How to Create a Solid Tagline That Truly Works


Nike said, “Just do it.” Nortel told you to come together. Timex said it takes a licking and keep on ticking. And GE mentioned that it brings good things to life.

Well, good for GE. As far as you’re concerned, you’d probably be happy figuring out how to bring your tagline to life.

Tagline, strapline, slogan… Whatever you choose to call it, it’s all the same. It’s the key phrase that identifies your business by capturing the essence of three elements:

  • Your mission
  • Your promise
  • Your brand

Coming up with a great tagline is a struggle many people face. More often than not, they get it wrong by focusing on what their product or service is and neglecting what it offers.

To capture a reader’s eye at a glance, you need to combine all three elements of mission, promise and brand to create a great tagline that really works. Here’s how:

1 –Your True Mission

There’s a saying in the copywriting world: Be clear, not clever.

Considering that most of us aren’t the best at coming up with the coolest phrases ever uttered on the face of the Earth, that’s sage advice, especially on the web.

Don’t be cool. In the virtual world, there’s no time for cool. People who don’t know you, your business, your products or your services land on your website. In a fraction of a second, they decide whether to leave or to stay.

Be clear, not clever. Start building a tagline with the purpose of your site. Decide what you have to offer. Are you setting up a blog for marketing tips? Is your website about productivity tools? Do you sell web content? Love songs? Toilet Cleaners?

Pick the focus of your site – and stick with it.

2 – So What?

Let’s say your business is iced tea. You sell iced tea mixes, you offer cups, glasses and mugs, and you’re going to have a blog to establish authority as the Iced Tea Emperor.

Your blog’s tagline will probably start something like this: “Iced tea tips…”

And this is where people get jammed. Rockin’ iced tea tips? Great iced tea tips? Iced tea to go?

None of the above. The average visitor that lands on your site doesn’t care. Nothing stands out, nothing seems attractive, nothing compels him to stay.

There’s one fast, easy way to get past this obstacle. Ask yourself this question: “So what?”

The answers you’ll come up with are the benefits a visitor (or potential customer) receives from staying on your site – and that’s important. People always want something. By adding benefits to a tagline, you’re telling people what’s in it for them and what they get from you.

If you’re really smart, use those benefits as selling points throughout your site copy, too. Don’t harp on about how great your product is – tell people what benefits they receive if they buy what you have to sell.

So what are the benefits of iced tea? Iced tea can:

  • Help you quench your thirst
  • Help you hydrate your body
  • Perk you up
  • Cool you down
  • Leave you feeling refreshed

Benefits are the key to better copy, better sales and better business online.

3: A Little Tweak

Alright, so you have your mission and you have your benefits. Now you have to add some branding.

Make your tagline reflect your business image. Differentiate yourself from the competition. Your business has a personality, so show it. Give people a little taste of your business’s brand in your tagline.

Let’s say your iced tea business is a little Zen-like. You like to promote tea as relaxing. You want people to enjoy a quieter life. Your website colors are pale and fresh, and even your blog’s tone seems to be calming. That’s your branding at work right there.

Put it to work in your tagline, too.

Pick an adjective that encompasses your business image, take the summary of your benefits and tack that to your mission. What do you get?

“Soothing iced tea tips to revitalize your life.” That’s a great tagline.

Bonus Section: It’s Fun to Pick on Others

Need some practice? Here are two taglines for you to pick apart:

  • Web Business Tips for Writers, Freelancers and Online Entrepreneurs
  • Copywriting Tips for Online Marketing Success

Do they answer all three elements of a great tagline? Are they effective for the web? Would they attract you? What would you change?

Or, maybe you have your own tagline to worry over. Put it up and see if inspiration comes from some helpful suggestions.

You might just end up with a rock-solid tagline that truly works.


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