The Heart of Value Propositions

The Heart of Value Propositions
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If you can’t immediately recall your organization’s value proposition, you might not have one, or it’s not being used effectively.

For associations, value propositions are statements of what you offer to your members. They answer your members’ question: “what’s in it for me?” They also explain to your members why they should believe your promise of that value and how, specifically, it’s delivered. With both components, value propositions become simple but powerful proclamations of both your organization’s value and legitimacy.  At best, value propositions work closely with your positioning which, relative to your competition, states why your organization is uniquely qualified to provide its value.

Value propositions should apply universally to your collective audience. The most successful value propositions appeal to both the head and the heart, containing both a pragmatic rationale for members to join your organization and an emotional driver. Strong value propositions drive conversions. Without a clearly defined value proposition, prospective members are unlikely to commit, engage or renew because the question of “what’s in it for them?” is unanswered.

So how do you craft a strong value proposition?

Consider what your organization provides. What do members get from your association? Don’t be tempted to list all of the member benefits under the sun. Let’s say your association provides a network of professional support through events, online forums and member message boards. Focus on the communal, even emotional, aspect those benefits deliver.  For instance, for one McKinley client, that community support translated into a feeling of relief for not having to work alone despite being a sole proprietor, which can feel isolating. For another client, it translated into a feeling of pride for working among industry leaders. You are looking to elevate the standard checklist of member benefits to ignite an emotional response demonstrating the impact of your work.

Once your audience is hooked, they can explore your member benefits page and learn more, but the value proposition needs to convey the larger, emotional gain in order to get them there. It’s also what they’ll go back to when deciding whether or not to click “join,” because it’s concise and has sticking power.

Keep in mind:

  1. Develop the value proposition with the point of view of your audience in mind.
  2. Write the value proposition in a way that applies to your entire audience. It shouldn’t change depending on the segment.
  3. Convey a greater impact by including an emotional component (how your association makes members feel).
  4. Make the statement simple so it can be read and understood quickly and remembered.
  5. Weave the premise of the value proposition consistently into all communications.
  6. Ensure the value proposition is backed up in actual fact – that your association can provide what you say it does.

Wider Funnel, Kissmetrics and Hubspot offer great resources to help you craft an effective value proposition. You can also contact us for help – we have some value proposition experts on staff at McKinley and have helped associations determine and market their unique value propositions.