John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and this is “Digital Marketing Madness.” This podcast is brought to you by McDougall Interactive. We’re an Internet marketing agency in greater Boston.
Today, my guest is Bob Rustici, Director of Paid Search. Our topic is highlighting value in PPC ads and landing page copy. Welcome, Bob.
Bob Rustici: Hey, John. How’re you doing?
John: Good. Bob, a value prop, or value proposition, is an old‑school marketing issue. Does it matter in online advertising?
Bob: Yes, very much. If you look at part of that conversion trinity that we talked about before, this is one of the aspects of establishing value. You can’t necessarily establish value through your ads or landing page unless you understand what your value prop is.
You have to go back to the basics, and ask yourself, “What’s so unique about our business?” What’s important is that people still read ads. They still like to consume information when they go on the Internet.
That hasn’t changed, even as much as we have a very small amount of time, and we like to get things done quickly.
John: We tend to maybe ignore some of the ads, when we want to get things done, or whatever, but they’re still there, and we still click on them.
Bob: We’re still looking at the landing page, starting to get something. They still wanted to be shopped a little bit. They want to be able to say, “OK, tell me. Convince me that you’re the right person that I should be doing business with.”
John: Clearly when you’re doing a search for anything online, you’re looking for the answer to some sort of question that you have, whether it’s a product that you’re looking for, or a service that you’re looking for. You’re making comparisons between what you see, whether it’s the information that you get from one site versus another site — which one of those websites is going to give me the information that I need, or the product that I am looking for?
Bob: You can’t expect people to just…You can’t close the sale just in the first introduction. So your value prop is what’s going to help you align yourself with, “Is this the right place to be dealing with?”
That’s very much — also, it should be in tune with the search journey, because there could be some things like — obviously, in a traditional value prop that a lot of people get focused on is “free shipping”.
Free shipping could be a little bit early in the stage. Maybe they’re not really ready to buy. Maybe they still want to have advice as to, “What is the best product for me?” They may be looking for experts on call, 7/24. That could be a smart value prop to lead with.
When there’s certain terms in the journey that makes sense; when there’s, “Compare,” “What is the best,” they’re still in the early stages of trying to figure out, “What is going to work for me?”
John: The value prop at its most basic is just what sets you apart, or what makes you different from the competitor.
Bob: Yeah. These also, it’s the right solution. You’re trying to align for your ideal customer. There’s an old rule that 20 percent of your customers actually drive 80 percent of your business. Those are your ideal customers. Those are the ones that fit your profile.
Really, what you want to think when you start establishing your value prop is, “is that really in line with that kind of customer” that is, “I just want more of those customers.”
That’s another aspect of when you sit down, and sort of go through a value prop.
Best Practices for Creating a Killer Value Proposition
John: So what are the best practices, or strategies, for creating a killer value prop?
Bob: That takes work. Again, you go back to the old‑school things of doing things. Really, to get a value prop, you should talk it out.
You can talk it out with your customers, with some of your customers that you trust. Go back to them, and just say, “Hey, what attracted you to our business? What do you find that’s how we separate from the other ones?”
Then within your team, within your sales force. You go back into the sales force, and ask them. Say, “When you’re trying to sell, what seems to resonate really well?” You really want to talk it out as much as you can.
John: Right. Utilize the resources that you have ‑‑ your customers, and your sales team.
Bob: Then hone that in. Start creating that elevator pitch, the old classic, “You only get about 30 seconds to declare what we’re really good at, what we’re about.”
John: It’s the same way with an ad, and with the landing page, as well.
Bob: Your value prop has got to have a real quick, concise message that people can figure out. Even try test marketing it a little. Go out and check out the competition.
Do you see their value prop? Do you like it? Does it resonate with you? Does it seem to be kind of working for you? Establish that.
You want to make sure you stand out in the pack, so to speak.
John: If all your competitors are doing free shipping, and you are too, then saying, “Free shipping,” isn’t really…Maybe you still want to say, “Free shipping,” but it isn’t setting you apart from anybody.
Bob: You’re going to yawn a little bit if you’re looking at everyone else’s, and they’re going to yawn at yours. Try to really kind of think of what it is that — you should be truthful. You don’t want to get too far out there.
John: Right, saying “Twenty‑four‑hour customer service”, and then on the website it says that you only take calls during the day, or something.
Bob: “We’ll deliver this to you, personally, to your door.” If you can’t do those things…
John: Don’t over promise.
Bob: You don’t want to over promise, but again, try to figure out some way that kind of stands you out a little bit.
John: What else?
Bob: It’s kind of a fundamental thing about your value prop, looking at it and saying, “OK, will it actually compel people to convert?” If they really feel like…
You know, I’ve read some things — I’m picking on free shipping, I get fixated on free shipping — a lot of what’s going to make people convert ends up being sometimes with the business community. It’s not free shipping they really care about, it’s rush shipping, because time is important for them.
I’ve seen some studies where they’ve done this, so their value prop changed from, “free shipping,” to, “rush shipping,” and they saw a much higher conversion rate coming from that.
John: There’s a vendor that I use for podcasting and recording equipment, video equipment, things like that. We’re in Massachusetts, they’re in New York. If I purchase something from them, I can usually have it the next day, or the second day at the most.
That makes me go back to them time and time again when I want something.
Bob: You have to look at that perspective, too. It could be the type of the segmentation of your customers. It may matter to them in that. Really ask yourself, “What’s converting there?”
That, again, will sort of clarify what sort of value prop you want to have.
John: Creating value is the last step before you get to a call to action, where somebody is actually taking an action, filling out a form, or making a purchase. How does the value prop relate to that next step, and all that?
Relating Your Value Prop to Your Call To Action
Bob: That’s a good question. Often, we take value props like “We’re really great guys,” and then our call to action says, “Talk to us”, “Contact us,” and think that that’s going to be enough of a compelling reason for people to get motivated to click on the call to action.
You really want to, instead, look at are you offering the right solution. Is there a way that you’re actually getting people to feel compelled that, “I’m already sold that, one, that you’re the right solution for me, and two, your call to action clearly says I’m going to get that answer from you.”
It could be like a whitepaper download, it could be a, “Talk to our experts.” Something as simple as changing the call to action from, “Contact us,” to, “Connect with our experts,” could be something where they’re in a situation where they put high importance on good advice, that’s going to be something that’s much more interesting to them.
John: The actual text that’s in that call to action, whether it’s on the button, or next to the button, or whatever, what it is that that says, you want to A/B test that, and see…
Bob: A/B test it. Make sure, again, it’s kind of going back to your value prop, if you just establish this value, and does your call to action reflect that, that it’s going to answer that call.
John: What else?
Bob: One of the things that I always kind of get a little bit nervous about is just doing a, “Contact us,” as this sort of catchall. Actually, that’s the least interesting of the call to actions, because you’re really not compelling them to say something.
“Set up an appointment,” kind of things that make sense, “Get a free request,” stuff like that.
John: Just the basic, “Contact us,” isn’t always the best type of call-to-action.
Bob: It really doesn’t strengthen you as, “Yeah, I ought to contact you.”
John: As opposed to, “Download our ebook now,” or like you said…
Bob: “Get helpful advice.”
John: “Get helpful advice.” “Talk to our experts,” or something like that.
John: Great, well, that’s excellent information, Bob. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Bob: Yeah, it was great.
John: And for more information about digital marketing, visit McDougallInteractive.com, and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.
Thanks for listening. I’m John Maher, and see you next time on Digital Marketing Madness.