Louis Nicholls

Thoughts on startups, web dev and other stuff

Double your sales 🔥 by moving from product- to value-based messaging…

This is a draft of a post I’m writing about how to identify and fix a common marketing mistake founders make, which could double your sales in under 90min.

There are a few rough edges and the examples aren’t final. I’d appreciate any feedback/questions/thoughts to the usual address. Thanks!

Last week, a friend reached out to me with a problem.

He’s a technical solo founder and just started a side project. Because he’s still employed full time at a FAANG company, he asked me not to share his name/project, so let’s call him Dave.

Anyway, Dave’s problem was that he had put up a landing page for his project and was doing cold outreach, but not seeing many sales.

When I took a look at the landing page, it was obvious that Dave was making a super common mistake that nearly all first-time founders make…

His messaging was focussed on the product functionality, not the value to the customer.

We sat down together and, over a coffee, made some small changes to the landing page and cold-email copy.

This week, Dave has converted nearly 5x as many paying customers since we made the changes.

Not bad for ~75min work!

Now obviously, Dave is an outlier. His product is really, really good. And his messaging was really, really bad.

Given it takes under 90min to do though, you should probably check to make sure you aren’t making the same mistake. After all, even a 5% improvement in conversion rates is worth way more than a 90min time investment!

Here’s how to get the results for yourself:

The first thing to do is identify where in your messaging (eg on your landing page) you are focussing on the product/features, but should be talking about value to the customer instead.

Just like Dave, it’s super common for (especially technical) founders to put the spotlight on what their product does.

This is bad for making sales in two ways though:

  1. When potential customers first check out your product, they don’t care how it works. Instead, they first need to understand what value the product will provide them.
  2. The quicker you make this value obvious, the more likely it is the potential customer will stick around and convert to a paying customer.
  3. As a founder, you want to frame your product in the right way to maximise conversions. When the potential customer is deciding whether it’s worth buying or not, you want them thinking about whether the value provided by the product is worth the price-tag, not whether the functionality of the product is worth the price-tag.

This sounds a bit vague, so imagine the functionality of your product is basically just sending emails when certain conditions are met.

If you focus on the value (eg how much extra revenue your customer will make by using your product and sending those emails), then it’s easy for a potential customer to understand why they should pay $high-price for it.

On the other hand, by focussing on the product functionality, the potential customer is wondering “is it worth paying $high-price just to send X emails/month?”

The former messaging will convert more customers at a higher price than the latter will.

Once you’ve identified where you’re framing the messaging in terms of product functionality not value, it’s time to reword the messaging to make it value-driven.

The main areas to think about this are in CTAs on your landing/pricing page (especially the hero area) and in cold emails. If you’re doing performance marketing (eg Instagram ads), check those as well.

Here are some examples of real landing pages and cold emails I found on IndieHackers.com which have ‘bad’ product-focussed CTAs (and my suggestions of how to make them ‘good’ value-focussed CTAs):

Before (main CTA) – potential customer understands: “Do some work to create a good looking resume”

It’s not obvious why I should care about the product.

After (main CTA) – potential customer understands: “This product will help you get a better job”

It is instantly obvious why I should care about the product. I’m much more likely to read on enthusiastically and pay for the product with this framing than the original one.

Before (main CTA) – potential customer understands what the product does (functionality) but has to put the pieces together themselves to understand why that’s relevant to them.

After (main CTA) – potential customer instantly understands why the product will be valuable to them.

Chances are, they’ll be much more interested in finding out more about how the product works and paying for it…

Am I interested in paying $X to learn how to negotiate better? Maybe.

Am I interested in paying $X to increase my salary by eg 100* $X? Yes, of course!

Before (cold email example) – potential customer understands what I do but there’s no context of why this is valuable for them.

I won’t be getting many responses.

After (cold email example) – potential customer instantly understands the value of my services to their company.

There’s a good chance I’ll get an interested response to find out more.

I hope that was helpful. Happy to answer any questions at the usual address.

This post is an adapted article from the FiveMinuteFounder newsletter. You can head over there to join 3’000 founders who read the newsletter to improve their projects by 1% in under 5min every week.


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