Website Survey

How can a new startup fight the competition + Examples

Time to read: 8 minutes

Unless you went down the dangerous road of “creating markets, your startup is serving an existing market.

This means there is competition.

That’s the (not so) bad news.

The good news is that your competition are not using one very crucial thing to their advantage.

That’s what I found during my recent research.

What are startups missing on their landing pages?

A unique offer. In marketing speak the offer is known as unique value proposition (UVP).

The majority of startup landing pages explain how their product is the most innovative tool on the market.

That’s not a unique offer.

A unique offer:

  • emphasizes the one thing that sets you apart from the competition. (Unique position)
  • promises a specific quantified benefit, e.g. not “fast” but “in 55 seconds” (Quantified value)
  • is relevant to the potential customer’s current situation (Relevance)
  • describes something your potential customer wants (Desirability)
  • communicates a clear message, e.g. it doesn’t use generic marketing fluff words like “world-class” and “innovative” (Clarity)

A unique offer is focused on the potential customer, their issues and desires.

I’ll be using the above 5 criteria in a moment to evaluate a bunch of startup landing pages.

How does a unique offer translate to your landing page?

The unique offer usually takes up the top portion and looks something like this:

AppDesignVault's unique offer

It’s communicated by:

  1. The headline
  2. The subheadline
  3. The key benefits
  4. The hero image (visualizes how customers benefit from using your product)
  5. Boosters like social proof above (optional)

Of course, that’s not the only way to present your unique offer on the landing page. It’s one of the ways.

Now let’s take a closer look at a few examples of product offers.

Evaluation: The unique offers of 7 companies

Last week I was looking for a good example of a unique offer.

And so I thought “Where can I find great unique offers if not on landing pages of software for marketers?”

So I did a quick Google search for “landing page builder”.

Context: A landing page builder is a tool marketers use to create landing pages in a WYSIWYG editor from ready templates.

To my dismay a lot of the tools that I found were completely missing unique offers.

In such a crowded market as that for landing page builders there is still plenty of room to position a product as better than the competition.

#7 Ion Interactive

Ion Interactive's offer

 

Let’s see if their unique offer fulfills the 5 criteria above.

  1. Unique position 1/5 They are trying to present the software as something innovative. However, the headline and the subheadline give exactly zero information why their tool is unique and why marketers need it.
  2. Quantified value 2/5 The third heading tells you how exactly what interactive content you can create. This is nice. The other two headings don’t tell you anything.
  3. Relevance 1/5 It is for marketers and I somehow get the idea that I can produce interactive content which could be nice. However, the site pops up when you do a Google search for “landing page builder”. I see nothing remotely related to landing pages here.
  4. Desirability 0/5 There is no reason whatsoever to use their software. Why do I want to transform static content into interactive? How does this benefit my marketing campaigns?
  5. Clarity 0/5 The offer is unclear. What is “interactive content”? Why do I need software & services that provide it? What is “engaging content” and why is my content not engaging right now?

Advice to IonInteractive: Explain in plain English what you mean by “interactive content”, “engaging content”, etc. and why your potential customers need it.

Bonus advice: Remove the sharing buttons. Nobody shares landing pages. Research found that 68% of people share to give others a better sense of who they are, 78% share information to connect with people with similar interests [source]. Landing pages are not something you can relate to and they don’t provide valuable information so they are not a shareable resource. If someone is very impressed with your product and wants to recommend it, they will find a way to copy your link and share it.

#6 LivePagesHQ

LivePagesHQ's offer

I can’t spare it. This landing page is pretty bad.

Sidenote When you’re writing a unique offer or simply thinking about a headline for your landing page, leave out the word “introducing” and superlatives like “the best” and “the smartest”. It doesn’t sound believable.

Let’s assess the LivePages unique offer:

  1. Unique position 0/5 That headline has nothing unique about it. Sorry.
  2. Quantified value 0/5 There is no explanation about how it’s “the smartest tool” and what it does that others don’t. No other quantifiers like how much time it takes to make landing pages, for example.
  3. Relevance 3/5 I give the offer 3 points for saying that this page is about a “landing page design tool”, mentioning marketers and actually showing landing pages.
  4. Desirability 0/5 The offer isn’t believable and from what I get this tool allows me to create landing pages. I can do that with any of the other tools.
  5. Clarity 0/5 The offer is unclear. Define “smartest”. Define “ever”.

Advice to LivePagesHQ: Clarify your offer. What is unique about your product? Does it save money? How much? Does it save time? How much? Does it provide professionally designed templates? There are lots of options to make your offer unique.

Bonus advice: I’m not a designer, but I have to note that the design of this page has some serious flaws. What’s with that “30-Day free trial” button? Why is it there? I barely noticed it even though it’s orange. And that background…

#5 Lander App

LanderApp's offer

The design is beautiful. But the copy (text) could be a lot better.

  1. Unique position 0/5 Not unique. I can build publish and convert with any landing page builder.
  2. Quantified value 0/5 There is no explanation about how it’s “the smartest tool” and what it does that others don’t. No other quantifiers like how much time it takes to make landing pages, for example.
  3. Relevance 2/5 I give the offer 2 points on that for saying that I can create landing pages with it.
  4. Desirability 1/5 The only reason to use their software is because of the fact that I can create landing pages with it but I can do that with all other landing page builders.
  5. Clarity 2/5 The offer is not very clear. I get that I can create landing pages but why would I care so much about creating “my own” landing pages? Was I creating somebody else’s so far?

Advice to Lander App: Clarify your offer. Add more text. Tell you potential customers what makes you better than the competition. Why would they want to create landing pages with your tool? Judging by the design of your landing page I can bet that the templates you offer are amazing. Put that up front. Boast about it.

#4 Wishpond

WishPond's offer

 

Okay, I think I’ve seen that headline somewhere…

The rest of the offer is pretty good, though. Let’s see:

  1. Unique position 0/5 Not unique. I can create my own landing pages with any landing page builder.
  2. Quantified value 5/5 This is a great example of quantifying the offer. “in minutes” tells you that you can create landing pages very fast. “40+ mobile-responsive templates” tells you exactly what you can expect of the templates. It says that you can “A/B test”, not just perform a test.
  3. Relevance 5/5 I give the offer full points on that. The page is completely relevant to marketers looking to create landing pages.
  4. Desirability 4/5 The text says exactly what I can do with the tool, the picture on the right shows how it looks, and they say that creating an account is free. These are all very good reasons to try out Wishpond. I still take away one point for not giving me a reason why they are better than the rest.
  5. Clarity 5/5 The offer is clear. Out of this small piece of their landing page you get an idea exactly what the page is about and who it’s for. Great!

Advice to Wishpond: Just add the unique component to your offer and it will be great. Why would marketers want to create landing pages with your tool? The headline would be the place to do that. It currently adds no value to the offer.

#3 Lead Pages

LeadPages' offer

 

This is a pretty bad unique offer. It’s practically missing.

Why is “next generation” in quotes? Does this mean it isn’t really next generation? Also, it’s kind of hard to read “next generation lead generation” in my head.

Sidenote: Please do not ever include the word “our” in your call to action. What’s the random internet browser’s motivation to “play their video”? Why would anyone waste their time doing this?

  1. Unique position 0/5 None. I’m not even sure what “lead generation platform” is. What is this website about in the first place?
  2. Quantified value 0/5 Nope.
  3. Relevance 0/5 Who is this landing page for? How does it relate to someone searching on Google for “landing page builder”?
  4. Desirability 0/5 If they could explain what they are offering, maybe there would be motivation for a marketer to want to use it. Right now I see none.
  5. Clarity 0/5 What proof is there that this is the “Internet’s Easiest” X? What does “lead generation platform” mean? What does “next generation” refer to and why is it in quotes?

Advice to LeadPages: Clarify your offer. Explain what you mean by these vague fluff words in your headline. Leave out the hype. Nobody believes such claims. Nobody cares about your software. Tell your potential customers what you’re going to do for them.

#2 Instapage

InstaPage's offer

I just… everytime… I read this headline in my head I want to ask “So?”

  1. Unique position 0/5 Nothing that I haven’t seen before.
  2. Quantified value 3/5 It says that you can perform a specific type of test with it and that you can create landing pages in minutes.
  3. Relevance 3/5 It’s almost clear that the page is intended for marketers. It’s a suitable result for someone searching for “landing page builder”.
  4. Desirability 2/5 No particular motivation to register for this landing page builder. It looks much like the ones I saw before.
  5. Clarity 3/5 Despite the wasted headline it’s clear what this page is about.

Advice to Instapage: That headline says nothing. It doesn’t help your potential customer find out why you’re the better choice. Clarify your offer. Explain why your tool is better than the competition.

#1 Unbounce

Unbounce's offer

Now that’s a landing page.

I’ve given them as an example of a good landing page before because I think they’ve done a great job. I’m not affiliated with Unbounce in any way.

  1. Unique position 5/5 They say that it helps you create landing pages “without I.T.”, that it’s for “marketers” and that it’s a “mobile responsive landing page builder”. These are not truly unique qualities but they form a unique position for Unbounce. I’m sure the other landing page builders also have these features but they don’t mention that.
  2. Quantified value 4/5 It doesn’t say how fast it works or how many templates it includes but still every phrase is specific and concise. It gives you an idea about what you’re going to get.
  3. Relevance 5/5 It’s absolutely relevant to marketers looking for a “landing page builder”.
  4. Desirability 5/5 Since they’ve already told you what to expect exactly, there is motivation to sign up and actually try out the tool.
  5. Clarity 5/5 No doubt this is a clear offer.

Advice to Unbounce: Keep up the great work! :)

How could these companies do better with their offers?

The only company that takes a unique position in this list is Unbounce.

They are positioning their product as a “responsive landing page builder for marketers which doesn’t require I.T.”

There are lots of possibilities to for the rest of the landing page builders to position their products:

  • Price. Which is the cheapest one?
  • Design. Which one has the best designed landing page templates?
  • Usability. Which one has the most intuitive editor?
  • Audience. Which one is the best for affiliate marketers? Which one is the best for ecommerce owners?

and so on.

Takeaways

  • Even in a crowded market, you can position your product as something different and better than the competition.
  • Messages like “The easiest and simplest new generation of X the Internet has ever seen” don’t help you. They just make you look like everyone else.
  • What is an advantage of your product that the competition probably has but doesn’t mention? Emphasize that in your unique offer.
  • Try to evaluate your unique offer based on the 5 criteria above.

About the author Gergana Dimova

I use my non-magical persuasion methods to help small business owners, digital agencies, entrepreneurs and consultants get more leads and sales. You can learn more about working with me here.

6 thoughts on “How can a new startup fight the competition + Examples

  1. Nice breakdown! We’ve been thinking about diving back into testing that headline and this has definitely driven that conversation forward.

    Thanks for thinking of us!

    – James, Content Editor at Wishpond

    • Thanks, James!

      Always be testing, right? :)

      If you guys do test a new headline, I’ll be very excited to hear about your results.

      —Gergana

  2. Hey!

    Thanks for including us in this roundup of landing page tool providers. We’ve tried and tested a few USPs and have found that our current one, “Create Your Own Landing Page,” has converted at the highest rate. This, of course, is something we continue to test and next time you check us out it may have changed again.

    Cheers,
    Samantha

    • Hey Samantha,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I know that the only way to find out what works is to actually test it out.

      I’m actually very impressed by your UVP and I have to say it’s one of the best ones for a landing page builder that I saw. I will be interested to hear about your future tests (even without the numbers).

      Cheers,
      Gergana

  3. Hey Gergana, thank you for the post. We are now A/B split testing our headlines to offer more of a unique value proposition.

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