UX design techniques for baking impactful Value Proposition

Toolkit for creating VP that sets your product apart


Website’s first impression is hugely underestimated in UX processes I observed recently. In fact, the potential of using highly influential factors is barely considered during first time experience.

One of these potent factors with far-reaching effect is a unique Value Proposition (VP).

VP is #1 thing that determines whether visitor will bother exploring your website or not.

The very first segment that attracts user’s attention is 1–2 longer sentences (sometimes with short text paragraph) that are usually supported by the picture of product placed in the center. An addition of 3–4 columns describing product/service benefits is used to clarify the overall product value. Compilation of all of these elements elaborates the product VP.

See the pattern? Companies/Products like Evernote, Airbnb, Duolingo, Periscope understand importance of using the VP in a very common arrangement

VP Functionality: Promise of value delivered by your product/service

In a nutshell, it is a statement that explains why a potential customer should buy from you. Based on this, customers can easily compare your product’s uniqueness with other products and choose the right one.

Hence, one of your top priorities should be a perfectionist, emphasis on copywriting after conducted user research to help your potential customers realize the value in a split of second without thinking excessively and fall into frustration.

Do not let people do the hard thinking about your offering. It’s your job to express core values of your product the simplest possible way.

This can be so powerful that the least information extracted from VP statement can convince visitor will click right away on CTA button. That’s why so many UX best practices recommend placing CTA button right after the VP.

An example of impactful VP: The images of supported devices lead to imagining user experience. CTAs are placed in the top section to convert the already convinced potential customers.

VP as your North Star

The compelling evidence of VP’s impact is the fact of serving its purpose not only in external communication with customers as explained in previous lines. During the hard times of strategic decisions, VP provides a clear guideline to keep product values and general direction on the right track. VP is your north star to keep you on the right course through the product evolution.

To learn more about this topic, take a look on the diagram posted in UXLady post here. It’s another whole space, but our aim is to focus only on the external objective for now.


You are the baker!

Now you know that the VP is an essence. So what’s the approach to create one? I synthesized several blogs and articles and put together a best practice approach for you.

So let’s bake one yummy VP!

Framework for impactful VP

4 Essentials of VP — NSUC

NEED + SOLUTION + UNIQUENESS + CUSTOMER

To create powerful sentences that touch your users, you need to consider these areas:

  1. NEED/PAIN — visitor’s deep pain you attempt to cure
  2. SOLUTION — most persuasive collection of arguments about solving customer needs
  3. UNIQUENESS — what distinguishes you from the competition and how this is relevant to your target audience
  4. CUSTOMER — who is your target customer

It’s not a must to cover these areas directly in words. But these are the fundamental conditions.


More hilarious stuff @ funnyasduck.net

Grandma’s recipe — 3 Ingredients

I chose formula used again by UXLady. I liked this technique because of my mathematical/IT background (formula), but let’s forget about formula and call it recipe!☺

This simple recipe consists of 3 ingredients that lead to creating a statement speaking to the hearths of your customers:

{Action 1 + Action 2} —most useful and easily imaginable activities accessible as available functions of your product

{Benefit} — which positive outcome desired by customer will these activities ensure

Delicious cakes baked by well-known companies

Let’s look into the Twitter’s and Pinterest’s kitchen.

Twitter VP: Start a conversation*, explore your interests*, and be in the know.”
Pinterest VP: “Join Pinterest to find* (and save*!) all the things* that inspire you”

Did you spot the ingredients? So again Twitter VP cake.

Action1 (Start a conversation) + Action2 (explore your interests) -> Benefit (be in the know).”

The actions help customer imagine very clearly what they can do with the product while the benefit names the “win” a user can accomplish. Testing the results of this simple exercise will show how well you know your customers☺


General principles — 7 Kitchen rules

Aforementioned 3 ingredients are building stones. However you need to follow another couple of rules not to overcook or end up with cake sunk in the middle☺ Here we go.

1. Avoid blandvertising

Avoid any superlatives, vagueness, hype, abstract words — basically any words that aren’t saying something helpful. “World-class” and “easiest” don’t support visitor’s line of thinking how the hell this thing makes their life easier. Use quantitative statements rather than qualitative. Introduce clarity and specificity — underestimated tools of conversion.

✕ qualitative: Very easy to start and simple to use user interface

✓ quantitative: Set up under 2 minutes, no training required

2. Use Layman’s terms

Describe technical terms or specific terms of specialization in words easily understandable for average individual not trained in particular area = Layman (in words said by potential customer it’s even better!).

✕ technical: Explore histograms with your data classified by recurrent neural network

✓ layman: Transparent statistics based on reliable Artificial Intelligence algorithms

3. Ease the imagination

VP helps customer to imagine how your product is used and what are the benefits of everyday usage. Remember our Pinterest VP cake?

“Join Pinterest to find* (and save*!) all the things* that inspire you”

4. Use customer centric language

Website copy must speak TO readers and not AT them.

A couple rules here to affect the tone of your writings in order to put the trust to the first place.

  • Conversational language tone rather than statement-style (“Customer must claim refund within 30 days” vs. “We will give you a 30-day, money back guarantee”)
  • Benefits driven descriptions of the product rather than features driven
  • Avoid business jargon

5. Make VP prominent by visual design

Use rules of contrast to make VP stand out. Make it loud and clear!

Compare it yourself. VP on the right is a bit deemphasized

6. Incorporate Booster words

Some words works very well against competition, so make your research. Use these in beginning part of your VP:


What is NOT VP

Sometimes you only think you are helping others to understand the product by your catchy VP. Let’s take a look on how NOT to do it.

Catch phrase

This is a slogan more than meaningful sentence explaining the value of your product:

“L’Oréal. Because we’re worth it.”

Mission statement

Many online businesses confuse their value proposition with their mission statement, which is more business oriented rather than visitor oriented:

“We seek to create an educational environment that promotes life-long learning toward achieving full potential, enabling each person to become an essential part of their community.”


Evolution

Your product is changing so is the VP

VP is tightly linked to your business strategy. Airbnb gives a great example with their pivot reflection into presentation of product.

Previous VP: “Find a place to stay. Rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries
New VP: “Welcome home. Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 countries”

“Find a place to stay…” -> changed for -> “Welcome home…” (belong anywhere)

Comfortable and successful renting of house where people stay for a couple of days was Airbnb’s main focus. Now it’s more than that. The service has now deeper impact and transformed from just single goal oriented (renting a place) to a broader travel experience direction (recommending favourite coffee bars, restaurants, introducing cultural traditions etc.).

When your product changes, your VP must too.


To sum up

VP is critical element of your product/service online presentation. It needs to stick in the heads of the people you serve for months. Take your time and utilize the toolkit I gave you to bake yummy VP cake.

I know I introduced quite a few tough constraints to consider here. Don’t worry about that. Play with it, but don’t rely only on your intuition or HiPPO from some optimisation company (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion). Test it. Do A/B testing and PPC advertising with different VPs targeted to the same customer.

You’ll notice when you find a sweet spot thanks to huge boost. Enjoy!


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VP is part of visitor’s first impression. Are you curious how to take it to the next level? The answer is covered in my previous article: The internal dialogue of a website visitor and strategy for better first impression