We are just coming to the end of the first few stages of working on our updated value proposition – knowing and growing your customer base – so this is a very timely issue to be writing. Now, whether you are ever truly ‘finished’ with your value proposition work is another question, and I’d make an argument that you probably never are done.
That said, there are major milestones in getting to your strong, high-converting value proposition. One of them is getting to that version one value proposition that you can then test and iterate on – and that’s what we are focusing on here.
So, how did we get there? And what is a 15-year-old company doing working on their value proposition? Shouldn’t you have that nailed down by now?
What is a value proposition?
People don’t buy your product because it’s cool. They buy your product because they believe it’s going to make a change in their life. They buy your product because of the value that you can offer them.
This is the core of your value proposition. It’s the way you explain the value of your product, not to you or your peers, but to the person whose life and work it can make a difference to.
Remember that you’re thinking about value. Not features, not really even your USP.
The change you are going to make in your customers’ work and life is the value. The end result that they are going to achieve by using your product is the value.
Why are we working on our value proposition now?
Years and years ago, when I first worked as a creative strategist, my boss told me: “If I throw 10 sweets at you right now without warning, you’ll panic, and you won’t catch any of them. But, if I throw you just one sweet, you’ll catch it.”
This is how we felt about the way we were talking about GoSquared. We would ask our customers, our friends, our colleagues – what is GoSquared? – and we’d get different answers every time. Depending on the use case, on the customer themselves, on what we were focused on building at that moment.
We’ve been around for a long time. And in that time we’ve developed a bunch of different products that all fit together, but that aren’t solving the same problem for the same audience. This is where it gets confusing. For us, trying to explain the platform’s value, and for our audience and customers trying to search for the right tool to solve their problems.
Stage One: Customer Interviews
Your customer interviews get you aligned with whether what you’re selling is what your customers want.
This can take you down a ton of different routes, but the main questions to answer are:
- How are your current customers actually using your product?
- How did your current customers find your product? (What precisely were they looking for, and what problem were they trying to solve?)
- What language do your customers use to talk about their business/goals/problems/solutions/anxieties?
You want to interview as many customers are you can – a rough ballpark, if you are doing these interviews for the first time, is 40 customers, but if that’s a tiny percentage of your customer base – speak to more. If you don’t have 40 customers yet, interview those you have and look to your target audience to get some pre-customer interviews done. With a few tweaks to the interview questions and direction, you should get to the same value proposition.
We found out that customers use the different tools we offer seamlessly. The knowledge they gain within our User Analytics tools they spin out to segment their customers and target them with both automated messaging in-app and via email and real-time messaging via Live Chat.
This insight helped us to focus not on the products as individual buckets that our users dipped in and out of, but as cogs turning the same machine.
We were getting closer to understanding something really important to our value proposition: the Job our customers are employing GoSquared to do for them.
Stage Two: JTBD
When you start to evaluate the data from your customer interviews you want to be looking for the Job that the customer is trying to do. Whoever your customer is, they will be using your platform to do a similar Job, or maybe a range of Jobs.
For us, we identified that our customers were using GoSquared to do two key things:
- Understand who their customers are and how they behave on their website or in-app.
- Speak to these customers in a way that is tailored to their needs and context.
A bonus Job that we found focuses on automating and repeating these steps to save time, money, energy – all the things SaaS founders and small growth teams are short on.
For any teams making a range of products, understanding what Job your customers are coming to you for brings so much clarity. We were all struggling with the way things were before. Trying to bring value to hundreds of customers, all who seemingly wanted to use different parts of our platform for different things, wasn’t working for us.
It made our copy complicated, it made landing pages impossible to build, it made our demos tricky, and our customer success process bloated. We were looking for simplicity and clarity on what our happiest, most successful customers came to GoSquared for – and using the JTBD framework, we found it.
Stage Three: Language-Market Fit
The next most important thing to be looking out for in your interview process is direct and accurate quotes from the customers. Don’t paraphrase what they say.
You need to collect the actual words and phrases they use to describe their problems and the solutions they are exploring. This is what you will reflect back to the customers and visitors to your site in your copy.
Pull this information into a Miro board and look for themes and repetition in the language. A word cloud tool can also be useful here to quickly show you the most common words. Finally, group your quotes together and attach them to the different JTBD that you identified earlier.
Our own Miro board is one of my favourite places to dive into. Rachel, our Head of Customer Success, is the mastermind behind our board and built-in direct customer quotes at every stage of our process. Each and every insight we have used to build our value proposition is backed up by numerous quotes from customers.
It’s amazing how once you start listening, properly listening, the similarities in use cases, values, and frustrations are deafening.
Stage Four: Get something out there
You aren’t going to know how your potential customers will react to your value proposition until you start showing it to them.
The research you’ve done up until this point will put you in the best starting position, but you’re certainly not finished.
I’ve been using a combination of Figma and TypeDream to get landing pages built that are easy to edit and change whenever new information or feedback comes in. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to be able to edit and put together new pages on your website quickly.
Go back to some of the customers you spoke to earlier in the process and test the messaging out with them. Even better, take this value proposition fresh to people you’ve never spoken to before who fit in your target audience and get their take on it.
Now it’s time to take a look at your metrics. Do they go up or down? Where do people click? What conversion rate are you getting? Where do the most significant number of visitors get stuck or drop off?
If you have low volumes of traffic to your site, then focus your energies on bringing that number up through SEO, paid ads, or whatever growth tactics you know work for your business.
We’ve written a few posts about getting more traffic to your site that might be helpful:
- How backlinking can help increase domain authority and traffic.
- 25 content promotion ideas and tools that bring the right traffic to your site.
- 3 unique, comprehensive methods for generating blog traffic.
- How to get the right kind of web traffic.
Stage Five: Iterate and edit
Stage Five is a never-ending stage – but that’s not a bad thing!
You will always be getting new and clearer information from your customers. The market will shift. Your ambitions will shift. These repeating pieces of work are all part of running a business.
What you need to do is look for them and iterate your value proposition to always be relevant and targeted. This is the stage we are at now – so any feedback would be very welcome! Hit reply, or find me on Twitter if you have any comments or advice.