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How to Create a Winning Tagline
by Ilise Benun
Ilise Benun, author of "Self Promotion Online" and "Designing Websites For Every Audience," is the founder of Marketing Mentor, a 6-month one-on-one coaching program through which the self-employed learn how to promote their talents and services. Sign up for her free e-mail tips at www.marketing-mentor.com.
The name of your company or consulting practice can offer prospects a clue into the work you do, which is especially necessary if it’s not readily understood, but if it bears your name, you’d better have a tagline to do the explaining.
A tagline is a sentence or phrase -- memorable and easy to understand -- that conveys the essence of your business in a nutshell. An effective tagline will ideally answer three questions:
Of course, fitting the answers to those three questions into a single brief statement is not always possible. Many authors and professional speakers use the “How to X with Y using Z” formula to create book and speech titles that sell. After all, the prospect is looking for X – the solution – so why not start the tagline with the solution?
The more specific your tagline can be the better. Many consultants make the mistake of thinking that they’ll be casting a wider net if they keep it vague. They think “Providing marketing consulting for businesses of all sizes” is a good tagline. What they fail to realize is that no business is “of all sizes” and a business person knows whether he or she is running a small business, a medium-sized business, a venture-funded business, a publicly traded business, or whatever. They will be more comfortable with a consultant that specializes in serving businesses of their size.
The same is true for industry specialization. A retailer will prefer to work with a consultant that specializes in retailers. A multi-channel retailer will prefer to work with a consultant that specializes in that small niche.
Therefore, using a general tagline is a waste of your time, because you will attract many leads that are not appropriate for you and you will have to spend time weeding them out. It’s a common mistake to think that more leads are better, but chasing poor leads is very expensive, particularly as a consultant, when converting leads into sales often takes an investment of many (unpaid) hours meeting and creating customized proposals. Helping appropriate prospects find you and inappropriate prospects avoid you is part of the job of your tagline.
Your tagline should be flexible enough to change depending on whom you’re talking to. If, for example, you’re talking to a software company and you consider that industry one of your specialties, then by all means, make sure that’s the “who you do it for” when they see or hear your tagline.
Many consultants get caught up with explaining how they do what they do when clients are looking for the return on investment, the end result or the benefit to them – lower customer acquisition costs, richer customer understanding, more sales closed.
How to Create a Winning Tagline
Once you’ve come up with a good one, read your tagline out loud
several times. Can you say it in conversation without being self conscious?
If not, find the words you’re getting hung up on and try substituting
And lastly, let your tagline change and evolve as you build your business, as it is sure to do. You can always print more business cards.
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