A Value Proposition: Your Secret weapon for Selling Online Training

TrainHeroic marketplace 3.0 sales page are now live. They allow any personal trainer, gym, or strength coach to quickly create a high converting e-commerce  micro-site with no coding. 

In this article, the third installment in our power seller series, Ben will walk you through how to create a value proposition that sells like hotcakes. 

We’ll start with definitions and leave you with an easy-to-follow guide for creating your own unique value prop to position your program or membership sales online. 

Ben Crookston

Ben Crookston

Ben Crookston is the Founder and CEO of TrainHeroic. Prior to finding his home in the tech world, Ben ordered the Sampler off the career menu, teaching, coaching, and writing. He has an incredible family and back squats 500 pounds A2G.

// cut through the noise and grow sales with less effort

For anyone serious about growing an online training business, establishing a winning value proposition is one of the best bang-for-the-buck investments to make. A strong value proposition maximizes conversions, positions to grow long-term value, and differentiates from the competition.  

~START YOUR VALUE PROP TODAY~

Whoa.

What just happened above? Well, my friend, I just did a little Jedi-mind trick on ya and made a value proposition selling you on creating a value proposition. I call it Value Inception

Take that, DiCaprio.

// What is a value prop?

A value proposition is a sentence that tells your target customers why they should buy from you and not those other gals/guys. In the end, it’s really a promise you’re making about the value you’ll give them in exchange for whatever they’ll pay you. 

Our consumer minds are pretty simple. Whether we know it or not, we’re constantly in evaluation mode. Our time, money, and attention are all scarce resources. So when we consider buying or doing just about anything, we want to know “is this going to be worth it?” 

In general, we ain’t buyin’ if there isn’t a clear ROI.

With your value proposition, you’re trying to convince your customers that:

Your Perceived Benefits > their Perceived Costs 

…as quickly as possible.

And in a competitive landscape like training, you don’t want to create a perception that your goods are only of marginal utility. Instead, you wanna show that your offering is a helluva lot better than your target customer’s alternative solution. 

It’s a pretty simple concept, but it takes work to nail this. Trust me, it’s worth the effort to get it right. Your value proposition is the foundation of your online training growth strategy. 

Ya like stats? 

An effective value proposition can boost your sales conversion rate by over 10%.

Before we rush into some exercises, let’s get comfy and warm up with some…

// examples of value propositions from brands you know

1. Tap the app, get a ride: Uber

Uber is the smartest way to get around. Boom, that’s pretty nice. If you like to think of yourself as a smart person, you’ll probably be attracted to that opener. In their headline, Uber emphasizes ease of use. Simply Tap the app, get a ride. They then buttress that beauty with benefits to further clarify how they make the magic happen: The car comes directly to you. Your driver knows where to go. And payment is all cashless. 

Simple, relatable, and accessible. That’s an Uber good job IMO.* 

2. Save money, without thinking about it: Digit

Digit’s value prop resonates with people who struggle to remember to save. Notice how they don’t beat around the bush and get right down to it: save money without thinking about it. Then, rather than using a whole buncha fancy schmancy words to clarify their message, Digit leans into a powerful video to quickly get across how they make you more moola without any headaches. This is especially smart since Digit is used by a younger generation that thinks reading is scrolling through their Instagram feed.

3. Connect your apps and automate workflows: Zapier

Self-proclaimed Internet glue company Zapier connects your app ecosystem and automates your workflows. Pretty straightforward. Their supporting copy does a good job of clarifying who it’s for (busy people), what it does (moves info between your apps automatically), and how it improves your life (so you can focus on your most important work). 

Simple, to the point, and effective…just like their Product.**

In all three cases I hope you notice:

 

  1. Each brand uses plain language that is customer centric and authentic to their market
  2. The recipe for construction is pretty simple: 
    1. Who is it for, specifically? 
    2. In what ways does it improve their lives? 
    3. How does it make the magic happen?

// What does a well communicated Value Proposition include?

Crafting a great value proposition is like cooking a great meal. Ultimately, the end product is only as strong as the quality of ingredients you use and the care with which you put them together. You can’t make prize-winning BBQ when you’re pulling from the same ingredient list as Joe Exotic and slapping them together like a kindergartner finger painting. 

As they say, “garbage in, garbage out.”

So invest in quality ingredients, then put in the TLC necessary to make them play nice together.

The ingredients

1. Headline

This bold statement is your one-liner that describes the progress you’re going to create in your customer’s life. If they read nothing else, this should say the important stuff. If you want to cut through the clutter, make it a showstopper.

2. Sub-paragraph

While the headline may be a punchy summary, the subparagraph is a detailed explanation of what you offer, to whom, and why. It should be a bit more emotional and grow right out of your personal/brand philosophy. 

3. Your benefits

Benefits are the legs of the stool that, together, create the value you’re selling. Think of them as John, George, Paul, and Ringo. On their own, they’re all pretty cool. Together, they’re something special that delivers dollars for decades.  

4. Associated features

All the bells and whistles included. Selecting and framing these correctly, you’ll create a more tangible sense for what’s included in your offering. The more specific, concrete, and relatable, the better they’ll resonate.

5. Visual Elements like Video and Imagery

These help you show vs. tell while emphasizing the professionalism of your offering. Remember that whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” thing? Well, videos are basically millions of pictures seamlessly stitched together, so imagine how many words those babies are worth.

TrainHeroic Marketplace | Build a landing page to sell your online training

// How to Craft your Own Killer Value Proposition

Yo Socrates! It starts with knowing thy customer and knowing thyself.

There’s no need to overthink your value proposition. That’s assuming you know who you are and what your customer is all about***. Your value proposition effectively sits at the intersection of: 

1) Your customer’s struggle  2) The unique solution you provide.

If it’s been a while since you actually listened to your customer, do a little light research. It doesn’t have to be anything overly formal or crazy, but two things can really help: 

  1. A quick survey to your target audience 
  2. 5-10 interviews with members of your target audience

 

What you’re looking to learn are the basics:

  1. Who is your target customer, specifically?
  2. What is their dream? Where are they today relative to that dream?
  3. What are their pain points? What keeps them from achieving their dream?
  4. What are their habits, anxieties, and hang-ups that keep them from making progress?

Once you know accurate answers to the above, simply take your notes, shut out all the distractions, sharpen the old pencil, and unlock your inner Don Draper. 

If you want a head start, feel free to use these templates. They’re like cheat codes to the game:

Steve Blank Value Proposition template

“The Father of Modern Entrepreneurship” Steve Blank uses this little ad-lib to build out a basic value proposition…

We help [X] to [Y] by [Z].

Example (applied to TrainHeroic): “We help coaches grow and scale their practice by empowering them with tools that save time, engage their athletes, and make them look pro.”

That’s pretty spicy. Whatever that whole “TrainHeroic” thing is sounds preeettttty neat.

Hollywood High-Concept Value Proposition template

When I was 19, I had a short stint in Hollywood working for a production studio. I mainly got coffees for stressed out executives and used red pens to eviscerate the dreams of wannabe screenwriters. (Makes sense to empower a teenager with that much responsibility, right?) If I learned one thing, it’s this: Quick mental models that relate your idea to a known, highly successful idea are effective for getting your point across quickly and effectively. 

People like to invest in things they understand and have confidence in to minimize their risk.

Most Hollywood blockbusters are sold to studios using “High Concept” pitches that follow an incredibly simple format.

It’s like X for Y. 

Example: Avatar is like Dances with Wolves…in space.

Dave McClure Value Proposition template

500 Startups investor Dave McClure suggests a 3-step checklist for writing your unique value proposition.

What, how, why.

3 keywords or phrases. Keep it simple. No expert jargon.

Example: “Mint.com is the free, easy way to manage your money online.”

TrainHeroic Marketplace | Build a landing page to sell your online training

// Ok, enough examples. Now, it’s your turn…

[This single line is a stand-in for the 30 minutes it’ll take to craft your first killer value prop.] 

Cool! You’re done. Is it any good?

 

  Extra Strength (5) Over the counter (3) Weak Sauce (1)
Clear Your value prop is to the point, well considered, and well supported. It’s obvious how the benefits work together to deliver the value promised. The features provided feel clearly aligned to the benefits described. It’s an iron fortress of logic and emotion. All the boxes are checked. There’s a headline, subparagraph, benefits, and features. The only issue is, it’s a little “meh,” and feels a bit generic or misaligned. Take it up a notch and add some flavor. Admit it, you mailed it in. While you might have some of the essential elements, you haven’t done the work to stand out and connect with your target buyer in a meaningful way. If you want them to do their part, consider doing yours.
Specific

You address who, what, and how specifically so your customer can see themselves using your solution.

The benefits have concrete proof points. The features are described so tangibly and clearly you feel like you could hold them.

Again, nothing is “wrong” here. We’ve got all the bare essentials on the table, but they may be a little generic. Consider how you can use language that is more reflective that you “get” your target buyer. Speak in their terms. Use examples that resonate with them. There is no attempt to paint a picture of the progress that your customer should expect in working with you.
Differentiates It’s clear you did your homework. You know what’s out there, what your target customers are considering buying, and you’re clearly positioning against it in the solution you’ve created and the message you’ve crafted.

There’s definitely an effort to differentiate, but it’s half-hearted. Instead of saying “Uber for Cats” like your competition, you said “Lyft for Cats.” While it’s “different” it’s not differentiated.

Flex to deliver something that no one else is delivering and talk about it in a way no one else is.

There is no attempt to position against competing solutions. This may as well be any other product on the shelf.

 

If you tally your marks up and come out with anything above a 10, you’re in good company and well on the way to conversion Nirvana. 

Now let’s put that little hitmaker into action…

With 3.0, We Did the Shopping for ya

TrainHeroic’s new product detail pages make crafting a compelling value prop dummy simple. All the magic ingredients we discussed are there and arranged in the ideal order. All you need to do to unlock a savage converting page is populate the template with messaging that resonates with your target audience. 

It’s basically the “Blue Apron of online training websites.” (See what I did there? 😉 )

So go forth and convert, my friend. 

 

 

*As a soon-to-be father, I’m practicing my dad jokes. It’s all about the reps, baby.

**All these subliminal messages feel like one of those Reddit conspiracies I’m always reading about #flatearth

***I’ve learned to almost never accept basic reason, self-awareness, and empathy as a given. All three are in short supply.

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