It’s time to turn the stage over to you again. Today’s open mic post is about taglines.
Your tagline is an integral part of the first impression your business makes. It’s that phrase — hopefully no longer than seven-eight words — that describes what your business offers. It expands on your business name, and when it works well, it piques your prospects’ interest, and makes them want to learn more.
If you get it right, you’ll give your prospects and customers something to talk about. You’ll give them the gift of an easy-to-remember group of words that will help them understand what your business offers.
This makes it easier for them to remember how they benefit from your products and services. It also makes it easier for them to recommend your business to others.
I’ve written about this topic in the past in How to Write a Terrific Tagline.
If you’re still looking for a name for your business, read Branding 101: 7 Business Name Traps to Avoid.
Here’s my story
Big Brand System was founded in 2010. The original tagline was “Grow your business with great design.” After a year or so, I realized I wanted my tagline to reflect that I talk about marketing and design both, so I expanded it to its current version, “Grow your business with great design and marketing.”
I considered coining a new word that combined marketing and design to communicate how important it is to have both working together. Marketdesign? Designketing? Hmm … 😀
In the end, I decided to stick with my somewhat wordy tagline. They’re easy to edit, tweak and update, after all, since they’re not part of your legal business name.
Then in 2021, my business had evolved to the point where I needed not just a new tagline, but a complete rebrand. You can read all about that in my rebranding article.
Tell me your story
Let’s talk about your tagline. What is it, and what’s the thinking behind it?
If you’re still working on your tagline, or you’re thinking about changing it, use the comment section to get feedback from me and other readers. I’m happy to help!
57 thoughts on “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About”
Hi Pamela, well my old tagline (for my poorly named business – imarketSB) was “Affordable Internet Marketing with proven results.”. Now that I’m branding myself as a one-man Internet Marketing Consultant instead, I think I’m gonna go with “Helping businesses (big or small) generate revenue from their website.
Nice! I love how taglines can evolve as our businesses change. Thanks for starting us off, Sherwin.
I have a bricks & mortar business that sells healthy stuff (muesli, nuts, vitamins, etc.,) and used to have the tagline..”Your health is our business”..which I rather liked, but I was told that customers wouldn’t see it the way I did, so I’ve change it to..”because your health matters”
I’ll be interested to know your thoughts.
It’s a definite improvement, Steve. Have you had a good reaction to the new tagline?
Wow! That was a quick reply – and it’s pretty early where you are, too!
It seems that the folks who have noticed prefer it to the old one, but I intend to work on it some more as I’m still working on targeting my perfect customer. Mind you, now I think about it, the customers who’ve noticed it are the ones I want to aim at getting more of anyway.
Perfect! It sounds like it’s doing its job, Steve.
For my new website I’m using the tagline, “Get people to know, like, and trust you, through web video”. I realize it has 11 words, but many are short one-syllable words. Do you think it works?
You know, Marlene, the only word you might change is “through.” It could be “with,” which is a tiny bit shorter. What do you think?
Funny you mention that, when I originally wrote my comment I used “with” and then realized it’s “through” on my site. What does that tell you? Thanks – got my answer!
Hi Pamela, I am still struggling with my tag line. Originally I had “North Carolina’s Metal Clay Studio” in a hopes of defining what I do. I have since started using, “Artisan Jewelry” and now am rounding the bend to “Create, Shop, Learn”.
How does anyone actually figure out what the tag line should be?
How much should it define you VS just a catchy memorable line?
Since my Studio is named Karen Simmons Designs, I really need the tag line.
Thanks so much!
I think you’re right, Karen: a good tagline would really help you. The “Designs” part of your business name doesn’t specify whether you’re a fashion designer, interior designer, or jewelry designer.
You have a very unique offering, so maybe you can come up with a tagline that incorporates what you offer, and the medium you use. Feel free to brainstorm here and we’ll give you feedback!
Marketing + Design = Markesign?
I have two taglines, one for my company Thrive Small Business Services (tagline – Be Small, Do Big Things) and one for the blog that’s associated with it The Thriving Solo (tagline – Because Cubicles Kill Creativity and Entrepreneurs Drive the Economy). Response to the first has been great, but I’m still debating the second. “Solo” is a reference to solopreneur, but not everyone has made that connection. So, I may need a clearer tagline.
Love the first one, Yoneco, and I can relate to it! And I agree that “solopreneur” isn’t widely accepted at this point. Is there any reason you can’t use your business tagline on your blog, too?
Thanks Pamela. I’ve just gone through a rebranding (was previously using my own name to offer services, but now need that for something else). I picked the company name and tagline a few weeks ago and then felt I was on the right track when you did the post with Becky (about being small but mighty).
As for the blog, it has a slightly different audience. I write there mostly for side hustlers and people just starting out. I keep it linked to my company website because some of my clients pointed out that they’ve found it useful, too. So, I wanted a slightly different tagline for that audience.
I’m probably making it all more complicated than it needs to be. I tend to do that!
Here’s an invitation to join the “making it more complicated” club, Yoneco. I hear you!
It sounds like it’s working well now. You can always tweak down the road, right?
It’s funny, but I’ve been working on my tagline recently, and just posted the new one. “Elegantly beautiful forged art jewelry”. I’m still not happy with it, as I think it’s too easily applied to any art jewler… I also want to have it lead into my headline, but I’m just not sure how. Taglines always seem overly generic, I guess. Or pat, maybe. If a tagline is supposed to help orient you and give you the buisness in a nutshell, shouldn’t it be uniquely specific?
Maybe I’m over thinking things.
Uniquely specific is a great goal to aim for, Kaelin. When I go to your About page, it says “Art Metalsmith.” I wonder if there’s a way to incorporate that into your tagline? That seems like a unique take on jewelry, and something not every custom jeweler can claim. What do you think?
I’ve thought about it, but somehow the words never come out quite right. The tagline I’ve got right now is the result of polling my best clients. I asked them what one word comes to mind when they think of my jewelry, and then built the tagline from there. I’m not sure that Art Metalsmith is something that would apply to my jewelry- though it certainly applies to me.
I think I’ll have to give it alot more thought. Thanks for your input!
Kaelin, you’re smart to poll your best clients and get their feedback. It can always evolve over time. Good luck!
I’m in the process of changing the name of my beaded jewelry business from Kreations by Karen G to Karen L Gilmore Designs and using your Quick Start Guide, I’ve come up with a tag line of “One of a kind affordable jewelry designs”, but I’m not sure I really like it. All my designs are unique and are not duplicated and I work to keep the costs down so I can offer great pricing. I would send you a link to my website, but it looks pretty sad right now.
Hi Karen! I’m glad to hear the Quick-Start Guide helped.
I wonder if you could use one of the words in your comment to shorten your tagline a little. How about “Unique, affordable jewelry designs?”
Here’s something else to think about: you’re not really selling the design, you’re selling the jewelry itself, correct? So I wonder if it should be something like, “Unique, affordable handmade jewelry,” or “Unique & affordable custom-made jewelry.” What do you think?
Ooo – I like those! Especially the custom-made one. Thanks so much!!!
Just had to share this. I did a quick poll of my best customers from my full-time job and they all liked the custom made one as well. But one lady changed it slightly to “Unique & Affordable Custom Jewelry Creations” and we all loved it! I even gave her a discount on the beaded ID holder she bought from me today! Can’t wait to see it in the custom web banner I’m having designed.
That’s fantastic, Karen, and even better because the final tagline came from one of your customers. Thanks so much for reporting back. 🙂
Hi, Pamela – This is fabulously timed; I’m just starting on the quest for a new tagline after making some shifts in my business recently. I love how simple your article makes it. Thank you! – Erin
Oooh, don’t you love it when information appears exactly when you need it? Glad I could help! 😉
Well hello Pamela!
Since our work together at the beginning of this year (wow!), I’ve rolled out a preliminary (re)new(ed) website for Red Bird Restorative Gardens (construction ahead) and proceeded with “Thrive outside. Heal inside.” as the primary tagline. I do use two others when target market calls for it: “Feel Better Inside Because of Outside” (programs & coaching) and “Unearthing Goodness for Your Well-Being” (garden maintenance, care, curating).
I’m still working on getting use to the new biz name… and sooo funny how the tag line really welcomes customers in and helps them know that are in exactly the right place.
Thanks in advance for any feedback. Best to you as you continue to do good, helpful, inspired work. -Annie Red Bird
This is a great idea, Annie! A common business name, and a set of taglines you can swap in and out, depending on who you’re talking to. It’s a wonderful way to unite the different services you offer.
Thanks for the update 🙂 I’m glad to hear things are moving ahead with you.
Love your articles, perfect for a newbie like me! I am starting a coaching practice to help people make decisions. I want to “explain” in my tagline that I believe that logical thought processes PLUS your inner voice, inner wisdom, intuiton can help a person find their answer. So here is my tagline:
“Combining rational thought with intuition to help you discover your unigue path.”
A little too long? I tried to think of a more precise way to explain it, any ideas?
Hi Cathleen! I have to say, I think your business name is great. You’re lucky that your tagline doesn’t have to carry the burden of spicing up your business name, because it’s already strong.
I do think your tagline is a little long, and somewhat complex. I wonder if you crack open a thesaurus if you’d find some alternative words for “rational thought.” What about something like “Discover your unique path through rational intuition?” Not sure if that’s appropriate, but it’s a bit shorter, and may inspire some new ideas. Thanks for your comment!
Ah yes, the good old thesaurus. Great idea, I will do some searching. Thank you for the positive feedback on the business name, I lost sleep over that one before I finally decided. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!
Oh, by the way, my business name is Decision Tree Coaching.
Perfect timing on the blog post about tag lines. I’m getting ready to print up some new business cards. I’m an artist that specializes in home illustrations. I use a tag line that says ” Every doorway has a story… what’s your story”. It represents the story I tell with my painting of each persons home. What do you think??
I love it! The only tweak you could consider would be, “Every doorway has a story. What’s yours?” That way you’re not repeating the word “story” twice.
I think it will really resonate with your audience. Everyone likes to think their home holds lots of memories, and that tagline taps right into that sentiment.
Thanks, that’s a great suggestion!!
Craft-It-Easy: make your crafty school projects fast, fun and easy.
We design and publish illustrated step-by-step instruction sheets to help middle schoolers, and their parents, make their crafty school projects – dioramas, miniatures, models and artifact reproductions – fast, fun and easy. Our initial publications will be e-books, and our future aspirations include selling printed instruction sheets in craft stores, book stores, educational retailers and eventually big box stores.
It sounds like it works well for you, Robyn. Fast, fun and easy are great selling points for busy parents!
Just discovered your wonderful site a few days ago, and got some ideas on how to revamp my site already. Can’t wait to start on the Design 101 email series!
I work in the airy-fairy biz of soul/tarot readings 😉 2 key objectives: 1. to help people change things in their lives by taking real world steps/focusing on key issues, and NOT fortune-telling (we create the future with our actions). 2. to help people see what is special about themselves (shocking but most people don’t know!) Re: tagline – I used to have “Practical steps to living your dreams” but am trying to think of something that fits better. “A touch of clarity can kickstart your life”, “Readings for clarity and self-awareness”, “Readings to uncover your hidden potential”. Any comments? Thanks for reading!
I wonder if you could re-arrange some of the words you’re using:
You could try “Clarity and self-awareness to kickstart your dreams,” or even “Clarity to kickstart your dreams.” Does that give you some direction?
Thanks for the helpful advice, Pamela! Will play around with the words and arrangement 🙂 cheers~
working on my website, sorry. I own and operate a second hand shop – but unlike other second hand shops, I have full time staff who do nothing but edit and work to present clothing in an upscale boutique atmosphere. My store name is Chic Thrills (a take off on cheap thrills and the thrill of the hunt). My tag is ‘making it chic to shop second hand.” My staff is not so sure they like second hand and apparently few people know enough french ! to call it chic not chick.
That’s funny about Chic=Chick! I guess if you mostly sell women’s clothing it’s not going to be a problem.
I do think you need to somehow explain that you offer second hand clothing in your tagline. You could use “Gently Worn Clothing” or “Pre-Loved Garments” or something like that to refer to it.
I wonder if you can avoid repeating “Chic” in the tagline, since it already causes some confusion? Maybe something like “Experience First-Class Second-Hand Clothing” or “Gently Worn Clothing That’s Second to None.”
Finding the right tagline is tough. We updated ours when we updated our logo earlier this year, and I still wonder from time to time if it should be tweaked further.
Our Joomla web development business is called Polished Geek. It was founded by me (the business person, AKA the Polish) and my more technically skilled partner (the Geek). So our original tagline to reinforce this dual message was “The Polish of business, the power of Geek”. Which is not bad at all, and is kind of catchy, so ok, on one level it worked. But it became apparent as our business grew that people didn’t really understand what the tagline meant, or worse they misunderstood it. (What does the “Polish of business” mean anyway, right?).
So when we revamped our logo, we struggled to find a tagline that better described how we stand apart from other Joomla web development companies. We wanted to convey to clients what it’s like to work with us in as succinct a manner as possible. We finally came up with “Innovation Refined.” We chose that as our new tagline because we love doing complex, messy, other-developers-laughed-at-the-idea kind of projects. So the word Innovation is there because we create novel and sometimes unusual web applications. We also wanted to convey that we are thorough, analytical and detail oriented – we take the time to do things right, and ask the right business and technical questions to ensure we’re building the right solution. We want to attract clients who value partnering with a company that works in a deliberate and careful way, guiding them and refining a solution until it’s exactly right for them. We felt that the word Refined would subtly convey this approach. We feel the word “Refined” would also not attract clients who are seeking cheap “do the minimum and get out” or “throw something together fast” kind of development. Those are definitely not our ideal client.
But I’m still not sure “Innovation Refined.” is really clear or direct enough. I think it’s better than the old tagline, but perhaps still not quite there. I’d love to hear what reactions and thoughts others have when they hear the phrase “Polished Geek: Innovation Refined.” (Please note that we operate in a niche market of only serving Joomla CMS website clients, and it’s mostly a B2B market for us. So I don’t think we have to spell out the Joomla web development part in our tagline.).
I was just getting ready to answer that I thought maybe adding something about Joomla in your tagline would help, and then I read your last line. 😉
So I’m going to play devil’s advocate here, and ask you if adding Joomla to your tagline might help to cement it in people’s minds. Like “Polished Geek: Joomla Innovation Refined.”
Here’s a comparison:
What if this site was just called “BIG SYSTEM.” Wouldn’t you wonder “big what?” Somewhere — either in your business name or your tagline — you need to explicitly say what you do. You need to state what you offer.
One reason your current tagline might be bugging you is that it’s not doing that yet. “Polished Geek: Innovation Refined” might be a company that makes iPhone apps, or designs high-tech kitchens. You don’t necessarily think “Joomla experts” when you see that name.
I hope that helps. Feel free to come back with a new idea or brainstorm and maybe others will chime in, too.
Pamela – again the timing is just perfect for us. We started a year ago as complete newbies to almost everything on-line. We felt if necessary to make it clear very quickly to visitors to the site, what it was about. Currently we are – Useful Graphic Design Tutorials with a tag line of – create your own graphics * free software * learn using videos –
We knew it wasn’t perfect but had other priorities at the time. Now we are reviewing our font style and tag line.
So far we have No 1 favourite as “showing you how to create your own graphics”, but we feel it’s a bit bland. Any thoughts would be very much welcomed.
Hmm … I do like “Showing you how to create your own graphics,” but I wonder if it would be stronger if you pared it down to “Create your own graphics!” or even “Learn to create your own graphics!”
For some reason, taglines that start with an -ing word seem weak to me. Using an action word seems stronger. What do you think?
Hi Pam – what do I think? Well, I think that’s bloomin’ marvellous! I think Learn to create your own graphics is on the button, and yes, showing is a bit weak. Thank you very much for your input – it’s much appreciated.
Caroline, not sure I have a tagline for you but I am definitely going to check your site out! It sounds very interesting.
Hi there Sue – well we’d love to see you over on our site or pop on to our Facebook wall and say hello!
Not sure if we come under the same banner as everyone else as we’re a humanitarian site; helping raise awareness and funds for various charities. We say, “Caring in Action.” Do you think this works enough to explain what we do?
Even though it’s not used for commercial purposes, you still want your tagline to move people to take action, so I do think it’s important, Glynne. Currently it explains what you do, but not necessarily who you do it for. Since you’ve only used three words, maybe you could add a few more that define who you help. What do you think?
I’ve recently changed my tagline to “Listen. Act. Inspire”. Since it’s my personal website, I like it to reflect my vision for this year. Those three words have helped me focus on my content and marketing materials. I’d like to think that my readers have benefited as a result. Thanks for a great article!
It’s short and to the point, and it sounds like it’s working for you. Thanks for sharing it, Olle.
First let me tell you what a “knock your socks off” business you are building. I have reviewed and started using your recommendations and will, as things develop, be purchasing products from you and your recommended affiliates as resources permit.
Quickly, my story is I am an “inactive” psychologist, meaning I no longer see private clients in an office setting. Also meaning I no longer provide psychological services. The back story is longer than this post should endure so I’ll move along.
In years gone by (circa 1999) I built a website offering my services to small business. The site was just a brochure and services were generally provided in the businesses workplace. As I slowly wound down my practice (for a variety of reasons), I mothballed nichebuilders and I moved into “retirement” to take care of my aging parents in 2010.
Despising the term “retirement” and related boredom and shrinking of the cerebral cortex, I was attacked by an age old desire to keep my mind from going to numb and the satisfaction of making money. I decided to rejoin the world of work, pull nichebuilders.com out of bottom drawer of my file cabinet, and strap on my parachute.
My underlying conceptual structure is to blog my experiences of remodeling nichebuilders.com into a real online business.
I am going to blog about my experiences with fellow online services providers (like you – which I call building “external supports”) and add to it how I deal with (which I call “internal supports”) my own internal demons (self doubt, fear of failing, fear of looking like an idiot, fear of wetting my pants while speaking to groups, etc.) and sharing the skills I use to fight them.
Now to the point; what do you think of the tagline
“building your perfect online business.” ?
One of my post deals with the “holy grail” of perfectionism. Perfection is and always will be a destination to head towards which we head. And we do so knowing we will never get there.
The Lexus tagline is a source of inspiration:
So are you.
PS: FYI I came across you via Think Traffic
PPS: Please abide the imperfections of my comments. :<)
Thanks for the encouraging words! They’re much appreciated. 🙂
Your current tagline is OK, but I wonder if there’s a way to inject a little more “you” into it. You’ve had an interesting career, and have a lot more to offer than the typical 20-something niche website builder.
I’d start by backing up and looking closely at your ideal customer. Think about who you’d like to attract with this site, and what issues they’re dealing with. Then develop a tagline that will attract them and communicate what you have for them.
I’m going to talk about this process in my next free webinar, which you’re welcome to sign up for here: https://www.pamelawilson.com/bbw/ Taglines are so important, and the process of developing them can help to clarify your thinking about your business!
Thank you for the invitation.
I’ll be there.
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