Formulating the Value Proposition so that People Convert Right on the Homepage.

May 21, 2015

rolls-royce

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There is a lot of advice on how to reduce bounce rates, optimize landing pages and create calls to action. Yet

the most important aspect of converting websites, the value proposition gets seldom mentioned.

Ideally already your slogan contains it and your potential users are not forced to watch a long video or read a wordy text. Also sending your visitors down a link or two makes most of them disappear. How to convert people right on the homepage?

 

Value Proposition? Are you kidding me?

backlinko-vp

First off, what the heck is a value proposition? My products represent the value, I don’t have to propose to anybody! Keep calm and read on. The value is obvious to you because you deal with your products or services on a daily basis.

Outsiders, potential clients or online supporters may not even understand what you are talking about. In the worst case they might assume your whole industry is just a bunch of crooks and liars. That’s certainly a problem for us when it comes to SEO and wide-spread prejudice.

The value proposition is not a promotional aspect of your advertising.

It’s not a marketing gimmick. It’s the essence of your business. It’s the actual offer. It’s your unique selling point. Consider a brand like Rolls Royce for example. What’s their value proposition? A car? Probably not.

The car is the product but the offer is the luxury and the symbolism. After all kings and queens ride Rolls Royce limousines. Unlike a renowned brand most average businesses do have to explain their value proposition n their site right away or their visitors might disappear in an instant.

 

Your homepage is like a hotel lobby

hotel-lobby

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Imagine that you run a hotel. You want to convert your visitor when s/he enters right away in the lobby. Make the lobby minimalist or lavish depending on what your business is about but don’t plan to show everybody around the whole building and suggest them dozens of rooms. Make sure the facade and the neon signs outside are already appropriate.

When someone enters make sure that the temperature is pleasant. I could on like that for a while but we have to return the more abstract realm of websites. At least here we don’t need heating or air conditioning. I hope you understand by now that

a potential guest does not need to inspect all of the rooms to stay with you.

In short the first impression counts. Especially as you assume that the people who arrive in your lobby are already likely to look for a room. They may look for a restaurant as well or a spa but most of them want a place to stay for at least a night.

shopify-vp

You don’t have to explain what a hotel is to most of them. This may be different in case your business model is a bit less evident. In any case it’s important to clarify why they should stay with you not the other hotel around the corner or down the street.

I have worked for a few hotels in the past – that is I optimized their sites – so that I know how to differentiate. One of them was a design hotel with a very good connection to to main train station in town. You could actually walk over there. We stressed the two aspects. What is your unique asset others can’t copy easily?

  • What’s the unique flavor?
  • What’s the local specialty?
  • What’s the “killer” feature?

Try to fit that into a short sentence and put in big letters on your frontpage. Yeah, I know. It’s difficult. You’ll probably will struggle to word it in a concise manner. The outcome may sound more like a short paragraph. Then you need to cut all the unnecessary words mercilessly or at least try to prioritize certain parts by using different font sizes:

twoodoo-vp-50

 

Testing your value proposition

You are probably familiar with A/B testing already. In most cases business people test whether a particular headline, button text or design gets more conversions than a previous one. Here again I have seldom witnessed test results or studies dealing with the impact of a changing value proposition.

How can you change your value proposition to get more conversions and thus probably more sales?

Well, just consider Ford. They were one of the first to attempt selling mobility instead of just cars. In an era where everybody owns a smartphone and can take part in car sharing without the need to own a car actually it’s about time to rethink the value proposition of car manufacturers.

Where I live (in Berlin, Germany) a lot of them offer their own branded car sharing brands. The foremost example is probably BMW which also owns the Mini brand by now. Thus you see DriveNow Minis and BMW’s seemingly all over the place around here. Also they not only stand around and block parking space, people use them a lot.

By changing the value proposition from something like “owning a cool car with a modern image” to “driving a car right now or whenever you want” BMW was able to adapt to the current market. It may be also possible in your area of expertise. Try different value propositions to find out how your company can adapt to the current trends.

* (CC BY-SA 2.0) Creative Commons image by That Hartford Guy

** (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons image by Jun Seita