Create a Compelling Value Prop for Your Startup

Learn the six elements you need to articulate the selling point of your startup or product within your website messaging and copy. See an example of them in action.

3 min
March 20, 2023
Anthony Pierri
Product Marketer

Let’s get right into it.

You’re reading this because you know clear value propositions matter.

Value proposition framework

visual example of a value proposition framework for tech startups

You need these six elements to articulate a selling point of your product.

  1. Persona
  2. Alternative
  3. Problem
  4. Capability
  5. Feature
  6. Benefit

Let’s walk through each one to understand what they are and what they can look like for your product.

You can watch me walk through these in the video below too:



Who is the person that would get the most benefit from using your product?

With a specific persona, you can better understand the needs, motivations, and behaviors of your target audience. This helps you design a value prop tailored to their specific needs.

This should include

  • Job titles if you can
  • The more specific, the better


  • Marketing Manager
  • Supply Chain Management Analyst
  • Event Planner (Good Start)
  • Destination Wedding Event Planner (More Specific)


Alternatives are not just competitors on the market. Other alternatives could be workflows they already use internally with tools such as spreadsheets or google docs.

This should include

  • An alternative to your product
  • What they are using today even if it’s not software


  • Using group chats and email threads to communicate with their team
  • Manually translating data from spreadsheets
  • Manages contractors and vendors through a Notion database


What’s wrong with the way things are today for this specific persona related to your product’s solution and how would they talk about it?

This should include

  • The weaknesses of their current alternative
  • What problems their current solution causes


  • Some of the team uses Android vs. iPhone.
  • Some of them are PC vs. Mac users.
  • Hard to text an iPhone natively from a PC. 
  • Long email threads are a nightmare for the team, but do the job for now.


What is this specific person able to achieve when they use your product? Don’t confuse these with features or benefits (more on those below).

This should include

  • The unique ability that is unlocked by your product
  • It answers the “how”


  • Communicate with your team with one app regardless of the type of device they use
  • Be able to aggregate data from multiple spreadsheets and databases into a presentation-ready dashboard


How do you make the capability possible? What are the functions inside your product that they clearly understand will be helpful to them?

This should include

  • The part of your product that powers the capability
  • It answers "what"


  • Cross-platform chat
  • Zapier integration


What kind of impact will they see because of your product’s capability? What can improve in their world that helps them reach a goal? What risks or annoyances can they decrease in their line of work?

This should include

  • The state change driven by the new capability
  • i.e. increase in something good, decrease in something bad


  • Collaborate faster
  • Reduce confusion created by email threads
  • Improve communication with contractors

Example of these elements working together

Below, I created a potential value prop of Slack to show how these elements work together.

visual example of how slack would use this value prop framework

Slack market segment value prop example

A marketing manager

who’s using…

Group chats and email threads to communicate with their team

and encounters…

Some team members have androids or PCs and can’t text via iMessage and long email threads are a nightmare

solved by…

Being able to communicate with your team in one app regardless of device

powered by…

Cross-platform chat

which drives…

So you can collaborate faster and more clearly.


Startup products usually have several value props. Most homepages highlight three under the hero image.

Applying these elements to your website

Now that you have these elements documented, you can use them in different aspects of your marketing. A great place to start is the homepage of your website.

I walk through a simple homepage layout for early-stage startups here.

Join the discussion

See what 50 other product marketers are saying on my LinkedIn post about this topic.

Do you disagree? Would love to know why.

Get help with your product messaging

Have a great product but struggle to clearly explain it on your homepage?

Robert Kaminski and I help early-stage startups with this exact problem.

Let us help you get a clear and compelling homepage message without burning your runway.

Actionable UX audit kit

  • Guide with Checklist
  • UX Audit Template for Figma
  • UX Audit Report Template for Figma
  • Walkthrough Video
By filling out this form you agree to receive our super helpful design newsletter and announcements from the Headway design crew.

Create better products in just 10 minutes per week

Learn how to launch and grow products with less chaos.

See what our crew shares inside our private slack channels to stay on top of industry trends.

By filling out this form you agree to receive a super helpful weekly newsletter and announcements from the Headway crew.