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Thursday, Jul. 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Conversion Rate Exercise: Communicating Value

By Bryan Eisenberg
July 16th, 2009

shutterstock_magnifying glassOur last conversion rate exercise asked you to perform several very simple exercises to answer the question for your visitor: why she should  do business with you. Did you come up with a good TweetVP and identify the 25 interesting things about your business?

There are dozens of these exercises that you need to do to achieve the proper fitness level for maximum persuasionability.

Today, I’d like you to focus on identifying the value that your visitor needs, while differentiating yourself from your competitors. This exercise works equally well for retail as it does for business to business products or services.

First, how this works for retail:

Pick a few of your products and find the same model (or something similar if you are selling non-branded items) on at least 2 of your competitors’ websites.

Print off the product descriptions for each and as you go through your product description find the copy on your competitors’ descriptions that say approximately the same thing (even if it is in slightly different words).

A Retail Example:

As a working example, I’ll choose the digital camera Sony DSC-W80 (it’s a bit older now and fewer retailers have it in stock today). Take a look at the description for the Sony DSC-W80 from these retailers below:

sony dscw80 circuitcity

sonydsc-w80 more circuitcity

Amazon.com_ Sony Cybershot DSCW80 7.2MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and Super Steady Shot (Silver)_ Electronics

retailer x Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 7.2MP Digital Camera(Silver) DSC-W80

They all are pretty much identical in what they say. They may say it in different formats, some in sparse bullet points, others with the details a bit more fleshed out, but essentially they aren’t providing the visitor with any unique, new information from which to make a purchase decision.

This is what Amazon figured out early is one of the advantages of having review information. If all you are going to provide is the manufacture information, you can not communicate anything of value differently to your visitors other than price (and competing on price alone is not the best strategy).

Unless of course you’re in a commodity business, in which case the only thing to communicate that has any value is your differentiator. What would you bet that all the retailers above would strongly object to being described as being the commodity business — despite that by their action and inaction they are treating their product precisely like a undifferentiated commodity.

So once you realize there is nothing very different in your description from your competitors,¬† how can you find out what is of value to your visitors? In Amazon’s case it is reviews. Let’s look at the summary of reviews for this product on Amazon using the Pluribo plugin for Firefox:

amazon pluribo w80

Almost all the reviews talk about the speed of the camera as a key benefit. Now go back to all those retailers and notice how not one listed speed anywhere in the description. This is where all the customers are seeing “value” in this camera –¬† don’t you think your visitors who haven’t yet made that decision to buy might find “speed” as important? What you should be doing is incorporating copy that plays on speed as an important aspect of the product. If you don’t have the benefit of all these reviews, it is your responsibility if you want increased sales to find out these key benefits and communicate them. Someone is going to sell that camera to that customer — and if it’s isn’t you, then that’s your fault.

B2B Product or Services Example

On the B2B side, let’s look at online meeting or conferencing software as an example, since so many people are familiar with it.

If most of what you are saying is that you can easily give presentations on both Mac and PCs, that people can meet online all across the globe, that you can use the product for training, sales or collaboration, is that seriously enough to differentiate you from all your other competitors? As Bruno might say, “Ich don’t think so.”

Take a look at competitors who offer similar solutions and focus on the benefits that differentiate you. You still need to include some of these basics so that people know that you work on both the Mac and PC — because if all your competitors offer the same benefit it almost “converts” the benefit into a plain ol’ feature –¬† but you need to find out why your potential customers would choose you over your competitors.

Keep in mind as you (and your competitors) evolve your online efforts, you need to evolve this approach as well.

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Comments (21)

  1. [...] Conversion Rate Exercise: Communicating Value… ¬† Conversion Rate Marketing [...]

  2. Hey Bryan,

    I absolutely LOVE this exercise. By taking a few extra minutes to really think through the value proposition, much better results can be achieved. I particularly like your point about pulling language from customer reviews. So much can be gained from listening to customers, really understanding their perspectives, and then speaking to them in their language.

    Also, props for getting in a Bruno quote. Way to stay relevant. :-)

  3. great excerise, had never thought about actually targeting the reviews for product overviews. I have some copy to update.

    Thanks heaps!

  4. [...] I love GrokDotCom’s “Communicating Value” exercises. Give the exercise a try and see how it works for [...]

  5. Another great exercise. I call it the “scratch out, write in” exercise, especially when applied to ads. “Scratch out” your name from your ad and “write in” your competitor’s. And vice versa.

    Does it really make any difference?

    If not, doing the sort of analysis you’re talking about here is invaluable in understanding– and then COMMUNICATING– your unique value.

  6. Thank you for this. It is great to be reminded about something that is easy to do to differentiate myself from my competitors. Common sense approaches rock! So much work to do.

  7. Communicating value to consumers can be very difficult to portray through you site. This is why I’m still a proponent of traditional trade shows. This allows you to meet clients face to face and makes it far easier to communicate value, listen to their feedback and determine a solution that will be mutually beneficial.

  8. Wow. Gotta strongly disagree with “Promotional Products.” Over the last 25 years I’ve gone to over a hundred tradeshows all over the world in industries ranging from Automotive to Web Marketing and can count on one hand the number that I’d trade for a well-designed direct mail or web-based campaign.

    Certainly some sales are best suited to one-to-one, executive level sales (after all, I DO consult/facilitate in Business Acumen and C-Level Sales workshops, myself), but Bryan, I suspect this comment has been caught in your email filter for about ten years– July 25, 1999 sounds about right.

  9. Great post, Brian. The “25 things” exercise is a good way to think of it. I’d appreciate seeing a set of superior UVP examples sometime as a post. Is that available on the blog and I’ve just missed it?

  10. perfect!
    i like this post
    Communicating value to consumers is very difficult.
    Listening to their feedback is a good option which benefits a lot.

  11. Interesting approach to analyze Amazon reviews with the Pluribo plugin! Hope they update it for the newer Firefox versions!

  12. Good approach , from this review we can analyze how much revenue generate by Amazon and same e bay these are biggest competitors

  13. B2b products trading is too much profitable in my point of view because everything around the boundry

  14. B2B and C2C both have trading based but online product selling is the best source ever.

  15. Marketing inside the cover areas is very progressive . best opportunity during the business rounds like B2B marketing is very efficient.

  16. what is the difference in C2C and B2B any kind of working criteria differ in both .

  17. Thank you for this. It is great to be reminded about something that is easy to do to differentiate myself from my competitors.

  18. B2B market is much better for the control upward the business.

  19. Finest level for improve the business how to grow up the exercises. Kindly more same like Retail Examples. Need more

  20. Business market is much complex

  21. B2b products trading is profitable in a good way.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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