Defining your value proposition: standing out against the competition

By Alice Brown

Business TipsBusiness Tips

You’re not the only one vying for the attention of your ideal customers 

Demand for epic experiences is growing — research from travel experts Roadbook found that in 2022, the global adventure tourism industry was valued at $292 billion USD, with the expectation of that surpassing the trillion dollar mark by the end of the decade. 

So there’s growing potential. But as the marketplace becomes more crowded, it is harder and harder to stand out.  

When businesses start out (or are stuck for things to say), often, their first port of call is checking out the competition. They see businesses they aspire to be like. With the perspective of: ‘if they’re doing well, I’ll just do the same and I’ll be fine’.

They regurgitate what they’ve seen before. And so your prospective customers start to see beige messaging, unoriginal marketing, and copy-cat copy. 

When experiential businesses simply mimic their competitors, no one stands out. 

That makes it harder for prospective customers to pick a favorite: there’s no differentiation between all their options. Website scrollers stop paying attention. There’s no real connection between you and them. 

When a reported 21.46% of web users say they’ll leave a site if there’s no clear message, the financial implication of unconverted website traffic gains gravity. 

Don’t run the risk of sounding like everyone else.

If you want to hook your prospective customers and website scrollers from the offset, grabbing them by the scruff of their plaid shirt collar and reeling them in, you need to stand out. 

If you want to cut through the noise and speak to the desires and aspirations of your ideal customers, read on to get the three ingredients that make your home page sticky.

[Now, when I say ‘sticky’, I don’t mean like the gum you stood on last week and it’s still making that sucky noise as you amble down the sidewalk. I’m talking about using messages that ‘stick’ in the heads and hearts of your customers. We’re talking about being memorable…]

Become ‘sticky’, and your dream clientele no-longer wants to check out your competitors. 

And you could see your website traffic spending 35% more time on your website than before. Or a 60% boost in your revenue per instructor.

For this, you’ll need a clear value proposition.

“What is a value proposition?”

It’s a statement that conveys what you do, who you do it for, and what makes you different.

What insights do you need to write your business’ value proposition?

To make sure you resonate with your ideal customers, the key is to get inside their heads. You’ve got to understand their experiences, motivations, and pain points. 

Apologies to anyone reading this who might be into Ouija boards or Mystic Meg but I don’t believe telepathy is real. You want to ask your customers questions rather than assuming or feeling like you get the general gist of why they bought from you.

Speaking with recent customers will help you gather valuable feedback while their experience is still fresh in their minds. 

These 3 questions are key:

  1. “How would they describe the experience that we offer?”
  2. “What motivated you to seek out a company offering experiences like ours?”
  3. “Which of our competitors were you looking at alongside us (and what did you like/dislike about them)?”

In an ideal world, sit down on Zoom with your past customers. Or ask them when they arrive at your activity center. 

As customers share their thoughts and feelings, pay close attention to the language they use. Transcribe the conversation, if possible.

To be totally transparent, the first few interviews I conducted for my own clients — they were pretty wobbly. But once you’ve got three or four under your belt, confidence grows and you get the hang of it. 

But you can always ask these questions in an anonymous, online survey if you’re not so comfortable doing this face-to-face. 

You could even use the customer outreach feature inside Checkfront to set up an email that automatically gets sent to customers after they’ve visited you, asking them for feedback on their experience. That means you’ll be getting fresh insights to develop your value proposition, without even needing to be sitting at a screen.

You’ll uncover the deciding factors that ultimately convinced them to choose your business over others, highlighting your unique differentiators (and particularly the differentiators that they care about the most).

How do you use these insights to hook new customers?

In your home page headline. It’s that simple.

Why? Your home page headline (the first — and usually the biggest — title you usually read on a web page) is the first thing people’s eyes are drawn to.

The role of your headline is to get someone to keep reading — to get them excited to learn more. Then they’re far more motivated to keep scrolling until they get to your Checkfront bookings widget that’s embedded at the bottom of your homepage. 

This one sentence has the power to boost your bottom line.

If a prospective customer’s eye is immediately drawn to these larger stand-out sentences, surely you want the first bit of text they see to speak to their desires and aspirations?!

To stand out, you want to use the responses from your customer interviews in your home page headline. (Remember the 3 questions you should ask your customers? Scroll back up the page, if not.)

You’re going to search through your responses to gather these 3 ingredients, but from the perspective of your customer:

  • What do you offer?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why are you different?

Combining these three ingredients into one simple statement (or a couple of short sentences) will create your value proposition.

Using your value proposition for your home page headline is a really effective and efficient way to get your customers’ attention from the word GO. 

Here are a few examples of great value proposition headlines:

Making over-fire cooking less exclusive

Experience #1: The Salt Box

  • What do they offer? Cooking over fire courses 
  • Who is it for? People who want to create delicious meals
  • Why are they different? It’s a relaxed environment (The Salt Box’s competitors were all beardy, uber-masculine brands — did you notice it’s a woman’s hand stirring the pot in the hero image, too?) 

Exploring the most remote parts of Scotland  

Experience #2: Shetland Wool Adventures

  • What do they offer? Journals about Shetland heritage, as well as knitting & hiking tours 
  • Who is it for? Curious creatives
  • Why are they different? Their ethos is around experiencing Shetland like a local (the magazines that they were competing against were somewhat emotionless, and the other tours operating on the island felt quite corporate)

Bringing elite-level tuition to Average Joe

Experience #3: Surf Simply

  • What do they offer? Technical surfing coaching 
  • Who is it for? Surfers
  • Why are they different? Anyone and everyone can have access to advanced surfing tuition: it isn’t just limited to sponsored professionals

Final thoughts 

Using words and phrases gathered from customer interviews and surveys can articulate the value you provide in a way that resonates more deeply than any marketing jargon could. You’re seeing your business through their eyes.

That is what will get them to pay attention to you.

One final thing to consider: does the prospective customer have to scroll down the page at all to see your value proposition? If yes, you’re not communicating it soon enough.

If they’re going to be forming their first impression of you in as little as 50 milliseconds then it’s paramount that they’re presented this info as soon as the page loads. 

The quicker you can hook ‘em, the more likely they are to stick around on your website. 

The more your headline resonates with them (and the ‘stickier’ you become), the longer they’ll stay on your website… which means they are significantly more likely to hit your ‘Book Now’ button. Bingo.

Take your business to the next level

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This article was written by Alice Brown, founder of Alice Writes Copy  — a conversion copywriting company that specialises in website and email copy for experiential businesses.

Obsessed with the sea and snow, she has spent over 15 years in the outdoor and adventure sports industry (being a proud Checkfront client when she ran a ski school in Japan)

Her work is dedicated to exploring the friction points and psychological barriers that are holding your prospective customers back from getting outside their comfort zone and trying something new that will impact their well-being.