Your business’s value proposition is arguably the most important element of your overall marketing messaging. A value proposition tells prospects why they should do business with you rather than your competitors, and makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear from the outset.
Unfortunately, many businesses either bury their value proposition in buzzwords or trite, meaningless slogans, or don’t bother highlighting it on their site and in their marketing campaigns – or they don’t figure out what it is at all!
Today, we’ll be looking at seven of the best unique value proposition examples we’ve come across. We’ll go over what makes them so compelling, some ideas for developing or refining your own value proposition, and things you should bear in mind when incorporating your value proposition into your website and marketing materials. There’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s dive right in.
Few tech companies are as polarizing or widely criticized as Uber. As one of the most vocal proponents of the empowerment offered by the so-called “gig economy,” Uber has deservedly taken a lot of heat for denying its drivers the basic protections afforded to legal employees, been subject to national and even governmental scrutiny for its decision to incorporate in Bermuda to avoid its corporate tax obligations, and is generally the poster child for why everyone hates Silicon Valley’s unique brand of “disruption.”
One thing Uber most definitely does right, however, is its unique value proposition.
Uber’s value proposition, offering uber convenience
Without explicitly saying so, Uber expertly highlights everything that sucks about taking a traditional taxi and points out how its service is superior. The simple (yet highly effective) copy above, taken from the Uber homepage, excellently conveys the simplicity and ease that lies at the heart of what makes it such a tempting service:
Everything about this directly contrasts the typical experience of getting a taxi – no phone calls to disinterested dispatchers, no painful conversations trying to explain to a stressed-out cabbie about where you need to be, and no fumbling for change or worrying you’ve got enough bills in your wallet. Just a fast, efficient way to get where you’re going. This is reinforced by the aspirational messaging toward the top of the Uber homepage, which states that “Your day belongs to you.”
At this point, it’s worth comparing Uber’s value proposition with that of rival company Lyft. The two companies’ offerings are virtually identical, which is what makes a direct comparison of the two so interesting. Take a look at this information from the Lyft homepage:
Lyft’s step-by-step value proposition
Structurally and thematically, Lyft’s homepage is very similar to Uber’s. However, there’s some key differences here that highlight how Uber’s value proposition is more clearly positioned.
Firstly, Lyft does score some points for including several step-by-step images of the Lyft experience, helping visitors visualize what taking a ride with Lyft is like. However, look at the copy for the first step of the process. It lists the three tiers of Lyft service – Lyft, Lyft Line, and Lyft Plus – but doesn’t explain the difference between these service tiers, or tell the prospect why they should choose between them.
Also, while clearly explaining the final stage of the process – paying and rating the driver – this information implies that there is a final definitive action required by the user, something Uber does not. Personally, I almost always try to rate my Uber drivers (bearing in mind the oft-speculated “secret” rating of around 4.6 out of 5 that many believe serves as the performance benchmark for Uber drivers), but I don’t have to. Sometimes I’ll forget about it and just get on with my day – it certainly isn’t required, and nor is manually paying my driver. For a service built on the notion of efficiency and convenience, this is a big deal.
Now, one could argue that Lyft does a better job of being transparent about what users can expect, an argument that definitely has merit, especially if you’ve ever been stung by Uber’s unexpected “surge” pricing. However, for two such similar services, I’d argue that Uber’s value proposition is more clearly positioned, and certainly more persuasive than that of Lyft – an important distinction if you’re operating in a crowded market with several similar competitors.
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Even in today’s oversaturated consumer electronics marketplace, it’s hard to imagine a more iconic product than the Apple iPhone. It’s also difficult to imagine a product with as much competition as Apple’s flagship mobile device, so what sets the iPhone apart from the (literally) hundreds of competing devices on the market?
Apple’s iPhone value proposition, offering unique experience
As you’d probably expect from Apple, a firm renowned as much for its commitment to sleek, elegant product design as its actual products, Apple firmly reiterates its value proposition in the copy about its iPhone range of products – specifically, the design of the device itself, the ease of use that has been a cornerstone of Apple’s design aesthetic since the launch of OS X, and the aspirational qualities that an iPhone supposedly offers the user.
This aspirational messaging is Apple’s value proposition.
Take a look at the copy. Apple states that it believes a phone “should be more than a collection of features” – yet this is precisely what a smartphone is. We could sit here and poke fun at Apple’s lofty design aesthetic for days (the #freejonyive hashtag on Twitter, which jokes that Apple’s lead designer has been trapped in a white room for several years, is a prime example), but it’s a remarkably effective approach that has helped Apple remain at the forefront of a brutally competitive market for almost a decade.
Jony Ive (#freejonyive)
Apple knows how crowded and competitive the smart device market is, so rather than focus on a specific feature – virtually none of which are unique to the iPhone or iOS – the company instead opts to focus on the experience of using an iPhone. Most companies couldn’t pull off using words such as “magical” to describe using a smartphone, but Apple can.
Of course, Apple doesn’t just sit on its proverbial laurels and rely on aspirational messaging to sell you on its value proposition. The official iPhone site also touches on several of the genuinely unique features of iPhone and iOS to make its case, including security:
Apple iPhone value proposition, focusing on security
Not only is this a very clever move on Apple’s part (especially in the wake of the disastrous FBI San Bernardino iPhone unlocking lawsuit), but the copy matches the rest of Apple’s messaging perfectly and manages to simplify an incredibly complex topic – encryption – into easily understandable language that most users can grasp and feel good about.
Apple understands that even focusing on the unique features of iPhone wouldn’t be enough to distinguish the device in such a crowded market. By emphasizing the overall experience of using the device, however, Apple’s value proposition is as unique as its approach to product design and aesthetics.
Moving away from the world of consumer-facing electronics and apps and veering into B2B territory, our fifth value proposition example comes from our friends at landing page optimization platform Unbounce.
Unbounce’s value proposition, offering ease of use
As you might expect from a company specializing in conversion rate optimization, Unbounce’s value proposition is abundantly clear from the moment you arrive on the homepage, namely the ability to build, publish, and test landing pages without any I.T. support. For many small businesses (and even larger companies), the perceived technical overhead of A/B testing is a major barrier to entry, making Unbounce’s value proposition particularly appealing.
This homepage also boasts a number of other features that make the overall experience very compelling, such as a strong, unmissable CTA, and a simple three-step visual representation of how Unbounce’s solution works. The copy also clearly states that Unbounce is primarily aimed at marketers (a clear indication of understanding and appealing to a highly specific target audience), as well as the fact that users can create mobile-responsive landing pages, which itself addresses a very specific need or concern for some marketers. Great stuff all around.
The world seems to be divided into two types of people; those who love Slack, and those who haven’t tried it yet. For the uninitiated, Slack is a workplace productivity and messaging app. It’s deceptively simple to use, yet robust enough for large teams working on complex projects (as evidenced by Slack’s very clever inclusion of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab example on the homepage), so what sets Slack apart from the thousands of other messaging and productivity apps?
Slack’s value proposition, focusing on credibility and productivity
Essentially, Slack distills its value proposition in the example above – it makes users’ “working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.” The NASA JPL example is also very clever in that it subtly implies that if it’s good enough for large teams of scientists at NASA – the kind of people who put robots on other planets – then it’s good enough for anyone.
However, while this might seem like the value prop of virtually every productivity app on the market, Slack has several advantages that support its core value prop of making collaboration simpler.
For one, few (if any) other productivity apps boast as many integrations as Slack does. This means that its almost guaranteed to fit into just about any company’s existing communications workflow. It’s this diversity of supported apps that has helped Slack almost singlehandedly dominate the workplace productivity space.
“Slack: All your tools in one place.”
Simplicity is also a core theme at the heart of Slack’s value proposition. After all, it’s hard to get more done if the app that promises to help you do that is a pain in the ass to use. The premise of “find anything, anywhere, anytime, from any device” is another selling point Slack users routinely evangelize about, and for good reason.
“Slack: Search your entire archive.”
I won’t dissect every aspect of Slack, but suffice to say that the messaging and positioning of Slack essentially addresses every common pain point you can think of about collaborating with others at work, then simplifies it in an almost irresistible way. To newcomers, it may even seem too good to be true, which is arguably why Slack has become so insanely popular (and helped the company achieve a breathtaking $3.8 billion valuation). Reading over Slack’s website, you can almost feel the sighs of relief that Slack promises.
Slack’s mantra of “Be Less Busy” isn’t just a catchy slogan – it’s the company’s value proposition neatly summarized into three beautifully simple words.
The world of personal finance is another ruthlessly competitive space, and there are tens of thousands of apps designed to help people manage their money more effectively. However, few have as good a value proposition as Digit, a relatively new service that helps users “save money, without thinking about it.”
Digit’s value proposition, offering hands-off savings
Digit allows users to securely connect their bank accounts to the Digit service, which then algorithmically examines users’ spending habits and regular expenses. It then begins to “optimize” users’ accounts to squirrel a little money away here and there into an FDIC-guaranteed savings account, from which users can withdraw their savings at any time.
The key differentiator of Digit from other savings apps is that the process is entirely automated. Users literally don’t have to do a thing for Digit to start putting money into a saving account; a few bucks here, a few bucks there, and before you know it, you’ve got a decent amount put away for a rainy day, all the while maintaining sufficient funds for regular outgoing expenses to be taken care of. It’s actually kind of amazing.
Saving can be a major financial hurdle for many people, especially those on reduced or limited incomes. By automating the entire process, Digit offers users a completely hands-off solution to saving. It’s not for everyone – but then again, no product, service, or app is – but it is unique, and its value proposition makes this clear.
For most people (read: people who aren’t CPAs or accounting professionals), bookkeeping is a pain in the ass. It’s confusing, time-consuming, and generally an utterly miserable experience, even if your business’ books are relatively simple. That’s what makes LessAccounting’s value proposition so compelling.
LessAccounting’s value proposition, offering improved quality of life
LessAccounting’s entire premise is built upon simplifying accounting and bookkeeping, and its value proposition is reinforced throughout the site. The homepage’s tagline – “Make your life easier with our accounting software” – makes this immediately apparent, and as you navigate through the site, you’re constantly reminded of the product’s value proposition, namely that no other bookkeeping software makes accounting as simple and painless as LessAccounting.
Although LessAccounting is available for larger businesses, it’s primarily aimed at small operations such as freelancers and small-business owners, and its messaging reflects this at every stage of the funnel. From blog posts that answer questions that newcomers to accounting are likely to have, to case studies featuring small-business owners praising the product’s simplicity and ease of use, every aspect of LessAccounting’s messaging focuses on how much easier and simpler your life will be by using LessAccounting.
Figuring out precisely how people are using your website is a major challenge for many businesses. You might think you have a good idea about your users’ behavior, but without hard, actionable data, you can’t know for certain. That’s where CrazyEgg comes in.
“CrazyEgg: Want to make your site better?”
CrazyEgg is an analytical tool that allows users to view heatmaps of how people are actually interacting with a website. Users can see cursor movements, scroll depth, and all sorts of other cool behavioral tracking features that let them really understand how people are interacting with their website.
However, CrazyEgg is far from the only player in the behavioral tracking space – so what’s the value proposition? That no other service provides more functionality and insight for a better price, with as little hassle, as CrazyEgg does.
“CrazyEgg: Like a pair of x-ray glasses”
The smart folks at CrazyEgg realize that not everyone who visits their site will be familiar with the concept of heatmaps or behavioral tracking, so they provide visitors with a friendly, accessible overview of CrazyEgg’s features to simplify what the product does. If you scroll beyond this overview, you get to the real meat of CrazyEgg’s value proposition:
CrazyEgg’s value proposition, answering intuitive FAQ’s with active diction
The site lists all the things users can do with CrazyEgg, cleverly using active verbs to show visitors how much better their lives will be by using it. This list tempts would-be users with the prospects of making their budgets go farther, advocating for site changes using actionable data, making testing and analytics easier and more efficient, as well as the promise of more conversions and heightened engagement.
It then goes on to highlight the ease of use with which CrazyEgg can be implemented, emphasizing the fact that there is virtually zero technical overhead for using the product, before stating another core aspect of its value proposition, namely that it’s the most fully featured product of its type in its price range.
When you consider the overall flow of this page, it’s very clever indeed. It uses simple, accessible language and poses a question designed to pique users’ interest, before providing a clear overview of what you can do with it, and then seals the deal by highlighting the central elements of the value proposition.
Hopefully these value proposition examples have given you some ideas of how you can improve or clarify your business’ value proposition. You don’t need an immense marketing or design budget to put what makes your business the best front-and-center in your messaging – just a little focus and a moment or two to consider your site from the perspective of your users.
Originally from the U.K., Dan Shewan is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in New England. Dan’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.
See other posts by Dan Shewan
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