How to find your unique value proposition

I was once attending a conference in 2013 and the speaker said something that I will never forget. The individual was answering questions, and someone wanted to know how to find your unique value proposition when you are in a crowded space.

It was a valid question, and I was curious to hear the answer. The speaker, without missing a beat, told the individual that you don’t determine your unique value proposition, your prospective customer does. He then went on to explain ways to gather useful feedback so that the unique value proposition speaks to an audience that already exists.

If you want to know how to find your unique value proposition, then you need to change your perspective.

Crystal ball reflection changing the perspective of dessert landscape.

You don’t define your value in a vacuum. In fact, you don’t define it at all. Your market is telling you what they value, and all you have to do is listen. Take what it is they are saying and incorporate it into your sales copy and offering.

That’s it!

At the end of the day, a unique value proposition is the promise that you make to people about how your product or service will benefit them. It is the core benefit of your product or service that differentiates you from all the other options that are available.

To find your unique value proposition, you need to do a little digging into the minds of your potential customers. It has to be broad enough so that it’s relevant for a wide audience, but still specific to your products and services.

Years ago, this process was a lot more challenging, but the internet changed the game.

How? Online reviews.

When I ran my first software company, I used reviews all the time to help position my brand. The way that I saw it, people were telling me exactly what they wanted. I just had to position the brand accordingly. Using online reviews, you can discover:

  • The problems people want to solve.
  • The challenging parts of your solution compared to others.
  • Why solving the problem is important.
  • How they prefer the problem to be solved.

This information is gold, and it is readily available in nearly every industry.

Reviews can help find your unique value proposition. Something that isn’t just for your potential customers, but permeates your company’s culture. Remember, your value proposition is for your employees just as much as it is for your customer.

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for their thoughts.

Aside from using reviews, another way to get to know what motivates your customers is to simply ask them. You can email them and ask what they think about your current products or services. Heck, you can even ask them what they think about your marketing campaign! Ask them what they think you should change, too.

You will be surprised at the number of people willing to take a moment to help you out. Yes, a few will be sarcastic or rude. That’s to be expected, but it doesn’t mean you should toss their feedback to the side. Often times, hidden in the fiery language of negative feedback is a helpful hint about your business and how it is perceived.

Let’s have a look at an example using a review of Kartra, a full-suite email marketing platform. To get this review, I filtered by one-star on their profile located on Capterra.

How to find your unique value proposition by looking at a Kartra review on Capterra.

I notice two important points from this feedback.

  • The brand reach & reputation is actually pretty good.
  • Confidence in post-purchase experience is low.

I then looked at the one-star reviews of a competitor, Kajabi.

Negative review on capterra from a Kartra competitor, Kajabi

Sort of looks familiar, right? We can see based on these reviews that the people who are most upset in this space feel that they are not getting their expectations met with regards to the post-purchase support experience. This represents an opportunity for a unique value proposition.

To reiterate the point: there is gold to be found in reviews!

If I were actively competing in this market, I would go hard after the post-purchase support experience. Virtual town hall sessions on Zoom, developer Slack access, chat support (this is a big one), and a satisfaction guarantee extension (60-days minimum) that sends the message: we are here for you!

While on the topic of reviews, something that I have learned resonates well with people is to actively show them that you are trying to improve based on the feedback that they give you. Instead of trying to hide any weakness or flaw in your business, use them to your advantage!

You should demonstrate to customers that you are listening, and overcome these challenges publicly. People want to be heard, so if you can clearly demonstrate that you see the feedback and that you are working to improve. Aside from showing current customers your commitment to them and their success, this also shows prospective customers that your company listens – and that in itself can be a selling point!

Continue to monitor your value proposition, and adjust accordingly.

As your unique value proposition starts to take shape, you need to have the necessary measures in place to monitor it over time. It is possible that you may need to make adjustments. It is okay to make adjustments if you find that something is not resonating with your target audience.

Here’s a suggestion that few people do, but can give you a lot of insight. When you start out, create several unique value positions to use in your marketing efforts. Some A/B testing software can help you see which ones are resulting in the best results for your business. After some testing, you can then scrap the ones that don’t work.

Over time, continue to monitor because at some point a unique value proposition will lose its strength. It happens to every business, so don’t worry! Big and small companies alike have to reposition their brand as the industry changes. If you are continuously monitoring your brand and how it resonates in your market, then you can be proactive in any necessary brand change.

In the end, your unique value proposition is what sets you apart. It influences your brand position, and where your business is placed in the market. Take the time to get it right, to listen, and to modify based on feedback. Doing so will result in more revenue for your business.

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Justin Ferriman
Justin Ferriman
Justin is the founder of GapScout, the easiest way for solopreneurs and small businesses to find profitable gaps in their market. Follow Justin on Twitter→

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