By Thomas Young
Writing a catchy tagline may be the most important part of your home page content. The tagline is the sales hook, the most compelling message on your home page and often the starting point in your Website’s conversion strategy.
What is a Tagline?
Taglines are 8-12 word phrases that explain the key benefits of your company. They can be set up as part of your logo, in photo captions, questions, bullet items or other small blocks of text on the site. Taglines are critical because people scan Websites, especially first time visitors who are just beginning to understand your company.
Taglines are not slogans or catchy phrases that support the brand like Nike’s “Just Do It” or Chevy’s “An American Revolution.” These slogans only work when connected to the brand and do not work on their own. However, most small and medium sized firms don’t have a national brand that is a household name, so their tagline should clarify what the company is about.
By far the biggest tagline mistake companies make is using a tagline that is generic, cryptic, or not understood by the Website visitor. Most Web users simply overlook meaningless taglines and give them little or no value. Marketers regularly confuse taglines with slogans. Another common mistake is to use internal “company-speak” that is not understood by the Website visitors. Many Websites do not have a tagline and use a block of text on their home page that is not easily scanned. Others put their taglines into flash or moving text images so that it disappears and makes the user work to read it. Some cluttered sites may have four or five taglines pulling the visitor in several directions.
Examples of Bad Taglines
Here are a few examples of actual taglines and slogans from the Internet from medium sized businesses. Visit these Websites and see the comments below to better understand how taglines should be written.
It’s about time. What will you do with yours? (trustamerica.com)
Colorado’s premier destination resort (decasno.com)
Leading IT service and support (thinkhdi.com)
Where sales people click and connect instantly (salesspider.com)
In Control, In Command (pcstelcom.com)
I could go on and on. Let’s take a look at these taglines and slogans and see if we can get them to make sense.
Trust Company of America (TCA)
Tagline: It’s about time. What will you do with yours?
Many financial services Websites use generic taglines that don’t usually connect with the visitor or their target market. This company provides service to financial planners that will save them time. A stronger tagline would read:
“We provide the back-end support so you save time.”
Questions can also work with taglines:
“Are you wasting time with administrative work?”
These taglines do a much better job of getting at the heart of the issue for financial planner’s that will hire TCA.
Double Eagle Casino
Tagline: Colorado’s premier destination resort
The first major problem here is the Double Eagle is not a resort, but a casino. This is a much better descriptive tagline:
“Cripple Creek Colorado’s premier destination casino.”
They can also include a differentiator in the tagline like this:
“Cripple Creek Colorado’s premier destination casino book online.”
“Cripple Creek Colorado’s premier destination casino offering hot slots and more.”
“Cripple Creek Colorado’s premier destination casino with the original Roll the Dice.”
Tagline: Leading IT service and support
Their tagline is generic and thousands of companies could use it. The tagline does not say what they do.
“Training IT professionals to become excellent at service and support.”
Does that clear things up? Of course we are assuming the user knows what IT means.
The word “solutions” is probably the most common used word in taglines on the Web. In this case it is the only word in the tagline. In fact, none of the static content on the home page describes what GEBA actually does. A strong tagline will do just that like this tagline:
“Helping organizations make the right decisions about health insurance and financial security.”
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I recently received a sales call from this organization and for the life of me could not figure out what they do and how they could help me. Their Website made me more confused and their multiple taglines did not help. How does the site make money? Their tagline seems to be:
“When we figure out how you make money, we’ll let you know.”
Actually, the very small tagline in fine print below their logo is the most informative tagline. The question is, how does it make you money? Maybe this sums it up:
“Meet people online that you can sell.”
The Website has many taglines and most of them come and go in a flash ad on the home page.
Tagline: “In Command. In Control”
This company does not need a slogan because they are not a national brand. What does that tagline mean? PCS provides telephone systems for prisons and are marketing to large prison systems who will purchase and install their phone systems. How about this tagline:
“A leader in customized, comprehensive telecommunication products and services for prisons.”
That means more to the user than “In Control. In Command.”
Aqua-Hot Heating Systems
Another very popular tagline is the word “welcome.” This is a left over from the early days of the Web. This Website uses a block of text on their home page that really needs a tagline. Pretty much everything that is said in that block of text can be summed up in this tagline:
“Never run out of hot water in your RV.”
Where to Find Great Taglines
A couple areas to see good uses of taglines are newspapers and magazine article headers and photo captions. They have learned the importance of capturing the scanning reader and driving them into content. Also, great marketing companies like Starbucks and Apple make great use of taglines on the Web.
Take a look at your taglines from the perspective of your Website visitors and ask if they make sense and help clarify your company’s message and move your Website visitors deeper in to the site?
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