Behaviourally effective websites, part 2: Communicating value

Phew! You’ve passed the first test in making your website behaviourally effective so that you maximise sales and sign-ups: you’ve established confidence in the mind of your website visitor so they know they’re on the right site and they think you are credible enough to consider. Now it’s up to you to communicate your value, so let’s look at how.

It’s about the problem, not about you

Imagine you’re on a date and the person you are with blabs on and on about themselves. Pretty soon you lose interest. That’s how many websites present themselves to their prospective customers – they talk about how great they are, their philosophy and how they give to charity. This might be great information to share, but not yet.

The most important thing to do before you talk about ‘why you’ is answer “What problem is my visitor looking to solve?” This is an essential and neglected step in winning your visitor’s business because it connects your offer to the problem they are looking to solve. You are proving that you are on their wavelength. It is also the hardest step of my Five Essentials to an Effective Website to get right.

There are four components of a communicating value:
1. Articulate the problem your visitor has,
2. explain how you solve this problem,
3. describe the payoff (WIIFM), and
4. explain why only you can do this (unique differentiation).

Here are a couple of examples of who is doing it well.

Survey Monkey


Figure 1 Survey Monkey nails its value proposition

Survey Monkey do a brilliant job of communicating value to their visitors, understanding that people do surveys to get answers. They step out the process (Design, Collect, Analyse) and ensure the copy is written from the perspective of their customer “Build your own…”. What they don’t do is clarify why only they can do this – their unique differentiation is missing.

Contrast this with another online survey software provider. Here the copy is written in bragging style “There’s a reason why our customers think we are the best survey tool” which doesn’t speak to the problem their visitors have – looking for a way to get answers – and is not written from the visitor’s perspective.

Pod Legal


Figure 2 Less effective Value Proposition

Pod Legal are taking a fresh approach to legal services, and what I like about how they communicate value is the approach they use to tap into a problem their market has faced with fees. While the copy is written from the perspective of Pod Legal (“We do…”) it works because it gets to the heart of the visitor’s concern and is refreshing in its bluntness. It clearly invokes their unique differentiation by inferring that others do not stick to their quotes – in behavioural terms they are using loss aversion to create anxiety in the visitor about risking their money by using a different law firm.


Figure 3 Pod Legal are clear about the problem they solve

This type of positioning also shows a level of courage – Pod Legal are banking on their target market being more concerned about fees than what types of legal issues are handled. For me, this raises a question as to whether this proposition can remain sufficiently differentiated and whether they will need to draw on more of their points of difference to counteract competitors who can match their fixed fee promise.

From the outside in

The trick to Communicating Value is to put yourself in the position of your ideal client performing a search to resolve a problem that is on their mind.

Look at your website from the outside, in. Does it communicate your understanding of that problem and why you can solve it, or does it assume that people visiting the site will make the leap? Remember, just like on a date it’s less about you, more about them. Make them feel like you’re the only one for them and you might just seal the deal!

Bri Williams runs People Patterns Pty Ltd, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues. Bri is a presenter, consultant and author who you can find out more about at, or by following on Twitter @peoplepatterns.




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