Warning: Use These 7 Value Proposition Design Experiments At Your Own Risk

Testing Value Propositions

You’ve learned how to design a stunning value proposition using the proven examples of successful entrepreneurs and inspired business thinkers.

If you’re like me, however, you’ve probably spent hour after hour inside your office, turning every little word in your value prop statement to make it shine.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice to find out what actually sticks with your audience and what doesn’t, before you invest even more into it?

One thing I’ve learned by studying them is that the bigger and more complicated you make it testing your value proposition, the less likely it is anyone will help point you in the right direction.

So to get you started, here are 7 super simple ways to quickly test your value proposition in social media.

1. LinkedIn Value Proposition

Your LinkedIn headline is visible in LinkedIn’s search results pages, in the “profiles others have watched”, in group discussions, and more.

By adding your value proposition to your headline along side a call to action in your profile summary, you could easily measure variations in number of profile views and contact requests, using LinkedIn’s built-in stats.

2. Twitter Bio Value Proposition Statement

Add your value proposition to your Twitter bio. Start engaging with prospective customers or users on Twitter. Now, did you get more followers, requests? Since the Twitter bio is limited to 160 characters, the high-level pitch template might be a good choice.

3. Tweet Your Value Proposition Statement

Simply tweet your 140-character value proposition, using a clear call to action and, of course, respect for your fellow tweeters. What are the feedback, number of clicks, conversations? Measure and adjust.

4. Blog Your Value Proposition Statement

Blog posts are excellent for testing your problem and solution hypothesis. In doing so you’d use a high-level value proposition for the headline and more detailed version for the head and copy. Further, you’d add your blog post to Hacker News, Reddit etc. or experiment with guest posts depending on where your customer segment lives.

Make sure to make the permalink generic so that you can adjust the headline based on feedback; unique visitors, page views, bounce rate, and more importantly, conversations. Use comments to get feedback from customers. See more under landing page value propositions..

5. Landing page value propositions

Worth a post on its own there is an array of advice for properly doing landing page testing. But you don’t need to make it rocket science.

Set up a simple landing page, using WordPress or Twitter bootstrap templates, or tune your existing site to make sure it clearly communicates your value proposition alongside a call to action. Look up Google Analytics or locate a split testing service such as Unbounce.com to test for different variations of your value proposition copy.

6. E-mail your Value Proposition

E-mail is not only a powerful tool for testing your value proposition, but also for actually delivering it. Here, your high-level value proposition goes in the subject field and your longer version in the body. Target your customer with validated learning in mind, and measure accordingly.

7. Pick up the phone!

Just dial up. Now.

Beware vanity metrics

The beauty of testing your value proposition in online and social media is that it allows for quick feedback, quantitative as well as qualitative.

But beware vanity metrics. Unique visitors, page views, likes or followers don’t necessarily tell you if you’re on the right track or not.

Rather, use these techniques to start a conversation and drive actionable metrics that help prove the viability of your business model.

Let’s chat on Twitter.

What Innovation Tools Are The Most Popular: Lean Startup, Business Model Canvas, Disruptive Innovation ..?

innovation tools compared

Today, more than ever, companies looking to create new growth have tools at their hand to help reduce risk and increase the odds of success.

The Google Trends chart above shows a selection of “The Fantastic Four” and their relative interest over time.

Historically, Blue Ocean Strategy sees the most interest, but is slightly declining. Disruptive Innovation sees less interest among the four, but is growing. Both Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas are rapidly growing. The chart speaks for itself. But the comparison is only as good as what people search for on the web.

Although the frameworks take different angles on innovation, they are not mutually exclusive. They overlap and complement each other. And in many ways the later frameworks build upon the former, applying similar concepts in new wrapping.

In innovation there is no one-size-fits-all. So rather than looking at what are the popular tools, companies should look at what are the right tools.

Personally I find it useful taking a modular, “lego-like” approach, combining and distilling the methods into tailored frameworks, which is what I will look at in my next posts.

What methods and tools do you use? How do you combine them?

Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to stay tuned.

3 More Proven Templates For Writing Value Propositions That Work

value proposition examples and templates

Your value proposition is the first, and often the only, opportunity you have to make an impression on a prospective customer, user, or investor.

Research shows that the attention span of a person may be as short as 8 seconds before their mind starts wandering. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your copy.

Since readers seemed to find my 7 Proven Templates For Writing Value Propositions That Work useful for overcoming this hurdle and writing value propositions, I thought I’d share 3 more proven templates and examples.

#1 Clay Christensen’s Jobs-to-be-done

According to Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen, designing an innovative customer value proposition begins with genuinely understanding the customer’s jobs-to-be-done (JTBD).

JTBD is not a product, service, or a specific solution; it’s the higher purpose for which customers buy products, services, and solutions. Its premise is that customers don’t really buy products. They “hire” them to do a job. Instead of asking what products customers want to buy, the JTBD method asks what fundamental problems they hope to address.

The authors of The Innovator’s Toolkit suggest using a “job statement” to describe a JTBD.

Template

Action verb: _________

Object of action: _________

Contextual identifier: _________.

Sample(s)

“Manage (action verb) personal finances (object of action) at home (contextual identifier)”.

“Preserving fun memories.” (Kodak’s Funsaver)

“Listen to music while jogging.”

#2 Simon Sinek’s WHY

According to Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” Sinek’s Golden Circle framework shows you how to turn an idea into a social movement by leading a focus on WHY.

This step-by-step process teaches you to clarify your Why, articulate your Hows, and the importance of being consistent in What you do.

Template

Why: ___________

How: ___________

What: ___________

Sample(s)

Why: In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.

How: The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.

What: We just happen to make computers.

#3 The Minto Pyramid aka SCQA

SCQA – Situation, Complication, Question, and Answer – also known as The Minto Pyramid Principle, helps you organize ideas to write compelling business documents. It be memos, presentations, emails, blog posts or – key to all the former – value propositions.

Template

Situation – describe what is the current situation

Complication – describe the issue in the situation

Question – describe the question in response to the issue

Answer  - suggest answer to ease out or mitigate the issue

Sample(s)

With the rise of smartphones and online video the use of data has exploded.

As a result, however, wireless networks become congested and slow.

How can mobile operators increase their quality of service?

Our patented routing algorithm helps mobile operators radically increase throughput.

Want more? See my post on 7 Proven Templates and Examples For Writing Value Propositions That Work or subscribe to get tips and tricks in your inbox.

When Co-founders Become Thieves: How My Startup Got Robbed and Why I Couldn’t Do Much About It

startup co-founder thievesWTF!?, I cried as I discovered that half of all the company’s cash equivalents had been withdrawn from its bank account. But when I found out who had made the withdrawal, I realized we had not been screwed. We had been robbed. The investors’ money, my face. It was gone.

A short week earlier the company had held a board meeting. The director of the board and my partner (who I will keep anonymous) had naturally resigned, arguing that he wanted to focus on private matters. The board had been discussing the change of board seats and settlements, but disagreed. I have never ever witnessed such an unprofessional behavior from anyone I’ve trusted in business.

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Turn Your Blog Into a Lean Startup and Business Model Design Tool

Business Model Canvas for WordPress

Business Model Press is based on Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

Blogging is not only useful for introducing ideas. It’s also the primary way many companies communicate with and get feedback from their customers – making blogging a killer opportunity for business model- and customer development.

After having more than 100 students and 20 startup teams doing exactly that – blog their business model – I learned that it helped the teams systemize collaboration, speed up the learning process, get going with customer development and more quickly take action on their business model assumptions.

Yet, the teams still had to download the business model canvas, convert it into a picture, upload it to PowerPoint, take notes on top of it, and store it as a new picture. Following, they had to upload, resize, and import it to the editorial before finally publishing – and repeat for each and every iteration of the business model. Not very efficient.

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Heads-up on TechCrunch’s Take at Norwegian Startups: How The Problem Is The Problem

Norwegian Startup Troll

See the full article on ArcticStartup.

TechCrunch recently published a timely article questioning if Norway is leaving its tech startups out in the cold. Here’s why the discussion needs another angle and the problem in fact is the problem.

Mike Butcher starts out comparing the ones of Spotify, Rovio, Tradeshift, and Everbread to the lack of evidence of successful startups from Norway, even pondering upon Opera as a half-fledged success. The arguments are as half the truth as pointing at Bipper and Wonderloop (both Norwegian semi-expats) as examples of the opposite.

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