Startup growth can be built on one sentence – the startup value proposition. It is why the customer chooses you over every other option, and is the single most …
Your value proposition or expectation statement is the single most important string of words your startup will ever write… period.
And it can impact startup growth rate no matter where in the lifecycle you are. You can’t say that about many things.
Yet, I see so many startups short-change themselves by not honing their value proposition enough. This is a bad idea… a tremendously bad idea.
If your startup value proposition doesn’t explicitly capture why your company should matter to customers, they won’t convert.
And if the startup value proposition gets them to sign up, but sets up the wrong expectation for the product experience, they won’t activate and even if they do, they’ll be more likely to churn.
Your startup value proposition is the why behind any customer choosing you over every other option.
Unless you are scaling, you need to focus only on the big wins… the wins that move the needle a lot. Since value propositions can have a large effect on just about every type of growth, it’s one element I often look to test first with startups.
Note that even the most effective value proposition will lose efficacy at some point, so periodic review is important. A big change (e.g. shifting customer segment(s), product revision or a significant update) should almost always trigger an evaluation and testing of the value proposition.
If you’re completely happy with your signup and activation rates then you’ve probably got a kick-ass startup value proposition.
However, if you’re one of the 95% of startups who want to improve on these metrics, then this is a great place to start testing.
For those of you nodding your heads, I’ve curated some of my favourite actionable advice (in an easy four-step format) to help you DIY a higher-converting value proposition.
Make sure to benchmark your current signup and activation rates before you start.
- Start with RocketWatcher’sgreat framework. Put your best 2-4 statements in a word doc.
“Marketing messages and value propositions are notoriously difficult to create for startups. Startup founders have a tendency to focus too much on features and not enough on the value those features deliver.”
- Keep this in mind from Andrew Chen…
“In almost every case, the product’s value proposition is boiled down to one clear statement: “Your best source for knowledge” or “Be great at what you do”. People almost never read more than one sentence on your site (and they won’t even read that one unless it’s big enough and strategically placed).”
- Now, it’s time to write awesome copy with this from Copyhackers.
“In the words of prospects – that’s the best performing copy… As we talk with customers, we then use their words to craft our copy as if it were a mirror. So when a customer reads out copy, they will see themselves.”
I could easily write a book on this, but here’s a pithy overview.
If you have decent traffic (i.e. can have a statistically significant result), then…
Use a tool like Optimizely to test your top 2-4 startup value statement variations (from step #1). Compare to the baseline established. Implement the winner.
If you don’t have a ton of traffic…
Run online ads (i.e. Facebook, AdWords, Twitter) on a small budget… something like $10-$20 per day per statement you want to test.
Facebook is the ideal place because of their ad setup, but you have to go where your customers are. Just make sure to track conversions either via a conversion pixel, by tagging the URL, or preferably both for cross-reference.
Create a new ad set for each value statement you want to test. Keep everything else identical including budget, ad type, targeting, etc. The only thing that should change here is the main copy – and that should only change by the value proposition you are testing.
Quick tip? Make these ads simple. Let the value statement do the talking. Run the test until you have a winner. Implement the winner.