition that adds even more value to the customer.
The Whole Shebang
You don’t want to be everything to everyone. You’ll be exhausted and so will we by the time we read through your offering thesis. What’s your specialty? What do you do really well? It can’t be “everything.” I won’t believe you. Get a target market. What’s your “IT” factor that makes you stand out in the crowd. Narrow it down. What’s your niche? Once you know what’s special about what you do, who you serve and what benefits you offer them, all of your other marketing efforts will fall in line.
Heart to Heart
The only way to find your ‘X’ appeal will be to ask yourself these 7 hard questions. Don’t write down the first thing that pops into your head to get the questions over and done with –really think about the answers. It’s the core of your business.
1. What is the ultimate goal of your web store?
2. What services/products do you offer?
3. Why did you start this Business?
4. What needs do you meet in the community?
5. What trends are currently impacting your industry?
6. Who is your ideal customer? Tell me about them?
7. Why should your perfect customer buy from you and not your competitor? i.e. what makes you UNIQUE? (and don’t say, “Because we’re the best”)
Okay, read what you wrote down, does it sound amazing? Alright, now do it again. For Question 7 you are not looking to see what your competition is doing right and becoming a copycat. You want to identify what they are doing wrong and fill the gap with your excellent solution. These questions should highlight at least 5 areas where you deliver value to your customers and from this source you can start to build your proposition promise. If you have any proof or evidence of the claim’s you are making about what you offer be sure to add it in.
And remember –no fluff, keep it real, matter-of-fact and human friendly. Good luck!
Did I Do It Right?
If you are not sure if your value proposition is putting your best foot forward perhaps it is time for a health analysis of your eCommerce site. It can instantly alert you to what is working on your web store and what is driving customers straight into the arms of Amazon. Give SKUmagic a call so we can do a full check up of your eCommerce site and alert you to any potential red flags.
Anand Ayyar is a principal partner & co-founder at SKUmagic, a content analytics and monitoring platform with built-in PIM/SEO. SKUmagic aims to address the growing eCommerce needs of SMB's and F1000 clients with a very fast, simple, affordable turnkey full service true cloud solution and offers a free "Content Health Report" for any webstore.