Queen's Necklace

Do you wonder how many thousands of web sites there are? Does the world really need another one? What makes your site different – why would a reader come your way instead of mine? What’s your value proposition?

What’s a Value Proposition?

A while back Shaun from Smart Money Finance posted a question in the Yakezie Forum “Do you know why people read your blog?”. Not too many bloggers posted a reply and I believe I know why. It is very difficult to find and stick to your value proposition. In Shaun’s words “Simply put, a customer value proposition is a short statement explaining your product and why consumers will benefit from it. It’s used in business strategy to help identify how to position companies in the marketplace.”
In the business class I took (Fast Trac New Venture), one of the hardest things we had to do was to come up with a short (less than 75 word) description of what our business value differentiators were – our value proposition.
I ended up with “FamilyMoneyValues’ focus is on families using their values to keep their wealth and their family’s well being intact across multiple generations. It offers information on what to do with wealth after you have it, not how to get it. We collect, evaluate and publish information that is targeted to our customer’s wealth interests without intent to persuade them on a certain course of action”.
Later I shortened this to a mission statement of “Our mission at FamilyMoneyValues is to help families use their values to keep their wealth and well being for generations to come”.
Still later, I really shortened it to a tag line of “FamilyMoneyValues – helping families maintain and build wealth for generations”.
Although coming up with this was hard, sticking to it may be even more difficult. My blog’s message get’s diluted with marketing efforts such as round ups and giveaways. Finding relevant topics is sometimes difficult – sometimes causing me to post off topic or with another focus.

Why Bother with a Value Proposition?

Finding your value proposition is critical to your success, according to Marketing Experiments. They provide a scale to rate your value proposition and show a formula which indicates that your rating is twice as important to the success or failure of your business as things like your marketing channel and the amount of traffic it has or the presentation of your site or the product offer you make.
Their 1-5 scale is broken down as follows:
0 – No real value proposition (a full-price retail product that can be bought anywhere).
1 – Limited value to a small market. There is extensive competition and/or few barriers to entry.
2 – Substantial value to a medium-sized market. There is limited competition and/or significant barriers to entry.
3 – A product or service with strong product differentiation, but little competitive protection.
4 – A unique product or service that is highly valuable to a large market, and strong competitive protection and/or extensive barriers to entry. This may take the form of a registered patent or limited access to product components.
5 – A unique product or service that is highly valuable to a large market, and exclusive or near-exclusive control of essential product components. This may also include a registered patent.
Lets face it folks, there is extensive competition and very few barriers to starting a web site or developing an electronic product. There are a limited number of popular topics to cover with zero protection against our competitors covering them. So how do you differentiate your web site?

How to Differentiate Your Web Site or Product?

Entrepreneur Magazine’s article Three Ways to Find an Edge in a Crowded Market describes the following:

1. Personalize your customer service. Look for ways to offer a personalized experience and interactive features that make your product or service more user-friendly. “When you’re just a content site, users usually find you on Google,” he says. As a social-networking site, “there’s far more trust and credibility, as well as engagement.”
2. Be a trendsetter and redefine a common product or service. Don’t just keep up with trends in your industry, be the trendsetter and blaze your own trail.
3. Cater to an overlooked, under served slice of the market. Rather than trying to serve every customer, cater to the ones that have unique needs.
Other ideas he mentions are to:
  • Use customer ideas.
  • Buy competitors.
  • Be more flexible than the competition.
Tom Treanor of the Business Blogging Telesummit posted these suggestions in Charles Darwins 12 Rules of Blogging Survival on Pro Blogger:
  1. Be the best teacher in your niche – explain things others don’t think need explaining.
  2. Be more personal than your competitors.
  3. Be funnier.
  4. Say what everyone thinks (helps you get agreement with your posts).
  5. Be an expert in a specific sub niche.
  6. Be more extremely different than others.
  7. Have a bigger vision – align your blog with a higher goal.
  8. Be more creative, write with different style, structure, use different media.
  9. Network with other bloggers, companies differently – go places others aren’t going. To put it in his words “Spread your tentacles where your competitors never dreamed of going by guest posting, blog commenting or connecting with other bloggers in those industries”.
  10. Be the best organizer of meaningful content from others – giving credit where credit is due.
  11. Be a news site Niche for your industry – news blogs can do very well because they get lots of shares, links, SEO benefits and subscribers. Just have a plan for getting regular, high-quality updates onto your site.
  12. Work harder and grab more virtual land than the rest of them.

The Guardian ran a series of posts on how to build a profitable blog. To differentiate content, the student blogger in the series learned that the design of the blog; the personal voice used; the length of the post; the frequency of the post; the angle she takes on the topic and niche; and whether or not there is more than one writer for the blog are some of the ways to differentiate.

Examples of Value Propositions

eBay’s value proposition is making inefficient markets efficient.According to Meg Whitman in 2003 ”We do that by providing a forum that’s an efficient market for buyers and sellers to connect, for products that typically don’t have an efficient distribution system. Products have a life cycle — first they’re new and scarce, and then it goes into in-season retail, then it becomes overstocked or obsolete or returned merchandise, and ultimately it becomes used and vintage.The market for in-season retail is very efficient. There are many in-season retailers, all of whom battle each other every day for lowest price. With the tails of that product life cycle, the ability of buyers and sellers to connect is not nearly as efficient. That’s what eBay offers — an efficient market for buyers and sellers to connect on those product categories.”
Wise Breads value proposition: “Wise Bread is a community of bloggers here to help you live large on a small budget. Despite what you may have heard, you don’t have to sacrifice your financial independence to enjoy life.”
Financial Samurai’s value proposition: “Share your thoughts freely without fear of persecution on all things personal finance related.  A personal finance site for those who already get the basics.”
Wall street Journal’s value proposition: “WSJ online coverage of breaking news and current headlines from the US and around the world. Top stories, photos, videos, detailed analysis and in-depth reporting.”
About the author: Marie blogs at Family Money Values. She wants to help families understand the potential consequences of wealth. She encourages visitors to take the long view and pull all family generations together to nourish the family legacy and wealth.  Go check her out!


I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, learn how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one. 

Leverage the 3+ billion internet users and build your brand online. There are professional bloggers now who make way more than bankers, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs while having much more fun, much more freedom, and doing less work. Get started. You never know where the journey will take you!

Updated for 2017 and beyond.