As both a marketing and sales professional, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to create and articulate in my career has been either my own personal or my company’s value proposition. It’s definitely not a feat to be underestimated and it is something that is often over engineered to a point that can be confusing to some readers. I reviewed many value propositions for financial advisors and provided advice and consulting to a number of advisors looking for more differentiation.
Typically, the value proposition lives on the home page of a website, your Twitter profile, LinkedIN company page, your company’s brochure and practically anywhere where you expect to acquire exposure to an audience who knows nothing about who you are or what you do. The primary goal of your value proposition should be to convert your reader. What do I mean by convert? Well, it means converting your reader from being a complete stranger to someone who is willing to take another step towards trusting you and eventually spending money with you (which is the ultimate goal). This could involve clicking on something else on your website, flipping the page of your brochure, scrolling down the rest of your Twitter feed, or reading an article that you either shared or published. These are all considered conversions.
With that goal in mind, here are 4 common areas I tend to talk about surrounding value propositions for financial advisors at the point when advisors are either creating it or considering re-writing it.
Is it relevant to your target audience?
Many value propositions for financial advisors tend to have too much of a focus on the actual advisor or firm. It’s important to describe who you are and what you do, but realistically, that comes at a later step. Keeping in mind the goal of capturing and enticing the reader just enough to convert, the first few words of your value proposition should contain some information as to how you help your reader solve problems. It’s always good to remember that your business exists because it helps solve your clients’ problems. Some questions you can ask yourself to help get you thinking of a reader focused solution statement:
- What are the top 3 problems you are helping your clients’ solve?
- If you left your clients tomorrow and never replaced you, what would happen to them in a month, 6 months or a year?
How does your audience benefit from using your products or services?
Another key component to your value proposition should contain one or more key benefits that you provide. A lot of people writing their value proposition statements for the first time tend to fall into the trap of writing about features vs. benefits. For example, the statement, “We provide families with sustainable investment strategies” is a features statement. A “sustainable investment strategy” is a service or an offering. It’s not quite a benefit in the context of the example I provided. How about this one? “We help families achieve financial freedom”. This is clearly more in the direction of a benefits statement. “Financial freedom” isn’t something you can offer “out of the box” but you can implement specific strategies that can help families achieve that goal. One exercise I like to use with my clients to help them with a benefits statement is a fill in the blanks exercise:
- Fill In The Blanks: The greatest challenge I solve for my clients is __________. By solving this challenge they can __________.
Tip: After writing a benefits statement, ask yourself the question “Why?” until you get to a point where the answer to the question becomes almost philosophical. Let’s take the previous example:
- We provide families with sustainable investment strategies. Why?
- So they can save enough money. Why?
- So they can achieve financial freedom. Why?
- So they can live without worrying about debt. Why?
- So they can live happily ever after. <– philosophical point of achievement!
Can your audience easily understand your communication style?
There’s many reasons to use common language in such a key part of your marketing material. For websites, using common language will help with your search engine results. Why? Because if you’re using language that your clients or your target audience don’t commonly use, chances are, they won’t be using that language to located your website. The reasons why you would use common language from a marketing and writing standpoint is very analogous. The system and combinations of words we use is how we communicate with other people within our circles of influence. Using words that are not typically in your audience’s vernacular can cause you to lose their attention.
As marketers, one key consideration of any attention grabbing content is our audience’s attention span which happens to be 8 seconds. Keeping your value proposition short and simple are key to a successful conversion.
If you’d like some feedback or help on your existing value proposition, drop me a line!
Question: What are some of the best or worst value propositions for financial advisors you’ve ever read online or seen in your daily life?