In today’s episode, we’re talking about how to increase the value proposition of your group program. Whether it’s an online course, membership, mastermind, or some other kind of group offer.
I talk about value proposition a lot, but most of the time we talk about value proposition through the lens of one-to-one offers or your business services overall.
Today, I wanted to make sure that we focus down specifically on the value proposition of a group program because there are some nuances for group programs in particular.
Let’s dive in!
If you’ve followed me and read this podcast for a while, you probably already have a good understanding of what value proposition is. But if you want a little refresh, value proposition is the gap between where someone is before working with you, and where they are after working with you.
It is the value of that gap in the eyes of the buyer.
This is really important, and it’s part of the nuance of value proposition that not a lot of people talk about.
You could perceive the value of that gap to be quite high…
For example, let’s say you help people get a good night’s sleep.
You know how valuable that is. You know it contributes to someone’s health and well-being, their brain capacity, and many other things.
What value do you put on a good night’s sleep as a sleep specialist? Well, you’re going to put a lot of value on that.
But people in your audience may not ascribe the same value.
For them, it would be nice to have a longer night’s sleep or a better night’s sleep. But they’re surviving on five hours a night right now. It may be pretty rushed, but they’re doing okay so it’s not that big of a deal to them.
See how that perception of the value is very different between those two people?
It’s the same reason why I don’t recommend that you go into any groups or ask anyone, “What would you pay for x, y, z?”
I see this all the time in a lot of Facebook groups. Someone will ask the group, “How much would you pay for a four-week group program that helped you to set up your first Facebook ad?”
If I’m not in the market to run Facebook ads, I won’t pay a lot for it. But if that’s exactly the thing I’m focused on right now, I’ll likely pay more.
If I see Facebook ads as the key to me having my first-ever six-figure launch, I would say I valued it at six figures.
That’s the gap!
If I run good Facebook ads, I’m going to have a six-figure launch. If I don’t, I’m not.
There’s significant value in that.
It’s the same when someone asks a group how much they would pay for a piece of art. Someone will say $50, someone will say $3,000.
It’s through the eyes of the beholder.
When it comes to a group program, value proposition is critical.
Being able to effectively articulate what the gap is between before doing your course and after, and why that’s valuable to your ideal client, is critical in getting those people to buy the course.
It’s not enough to tell them to just trust you and take your word that it’s valuable. That doesn’t actually increase the value proposition in the eyes of your clients.
We want to make sure that we’re really good at articulating value proposition.
There are two big myths that I want to blow out of the water straight away.
Myth 1: Adding more stuff makes something more valuable
Sometimes when someone wants to make something look more valuable, they put more stuff in it. But you don’t actually increase the value proposition by adding more stuff.
If we take the definition of value proposition at its face value (the gap between before and after, and how valuable that gap is for the individual), then that gap doesn’t change because:
- You added a bonus template
- You’ve got six expert interviews in the bonus section
- There are nine sessions instead of four sessions
Of course, what you could achieve in that time will change. But the gap doesn’t change. You have to articulate the change in gap.
We don’t increase the value of a program by adding bonus modules.
If you think about your own experiences with buying things where stuff is chucked in that you don’t necessarily need, does that actually add to the value?
When it comes to online courses, group programs, and memberships, this is particularly important because so many people get sucked into offering extra bonuses because we think it’s going to increase the perceived value.
But if the promise and the gap doesn’t change, then more things just equals more work.
Let’s use the example of the four-week course on setting up great Facebook ads. If it then becomes a six-week course with the exact same outcome (we’re going to set up great Facebook ads) then the value hasn’t increased. The number of weeks has increased. The workload has increased. But the value hasn’t necessarily increased.
If by adding to the workload, you also widen the gap, then that has increased the value proposition. But you need to be good at articulating the gap and why the new bigger gap is more valuable.
If all I want to do is learn how to set up my first Facebook ads, and you make your course six weeks because you want to help me set up my first Facebook ads AND set up ongoing list growth on autopilot, then that but that hasn’t added any more value for me as a buyer if that’s not what I want Facebook ads for.
This is where value proposition for group programs and courses becomes specifically unique and nuanced.
It’s one of the places where I see people add in more and more stuff, trying to increase the perceived value. But actually, when you make it look like more work, you can actually decrease the perceived value.
Sure, I do want to set up my first Facebook ads… but I don’t have six weeks to give you and seventeen hours of my time to watch all the bonuses. I just want to do it in four weeks as quickly as possible. Every bonus that you add to that course actually decreases my perception of the value of that course.
There is a fine line between more stuff giving more value and creating a bigger gap, versus more stuff decreasing the value of that program.
Myth 2: Explaining the value using value-based pricing
You’ve probably seen a lot of value-based pricing before. It’s definitely a common strategy used (particularly in fear-based and toxic marketing strategies).
In most cases, it’s illegal in Australia. I also find it unethical.
What do I mean by value-based pricing?
Here’s an example of value-based pricing:
“With this course, you get access to:
- Six self-study modules on how to set up your Facebook ads – valued at $4,500
- Our Facebook community where you can ask questions and get support – valued at $1,000
- A bonus template – valued at $500
- Four live calls with me – valued at $4,000
Total value is $10,000… but you get it for just $500! That’s a 95% saving!”
This is a common strategy to try and increase the value proposition.
But it’s the lazy way, it’s the illegal way in Australia, and I feel it’s the unethical way as well.
In Australian Consumer Law, in order to say that something is valued at a certain amount, you need to have made it available for sale at that price and made a reasonable number of sales at that price.
If you’ve never offered access to your group for $1,000 and you’ve never sold a spot for $1,000, it is illegal under Australian Consumer Law to say that access to that group is valued at $1,000. Yet, it is taught as a strategy.
Notwithstanding the legal ramifications, there are actually a lot of negative side effects of using strategies and methodologies like this.
First and foremost, it starts to become unbelievable. It starts to actually dissolve trust.
Seeing as I’m someone who understands this strategy and the reason why it’s presented that way, if I see someone use it, I’m far less likely to buy from them.
But even if someone is not familiar with this type of strategy, it can still be quite unbelievable and can dissolve trust in what you’re selling – especially if you overestimate the value of something.
It creates this sense of hesitation.
It means that what you’re creating actually makes people lean back from buying from you. And that lean back makes them question all of the things that you’ve shared on the sales page, all of the guarantees that you’ve made, and all of the terms and conditions.
If someone uses something like that, I will be far more likely to read the terms and conditions of their refund policy with a fine tooth comb. This is because if they’re using that strategy, they’re probably using unwieldy hoop-jumping refund policies as well.
An example of a hoop-jumping refund policy is: “You can have a refund if you apply for one in the first 30 days, as long as you’ve done the work.”
And then you find out that ‘done the work’ means you have to have watched 40 hours worth of modules and done $1,600 worth of Facebook ad spend before you’re entitled to a refund.
I’m far more likely to be meticulous with checking their refund policy and the clarity of it. I’m also less likely to trust testimonials because they’re probably from their friends because that’s what people who use this strategy teach.
I can pick who they have learned from in a lot of cases.
I know what comes with these strategies… fear-based tactics, toxic marketing strategies, gaslighting, and using neurolinguistic programming and psychological trickery in the sales process.
They all go hand in hand with each other.
And so, not only is value-based pricing ineffective at creating a bigger perceived gap, but it also can erode trust.
That is not what we want to do in our sales process. Especially not with a group program, course or membership.
I just wanted to dispel those two strategies straightaway.
You do not increase the value proposition by adding more stuff (in most cases). And you do not increase the value proposition simply by overestimating the value of the components and then presenting it as though it’s a massive bargain.
Those sorts of things just do not work these days.
So what does work to increase the value proposition of a group program?
1. Get tighter on your niche
Get far more clear on exactly who this is for.
When you’re clear and specific on your niche, you’re focusing on those people who value that gap naturally higher.
Using the Facebook ads example, if your niche is anyone who wants to build a bigger audience, then some of them are not going to value Facebook ads strategy. But if your niche is people who are looking to grow their audience significantly, have tried Facebook ads before but know that they need to learn how to use them more strategically, then those people have a far higher perception of value in the gap that you are bridging for them.
They automatically value it far higher.
What that then means is that you’re going to create more traction with that audience, you’re going to be able to speak far more clearly to the challenges, lived experiences and goals of that audience, and so the value proposition that you articulate will be clearer and bigger.
This is because you’re speaking to a very narrow niche.
Think about trying to write a sales page for anyone who wants to grow their audience, and your methodology is a Facebook ads course. On your sales page, you’re going to spend a lot of real estate convincing people Facebook ads is the right strategy.
But the people who are most likely to value that thing don’t need to be convinced that Facebook ads are the right strategy. They’re going to scroll through your page or click away because it looks like it’s for people who don’t understand the value of Facebook ads.
The very people who would be most likely to value your program are turned off by the fact that you’re trying to be broad. This is where very specific niching is so powerful.
The first step to increase your value proposition is to tighten your niche.
2. Get more tangible with your value proposition
Yes, feeling more confident is a great thing to be able to experience. But it is very difficult for audiences to ascribe a value to that confidence… unless it has a tangible context and application.
Let’s say you help people to be more confident on camera. There are some people who will deeply value confidence on camera because they want to start a video podcast. There are other people who being more confident on camera would be nice, but it’s not a priority for them right now because they don’t have video content in their strategy.
Again, you get very specific with the niche, then you can get more tangible with your value proposition.
Saying “I’m going to make you more confident on camera” is nice. But saying “I’m going to make you more confident on camera so that when you create your video content, it attracts more people, you are far more eloquent, and you create confidence from your audience that you are an expert in your field” is deeply valuable for the right niche.
That’s where tangibility comes into play with a value proposition.
Don’t just talk about feelings. Don’t just talk about big-picture experiences. Instead, talk about:
- Tangible examples
- How it would be applied
- Why that creates the outcome that your audience is prioritising
If your ideal client’s priority is getting more clients, you need to link confidence on camera with getting more clients.
If your ideal client’s number one priority is being seen as a leader and an expert, you need to link confidence on camera with being seen as a leader and an expert.
That’s two different niches. If you try and speak to both, you won’t really connect with or resonate with either.
That’s why we first need to get a tight niche, and then get tangible and give it context. This will massively increase your value proposition.
3. Write down your value proposition
This might sound like a no-brainer, but when I ask people what their value proposition is for their program, a lot of people try and just tell me the tagline or who it’s for. They give me one throwaway sentence.
The value proposition of my Take Off program is a table that contains 3 columns with over 40 rows.
That’s 120 pieces of content that articulate the value proposition of the program. 120 different ways for one tiny, specific niche.
If you’ve never mapped out your value proposition before, I do recommend using the table format because it’s so easy to do and it makes so much logical sense to me.
If you do want some extra help with this, I have a free template that helps you to map out your value proposition. You can grab that template here: tashcorbin.com/coremessage
If you don’t grab the template, you can simply create a table with three columns with the titles ‘Before’, ‘After’ and ‘Why’. Then in each column, you map it out…
Column 1: Before
What’s life like before doing your program?
What are the lived experiences that tell people they have a problem?
What are the lived experiences that make people want to achieve their goal?
What’s going on for this person that makes them feel like they need to solve this?
What gets in the way?
What problems are they experiencing?
What’s life like before doing your program?
Column 2: After
What’s that experience like afterwards?
If, in the ‘before’ column, they stumble over their words on camera, they say lots of umms and ahhs, and they don’t come across as confident, then ‘after’ you speak confidently and eloquently, and when people hear you speak, you come across as a leader and an expert.
See the before and after? There’s contrast. You’re articulating the gap.
Column 3: Why
The third column is the most important.
Why is that change critical to your ideal client?
Before you’re clunky on camera, after you come across as an eloquent expert, and the why is so that you can attract more clients and convert them faster because they trust you and they see you as an expert.
See how we’re linking the transformation with the value? That’s a powerful way to increase your value proposition.
Value proposition is the gap between before and after, and the value of that gap through the eyes of your client.
This is literally answering the questions:
What is life like before?
What is life like after?
Why is it critical to your ideal client that they achieve that transformation?
And then go to town on how many rows you want to put on this!
Another example would be:
Before: You avoid getting on camera because you don’t feel confident.
After: You’re hungry to create and record lots of video content.
Why: So you can reach larger audiences, nurture stronger relationships and get more sales.
The why column is so critical.
Why would they want this? Why would they want that transformation?
Just like with the sleep example that I gave:
Before: You’re sleeping five to six hours a night of poor sleep.
After: You get a solid eight hours of quality sleep.
Why: So that you can make better decisions and have more energy during the day.
But see how that’s unniched? That’s anyone who gets more sleep. If we were to niche it to business owners, then we could start talking about tangible examples.
Before: At two o’clock in the afternoon, you get brain fog and you’re reaching for the caffeine.
After: You’re so well rested at night that you are able to do a full workday without relying on sugar, caffeine and stimulants.
Why: So you can build your business without creating adrenal fatigue and burnout.
See how much more valuable that is to me as a business owner, rather than just going from five hours a night to eight hours a night so that I feel more rested and have more energy.
More energy is great, but unless you articulate how that relates to my lived experience, I’m not going to see as much value in it.
That’s the third way to increase your value proposition.
If you want some more instructions and examples, remember to go grab the template here: tashcorbin.com/coremessage
4. Get helpful feedback
This is an important one because a lot of people do a lot of crowdsourcing when it comes to understanding why their course might be valuable, what needs to be included, or what they should say about it.
I’ve even seen people post on their social media asking what a sales page selling XYZ should say in order to convince them to buy it.
Good on you for trying by asking that question. But realistically, your audience doesn’t actually know what you need to say to them. If they already knew the answer to that question, they would already know that buying a course of that nature was valuable to them, and they probably would have already bought one.
If you ask the students who have completed your program, what would have made their purchasing decision easier, they’re going to speak through the lens of having completed the program. We usually see through rose-coloured glasses when it comes to reflecting on what state we were in before we purchased something. Alternatively, we might overstate some of the pain points that we experienced in the past because we can see the big gap between where we were and where we are now. We feel so much better now that we almost overstate the pain before.
Getting information from your audience can be helpful… or it can be unhelpful.
When I say ‘get helpful feedback’, I want you to focus on the things that are actually meaningful and inform your value proposition.
Asking a question about what you would need to say in order for them to see something as valuable is moot. It’s pointless.
The people who can answer that question don’t have the information that they need to answer that question. The people who have what they need to answer that question, give the least helpful answers to that question.
Instead, get helpful feedback by offering and promoting it.
Post the offer and see what questions people ask. Run a webinar, pitch your course and see what resistance points people have.
When you first launch your offer (or if you’re relaunching), do sales conversations with people so that you can deeply understand what they need to know before they can commit, what resistance they have, and what objections they have.
Get helpful feedback by doing meaningful market research.
Be specific to your niche. Asking the internet at large for market research is not helpful. Asking people specifically in your niche to help you with market research is helpful.
Get helpful feedback and do helpful market research. Ask questions of your audience, but make sure you’re specific to the niche for the program, and make sure that you’re not trying to just outsource the marketing work to them.
Ask questions that they are equipped to answer.
For example, for those people who are getting frustrated with their Facebook ads, what is most frustrating for you? And what do you wish someone could just do for you?
For those people who are struggling to get a good night’s sleep but know that they need to keep trying, why do you keep trying? That’s understanding motivation – the value of the gap.
You can see there are good questions to ask, and there are not-so-great questions to ask.
The way to work out how to ask good questions is to get help with putting those questions together… and then to just ask them.
Ask lots of questions. Practice your pitch. Have lots of conversations.
The more that you talk to people in your niche about these problems, about the gap, and about their motivations, the more insight you’ll get and the more you will understand how to ask the question in such a way that you get meaningful and helpful feedback.
That’s my fourth tip to increase your value proposition – get helpful feedback.
5. Build your belief
For a lot of people, the reason why people don’t see the value of their course or program is because the seller is timid. The seller undersells it. The seller doesn’t want to make any false promises, so they don’t talk about any kind of transformation whatsoever. They are so afraid of being a spammy marketer that they don’t market it at all.
It’s very hard for us to believe in your program if you don’t believe in it.
You need to collect evidence that this program will facilitate transformation. You need to build your belief that this program is the best way for people to get from where they are to where they want to be if they fit this niche. And you need to build your belief that if people follow the step-by-step process outlined in your program, they will get the outcome that you promise on the sales page.
If you don’t believe it, whether you say it or not in your copy, we won’t believe it.
A lot of women, people from marginalised communities, and those who have traditionally not had a voice, are particularly challenged when it comes to speaking up about the value of things. We’re particularly challenged when it comes to saying that what we offer is powerful and effective, and the reasons why.
We really struggle with talking ourselves up and talking our programs up.
You need to build your belief and practice speaking powerfully about the value proposition of your course or program.
And that’s it! That’s how you increase your value proposition.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.
Don’t forget to go and grab your value proposition template and guide here: tashcorbin.com/coremessage
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.