Growth Mapping using the SWST Test

Alex Minchin
Alex Minchin

In this post we will show you how to define part of your Business Profile. Included in the post you can find;

1. Why does messaging matter?
2. Video walkthrough and examples
3. Workbook download

Following on from profiling your business, your customers, and your competitors, our experts set out to help you position your business for growth and success. 

That’s why part four of our nine-part Growth Mapping framework relates to your key business messaging and value proposition. 

And in this short post, we’re giving you a sneak peek into the eye-opening SWST (So What, So That) Test — an exercise we use to define the benefits your business delivers. 

Here, you’ll learn:

  • Why understanding the building blocks of your message is vital;
  • How to use the SWST test to refine and focus how you talk to your audience;
  • And how doing so can help you market your business with clarity and authority. 

Plus, at the bottom of the post, you’ll find a free worksheet download to help you develop your own short, snappy, and meaningful value proposition. 

Ready? Let’s go.

Why does messaging matter?

When you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, it goes without saying that you’ll understand it better than most. After all, you’ve turned over every rock, scratched every surface, and honed your idea to the point that you can talk about it with real confidence and expertise. 

But here’s the thing: your customers haven’t really given your business that much thought. You’re the expert; they’re not. And when you talk like an expert, you can get swept up in the finer details, using complex shorthand and vague buzzwords that make sense to you while alienating your audience. 

This is where marketing messaging comes into play. It helps you move away from talking about what you think makes your business great and start talking about the benefits that will resonate with your ideal customer. 

In short, you can’t sell someone something if A) you make it difficult to understand, and B) they don’t know why they need it or how it will help them. The following exercise has been designed to help you build out a message to overcome those challenges. 

Exercise: develop your value proposition with the SWST test

The SWST Test

In the above graphic, you’ll see a blank flow chart moving from left to right. Above each section, we have the titles “My business,” “So that my customers can,” and “Resulting in,” which then leads into a section titled “Benefit statements (your value proposition)”. 

Sections 1 and 2 are separated by an arrow asking, “So what?” Sections 2 and 3 by an arrow stating “So that”. 

The idea here is to turn some simple facts about what your product or service does into a series of benefit-led statements, with the goal of clearly and succinctly communicating how your business can help your customer.  

So, let’s take a look at this exercise in action below, where we’re using an accountancy practice as an example.  

The SWST Test Example

In the first section of the chart, we’ve included three services provided by the accountancy firm:

  • Bookkeeping services
  • Management reports within 7 days of month-end
  • Tax advice

So what? Why would these services matter to an accountant’s target audience? The next part answers that by linking the service to its immediate outcome. You’re essentially answering why your service is important on the surface level, before digging a little deeper. 

For example, an accountant providing bookkeeping services allows their clients to keep up-to-date accounts. Plain and simple. So we fill in the next section of the chart like this: 

“So that my customers can…”

  • Keep up-to-date accounts
  • Make faster and more informed decisions
  • Minimise “accidental” tax

And what is the outcome of these benefits? Why do they matter to a potential customer? This is where we scratch beneath the surface and try to find a tangible (or intangible) core benefit.

For example, a business owner isn’t motivated to hire an accountant simply to keep up-to-date accounts. That’s a byproduct of the service. The true benefit is that they want peace of mind that everything is in order and they can submit their tax returns stress-free. This is an emotional benefit. We express this in the chart like this: 

“Resulting in…”

  • Peace of mind
  • A stronger business
  • More available capital to invest or extract

Putting it all together

Now we have the building blocks of our key messages, we can start piecing them together.

Let’s take the tax advice service as an example: My [accountancy firm] provides tax advice so that my customers can minimise “accidental” tax, resulting in more available capital to invest or extract.

It’s really that simple. We start with a pretty standard service for an accountancy practice (tax advice) and follow the framework to discover a compelling reason why someone would want to use it. It’s not because they want tax advice for the sake of it. No one’s truly desperate to understand compliance and tax legislation. They want to save money. So, you need to tie your service to its core benefit and then find a way to frame why that benefit matters. 

And when you do that, it can lead you to a meaningful, benefit-led value proposition that speaks directly to your ideal customer:

“Our expert tax advice helps you avoid paying more tax than you need to, meaning you get to keep more of your hard-earned money to invest in your business – or yourself.” 

 

Key Takeaway: A huge part of successfully positioning your business is the language you use. If you speak in a way that your customer understands, rather than alienating them with jargon or stroking your ego, you’re more likely to hold their attention.

Refining your messaging with the SWST test gives you a structure and direction to do just that. And once you have your benefit statements, you can play around with your messaging, changing the words or tone to mirror your brand and inform the rest of your marketing.  

Download the workbook below and give it a go yourself.  

Try the Growth Mapper today

We’ve designed each section of our Growth Mapper framework around a critical part of your business growth. We start with the basics and drill down into the details, giving you a clear picture of the opportunities and challenges moving forward. 

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