Ask the CopyMaster: Benefits Copy versus Value Proposition

Dear CopyMaster Welcome to Ask the CopyMaster, where I share questions asked by my clients and readers, and answer from my perspective as a seasoned Senior Marketing Copywriter.

Dear Faith,

Q: What is the difference between the value of the offer (benefit), and the relationship of value (what your service will do for the reader)?

A: Great question, and so important if you’re writing the initial marketing copy that will form the basis of all your messaging online.

We copywriters and marketing coaches talk a lot about benefits copy and value propositions. I personally advise on another messaging element which I call the “relationship of value” that you offer. They can all start to seem pretty much the same, especially if you’re a service provider and your product is…well, you.

The difference between benefits that you/your product provides, value proposition in traditional marketing terms, and the “relationship of value” (as I like to put it) is one of scope and breadth.

Why Do I Want You In My Life?

The relationship of value that you offer is really more of a brand promise–it’s from an elevated perspective, and yet it also goes to your very essence. It is what you promise to deliver that your audience turns to you, in particular, for.

It will always be true and apply to everyone–in other words, it’s a foundation for building your business–and customer list–on.

The relationship of value that I offer to entrepreneurs is that I help them get their writing done without distress, with authenticity.

For Nike, it’s that they enable their apparel-wearers higher level of physical performance.

For you, it might be you help women get through menopause feeling positive and informed (happyhealthyandhormonal.com). Or, that you bring a strategic approach to corporate video customers seeking defined business results (corevisuals.ca)

What Makes It Better?

Your value proposition, also known by many other labels like a unique selling proposition (USP), specifically adds the element of differentiation to your statement of value to your audience.

Sometimes you stand apart because you are the first, only, newest or best of a kind. If so, that’s fantastic, you have the makings of your value proposition: it’s easy to say why someone should use you/yours over others when your offering IS unique.

But often, product preference is a matter of taste, or market spaces are crowded. For example, Coke versus Pepsi: value propositions are tough here. They really use brand associations to impressions, and the rest is up to which cola product you enjoy more.

Another example: there are many marketing copywriters offering their services online to small businesses. As such, I don’t have a distinct value proposition in the traditional sense–until I add something that makes me stand out. Like an easy process that solves your copy problems in a day, overnight or in three days.

I do have a relationship of value that I deliver on, as mentioned above. So my audience can make decisions based on that–no one else offers the same relationship because no one else is just like me. But I also propose something unique that makes me a better choice for anyone who wants to get moving on their copy.

Along with value, and differentiation, the value proposition also includes a benefit.

How Does It Help?

Benefits are more drilled down, and they refer to the results of a feature. A feature is something you/your product has. In my above example, fast work on projects is a feature of mine through pen to Zen. Benefits copy is the positive result. For example, getting work done fast and easy so you don’t have to stay stalled or feel stressed.

See how that falls out of “getting writing done without distress” which is the relationship of value I offer from the start? The benefits of working with me also include my depth of strategic experience my expert creative processes expertise. This is especially useful for launching new businesses, naming and taglining, and website writing.

For Nike it’s staying dry and comfortable so you train longer, or providing light support to improve your time, for example.

For you it might be… well, the possibilities are endless!

Steps to Writing Key Statements

  1. Describe your audience’s main problem and need
  2. State how you/your product can be of service to them
  3. Use steps 1 & 2 to state your relationship of value to your audience
  4. List your best features (what do they do)
  5. List their benefits (how do they help)
  6. Use steps 4 & 5 to write benefits copy
  7. Pick the most unique benefit and
  8. Pick the benefit of most value to the user
  9. Use steps 7 & 8 to write a value proposition
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One Response to Ask the CopyMaster: Benefits Copy versus Value Proposition

  1. Beth Alford January 19, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

    I just found my way to your blog and this is great material. It can be trick to write copy that speaks to the needs of our audience…we keep wanting to talk about ourselves! Thanks for the great tips.

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