Taglines and advertising slogans have become integral part of our lives. We see them every day on television, billboards and even on coffee cups. Good taglines get imprinted in our memory either consciously or unconsciously, influencing our buying decisions about a product or a service in the future. A good tagline can succinctly describe your websites’ purpose to a new user in a matter of seconds. In this article I present a 5 step process for choosing a good tagline for your website.
1. Define your mission
The first step in creating a tagline is to know the main purpose of your website. This step might sound too obvious and simple. But in reality many website owners do not have a clearly defined mission statement. Having a mission statement is extremely important because it gives your website a sense of direction. Unlike a tagline, that is short and simple, a mission statement can be more descriptive. The mission statement lays the foundation and scope for your tagline. But, beware many people make the mistake of purely depending on the mission statement to create a tagline. The problem with this approach is that your tagline might end up becoming organization centric as opposed to audience centric. For example, your mission might be to become the most leading website in your industry. If you choose a tagline purely based on this mission, you might end up with a tagline like “The number 1 music store”. This is an example of a very poor tagline, because it only says what you want to be, it does not say anything about your website and how it can benefit your audience.
2. Know your audience
The second step is to find out what majority of your readers want. The main focus in this step is to find out what kind of feelings that should be invoked in your audience’s mind. It is important to note that you can not satisfy all. So you have to pick the main group of audience whom you want to satisfy. What would you like this group of audience to think about your website?
3. Decide on your story
In this step we connect our website mission with the needs of our audience using an effective and original story. Deciding on the kind of story your want to tell is the most critical part in choosing a good tagline. A story is a strong message that differentiates you from the rest of the pack. An authentic and original message fulfills the aspirations of your audience and is received well by your audience, who in turn are willing to spread the message on your behalf. To illustrate this point, let me take the following example:
“Live to Tell About It”
Spot Satellite Messenger is an electronic device that can transmit your location to friends and family during a distress or an emergency. These devices are now getting popular among trekkers and hikers who are at risk of getting lost in the wilderness. The Spot tagline paints a compelling story in the minds of its potential customers, their families and friends. The story is something like this:
“Going out alone in the wilderness is dangerous. If you get trapped or lost you can eventually die. But with the SPOT messenger in hand you have no worries. You can continue to enjoy what you do and still have a peace of mind. You can survive to tell your experiences to your loved ones. Get a spot messenger today!”.
This is the beauty of taglines. A few words are enough to seed a compelling case in the minds of the audience. Good taglines capture the entire story in a small phrase.
Once you have decided on your story, you can begin to brain storm possible taglines. During the brain storming session you choose keywords that best describe your website and your target audience. You will mix and match words to come up with a tagline that concisely coveys the message, without any confusion. It is often said that you need to be clear in choosing your tagline rather than trying to be clever. Look at the tagline of your competitors to get some ideas. But make sure that you clearly differentiate your website from your competitors. The brain storming session is best done as a small group of people.
5. Final Touches
Try to keep it simple. If your tagline has too many words your audience can easily forget it. Don’t use slang or puns. Do not make your tagline vague. Check your tagline with folks who have no or little knowledge about your website. This way you can make sure that the story that you are trying to sell is well understood by a new user of your website. Create a list of potential taglines and choose the one that is considered to be the best by the group. Make sure the tagline is not used elsewhere in order to avoid any legal issues.