While I was camped out at Panera Bread in-between meetings yesterday, I noticed this Dunbar Armored truck pull up.
As a rule of thumb, I usually try not to make direct eye contact with armored trucks because I don't want them getting all suspicious but I couldn't help admiring their tagline "Safeguarding Valuables."
Maybe it was the fancy script font or the fact that they distilled the core of their business into just two words, either way I went into pure stealth-mode to capture a quick photo of the truck from behind a cup of dark roast coffee.
So what makes a great tagline and how do you know if your small business needs one?
Taglines are usually most helpful when the name of your business doesn't necessarily reflect what it is that you do and/or you want to create something memorable that will stick with potential customers.
The key here is focus and clarity. In 5-7 words or less, what do you want to communicate? What's the big announcement you want to make? What's your big idea? What action do you want people to take?
For many small business owners, determining they need a tagline is the easy part--it's coming up with one that's proves to be the most difficult.
Sometimes you get lucky and come up with something really quickly and you just know it's "the one." But in most cases, it's going to require a fair amount of elbow grease.
To help with the process, here are my 6 tips...
1. Think about your business offerings
What words come to mind? Jot them down. I always find it most helpful to use a dry erase board so I don't forget them and also so I can play around with them later.
2. Experiment with different word combinations.
Say them out loud. Which ones sound the best? Which ones don't? Are there any words you think you can eliminate?
3. Let your tagline options breath
Once you have some ideas in mind, put them aside for a few hours or a few days. The time away should give you just enough distance from it to come back with a fresh perspective. When you look at them again, pay close attention to the ones that immediately jump out at you. Narrow your list of possibilities to 3-5.
4. Hold impromptu focus groups
They can be over email, in person, or by phone but it's usually best if you can hear their reaction.
Ask them to talk about which ones they like and don't like and, when possible, to explain why. Let them talk out loud about each tagline before asking them any guided questions.
5. Make your pick
Pick the tagline you believe most accurately represents your business--your products and services, the unique personality of your company, and your overall brand.
6. Incorporate your new tagline.
Add it to your website, business cards, and other marketing materials. Think of your company name and your tagline as a one-two punch or peanut butter and jelly. Wherever possible, they should go together.
Looking for some tagline inspiration of your own?
Here are 12 Best/Worst Local Business Taglines.
By: Shawn Graham