Getting your tagline right is one of the essential steps to connecting your business with the clients looking for what you do. That means when potential clients read it, they know they are in the right place and they are curious to find out more.
Here’s what I’ve learned about getting your tagline right from helping my clients. The advice itself it simple. However, implementing it is not always straightforward. So, to help you make the task easier, here’s my guideline to the essential Dos and Don’ts.
Your Tagline tells the reader, “This is for YOU!”
What exactly is your tagline?
Whether it’s on your website, your social media channels, or PR material, it’s the short message that tells the reader, “This is for You”! On your website it’s the banner beside your company name and logo. Getting the tagline right is all about getting these three elements synchronised to communicate the same message, to expand on and compliment each other and to create a clear, unified visual and written message about your business.
The essential Don’ts
A few warning shots on what to avoid when trying to get your tagline right
Let’s begin by removing those elements that muddle and confuse the reader.
- Drop the jargon and the buzzwords. We’ve heard these terms millions of times already and they numb our senses. Listen to how your potential clients describe what they want. That’s your best guide to knowing what will resonate with them when they read it.
- Don’t try to be clever or catchy. Instead of trying to impress, go for clear, simple words that make it easy for the audience to immediately understand the message.
- The shorter the better! A tagline should be between 3 and 7 words. (8 is not a crime!). Remember the wise words of Francois Fenelon: “The more you say, the less people remember.”
- Avoid vagueness. That means avoid a general slogan-type tagline, such as this one from a Health Coach: Enrich your life, health and well-being. (How do I know what this person offers: fitness classes, dietary advice, mindfulness courses, etc.?) Or this one from a graphic designer: Helping you run a successful business. (There are many skills needed to run a successful business, e.g. financial planning, marketing strategies to technical organisation, etc.)
The purpose of your tagline is to connect you with potential clients and start a conversation
The essential ingredients of your tagline
Your tagline is there to let the visitors know that they’re in the right place, i.e. you are the person or company that will help them get what they want. Like every message, its purpose is to connect you with potential clients and start a conversation.
To do that successfully your tagline has to answer the following questions the visitors are asking as they click and scroll. Remember, they want the answers immediately!
1. Who is this person/company?
2. What does this person/company do exactly?
3. Do they solve a problem that I have and/or provide an outcome that I want?
The name and logo (and in some cases the photo) should provide a basic answer to the first question.
Your tagline (together with complimentary images and headlines on your website) answers the other two, which also defines your ideal client.
How to get your tagline right
There are formulas that help you get started, that get you thinking about what exactly you do and for whom. They provide you with the raw material that you then tweak and edit to make it resonate with your potential clients and make it easy for them to feel it’s about them.
I use this simple formula to get the thinking juices flowing for my clients:
I help ______________ (define your ideal clients) who struggle with _________________ (state the problem you solve for them) get this outcome (describe the benefit of working with you).
Here are a few examples of simple, specific taglines, tweaked for the message and the audience, that skip the guessing games:
From a chiropractor’s website: Backpain relief for those who sit at work
It’s simple, clear and catches the attention of someone who needs this kind of therapy.
A dating site for women: Finding your soul-mate for divorced women over 50
A website designer: Websites that work! It’s short and it captures what everyone wants from their website – it does the job it’s designed to do.
This speaks to a specific kind of clients who can recognise themselves in the tagline instantly.
A final word on getting your tagline right
Like you business, your tagline is always evolving, so make sure to revise and update it as required.Learn More