You've probably not run into that nickname before.
And yet, you're more than likely to know of Spidey—better known as Spiderman.
But how did “Puny Parker” get his strength and agility?
Yup it was a spider—a radioactive spider that bit him—and transferred that power in a matter of seconds.
Taglines are like spiders
When they bite, they either transfer super powers to clients—or they don't. And most taglines are not just ordinary, most are plainly confusing. The reason for boring taglines is easy to explain. We try so hard to get a message across, that we forget our core role in life. And that role—it's to bestow superpowers on your clients.
So what does a superpower look like?
Let's move to the examples—and a bad example.
Our membership site at 5000bc has a tagline. It's called: Zero-Hype Small Business Zone.
Are you excited?
No, not feeling that tingle of the radioactive spider? That's because there is no power in that tagline. It's plainly copywriter-speak and transfers no superpowers to you—the client. You can't fly, climb walls or do anything spectacular, can you? And yet, let's look at tagline that make you come alive in seconds.
Let's move to some better examples…
Headline Course: Write 200 headlines that work, without needing to do any split testing.
Presentation series: Get woken up at 3 am, yet do an outstanding presentation.
Photography book: Take photos with your phone that look like a high end DSLR camera.
Evernote report: Learn how to retrieve powerful information when faced with a crushing deadline.
Testimonial secret book: Auto-filter crappy clients. Get only amazing clients.
Presell course: Fill courses and events with extremely tiny subscriber list.
Article writing course: Get clients to call you; no more chasing prospects.
Notice the slight tingling you feel?
Those taglines weren't written by your copywriting brain. The copywriting brain is convoluted, confusing and turns out crappy taglines. But how can we tell the underlying magic to create our own headlines?
We start off with two audit points:
1) What's the ONE problem?
2) Is there ONE solution?
If you scroll back a bit and read the taglines above, you'll find that you can easily see the problem and solution. And note, yes do note, it's not two or three problems. And not two or three solutions. It's clearly a single problem and a single solution.
So what happens when you don't have a problem or solution?
Let's look at some very well-funded taglines and see if you remember any of them.
American Dairy Association: Behold the power of cheese.
Adobe: Better by Adobe.
Acura: The road will never be the same.
Chrysler: Inspiration comes standard.
Dell Computer: Easy as Dell.
Apple Computer: Think Different
Waitasec, wasn't “Think Different” one of the most amazing taglines of all time?
Sure it was. It was also backed by a million-dollar budget (approximately $100 million a year). Try putting “Think Different” on your website or course and you'll see why a tagline like “Think Different” would fall flat.
To avoid this flatness, speak to a client
Yup, just go up to a client and ask them this question: If you could have one superpower with this (product/course/report) what would that super power be? And they'll tell you in simple words what you need to hear.
For instance at www.stresslessweb.com the main superpower is that you aren't hostage to your own website. Imagine that? A web design company that allows you to control your own website; a web design company that doesn't make you feel trapped. That sounds like a superpower, doesn't it?
So let's summarise:
1) What's the problem? ONE problem—not two, not three, just ONE.
2) Is there a solution?
3) Did you ask a client what superpower they'd like? If not, do so today. And avoid copywriter-jargon.
P.S. You can get a free report (well, it's really an excerpt of The Brain Audit). The excerpt dives deep into the issue of the “problem” and why it's so critical to get the client's attention. Click here—As you'd expect, the report has a simple tagline: Why customers buy, and why they don't.
Andrew Finkelstein says
Sean – I can’t believe how this article, that took me less than three minutes to read, cleared up what had been both a mystery as well as a struggle for me. The mystery of what makes a tag-line work, and the struggle of writing one. Thank you.