Writing a value proposition is a lot like drawing a jellyfish in a game of Pictionary. Let me explain.
I was at a party recently where several people were playing a fiery game of Pictionary. One person who was particularly bad at the game started drawing a cylinder with a label on it.
Thick befuddlement settled on the guessing team.
After several wild guesses, the team rightly guessed that it was a jar of jelly. Then, much to the team’s dismay, the artist began to draw another picture. This time, luckily, his drawing clearly depicted a standard fish.
The word he held in his hand (the team finally discovered) was “jellyfish.”
Jar of jelly + fish = jellyfish
What the artist failed to realize in the heat of the game was that jellyfish are much easier to draw than either of those two things separately or together. It’s a half dome for the body; squiggly lines for the tentacles. Jellyfish. Next!
Too often, when trying to communicate something (like our value proposition) to our customers, we take the long way around. We use abstract language. We get lost in details that aren’t important.
At MarketingExperiments, we throw around a term a lot when we create content.
That term is “aha.”
I think it’s an extremely helpful term for marketers to understand and employ in their marketing.
But before I explain why it’s helpful, I want to first identify a serious problem in the world of marketing.
Often, even here at MarketingExperiments with our micro-yes inverted funnel, we are simply content to get a “yes” from our potential customers. A “yes” generally means a sale, a lead or a click, depending on where your realm of responsibility lies.
But what we don’t always get when a customer says “yes” is the maximum intensity of that “yes.” This translates ultimately to less momentum through the customer lifecycle, which translates to a lower lifetime value of a customer, which translates to lower revenue in the long term.
If you’ve ever bought a product that you needed because it was the lesser of two evils, you know exactly what I mean.
If you ask anything of a customer you must make it worth it for them to give it to you. This applies to every step in the sales process, right from the very beginning.
This is the conclusion that MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments, came to after studying more than 20,000 sales paths over 15 years. Of those sales paths, the latest MarketingExperiments Web clinic reviewed nine that focused on email capture. Here’s what we discovered: small changes that help customers perceive that it’s worth their time, effort and risk to provide you their information increased email capture from 21% to more than 600%. Watch it here.
Here’s one of the tests.
Background: The partner has an email capture process that offers downloadable reports in exchange for information. They wanted to capture and qualify emails.
Goal: Increase number of form submissions.
Primary research question: Which process will get the most submissions?
Approach: Adapt the registration process to reduce friction (friction is anything that makes the customer work harder to get through the sales process)
The Control was loaded with friction. It forced visitors to take four steps to access the reports.
Learning the conversion heuristic (C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a) is part of almost any MECLABS (MarketingExperiments’ parent company) certification, and eventually becomes something you begin applying to everyday life.
This empirically established cognitive framework bringsstructure and clarity to analysis of the sales conversion process,and guides and simplifies decisions about the prioritization of optimization energy.
Recently, I personally applied these learnings to the age-old problem every parent faces of getting their children to eat their vegetables. I even took it a step further and applied it to a specific vegetable — spinach.
It was an ordinary night, and my family had gathered around the dinner table to talk about our day and get some nourishment. I don’t remember the exact menu and won’t bore you with the minutia, but it did however include a healthy serving of spinach.
About 10 minutes into dinner, I noticed that my five-year-old daughter had not touched her spinach, and the following conversation ensued.
“The number one obstacle we face with our emails is not a lack of brilliant copywriting, the right graphics or an understanding of personalization. The real enemy of underperforming emails is confusion,” Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute, said in his live optimization session at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015.
During this session Flint McGlaughlin makes live edits to several emails submitted by the audience, offering feedback on everything from preheaders and titles to body copy and calls-to-action.
The first page submitted is from Kelly of RoadRunnerSports.com and is discussed by Flint and an audience of Kelly’s marketing peers. The live optimization of this page shows a discussion of principles from personal marketing experiences.
Of the many changes that were recommended by the audience, one that was particularly important was an edit to the calls-to-action and their color and contrast to the rest of the page, specifically the background image.
Flint makes the point that the CTAs do not look like CTAs and, “every time you ask your customers to make meaning for themselves, you lose customers … That is far too much unsupervised thinking.”
Marketing automation. Programmatic ad buying. Email personalization.
Advancements in marketing technology can power a successful brand, if …
… and it’s a big if …
… they are used to communicate an effective and authentic value proposition.
At Email Summit 2015 I sat down with Jose Palomino, Founder and CEO, Value Prop Interactive, and author of Value Prop — Create Powerful I3 Value Propositions to Enter and Win New Markets, to discuss what value proposition means to your business.
The value proposition is “the core or central truth about whatever the offer is,” Palomino said. “And, most importantly, [the value proposition] answers this question — ‘why should anyone care?’”