Planning Your App – What’s Your Value Proposition?

In this article we’ll go over your app’s value proposition – what is that, what do we mean, why this is important. This is a multi-part series on planning your app before you start any development so that you start right and build a great product.

What is a value proposition?

To quote the dictionary, it means ‘an innovation, service or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers’. This boils down to what is the problem you’re solving, or the promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason someone should buy from you.

Essentially it is a statement that clearly does that following:

  • Explains how your product or service will solve your customer’s problems or improve their situation (describes who this is relevant to)
  • Shows clear and specific benefits (i.e. quantified value)
  • Tells your ideal customer why they should buy from you instead of from the competition (your unique differentiation)

Your value proposition is something you’d have to present to to your visitors or users as the first thing they’ll see, and should be visible in most if not all of your website or marketing entry points.

It’s meant to be for people to read and understand, so that they can clearly see if your app is intended for them, solves a problem they have, and what results it can deliver.

NB in this article we talk about a product or service quite a bit. This could be a product or service your company sells, potentially through your app, or it could be the app itself.

What makes up a value proposition?

Your value proposition would usually be a block of text that contains a headline, sub-headline and a paragraph of text, along with a visual like a hero shot, photo or graphic. There’s isn’t any specific right way to create this, but an approach that works well is to follow the below formula:

  • Headline: In 1 short sentence, describe the end benefit that you app delivers. You can mention the product and / or the customer, but either way it should grab a visitors attention.
  • Sub-headline or short 2-3 sentence paragraph. This would be a specific explanation of what your app would do, or what the offer is, as well as who it’s useful for and why.
  • 3 bullet points listing the key benefits. You could list features too, but listing benefits usually conveys what the app does, rather than the technical ‘how’ which is easier for potential users to connect with the potential value of the app.
  • Visual. Images can communicate a lot faster than words. This is an opportunity to show the app off, with screenshots, hero shots etc that reinforce the main message.

You could evaluate your current value proposition by checking whether it answers the following questions:

  • What product or service is your company selling?
  • What is the end-benefit of using the product or service?
  • Who is the target customer for this product or service?
  • What makes your offering unique and different from the competition?

Use the formula above (headline-paragraph-bullets-visual) to answer the questions and structure your value proposition.

How does this relate to planning your app?

Glad you asked 🙂 Well it comes down to what problem your app will solve, and the overall approach to the app. When you first engage with a developer to build your app, it helps a tremendous amount if you could provide a clear value proposition. This can really help to guide what features the app needs, where to expand or cut the budget on required vs nice to have features, and ultimately what would make the project a success. For example, you could have a list of features that you’d like built into an app, and your developer goes ahead and creates all of these features, but then you realise at the end that it doesn’t deliver on being able to solve a problem or serve your customers.

It really boils down to knowing who your target customers are, what are the critical features or services needed to deliver the benefits or results your customers need, and guides the whole development approach.

A good development team would also be able to offer advice on how to deliver the benefits rather than simply building features – this could ultimately mean a more cost-effective approach, or at the very least and far better return on your investment in the project.

Where to from here?

First thing is to get clear on your value proposition. Use the formula and questions above to guide you, and figure out what your value proposition is. The next step is using the value proposition to help define your goals, which we’ll cover in a future post.

 


 

About Stephen Fourie

I've been a professional software developer since 2004, and running GEM since 2010. I've developed software for many different industries including automotive, logistics, finance and entertainment. I'm the GM at GEM Custom Apps where we build custom web and mobile apps for businesses.I love my wife, my dog, cars and gadgets. And coffee! I'm an Ironman 70.3 finisher, beginner skateboarder, xbox gamer and digital nomad :)