There are lots of ways to market your small business, personal contacts, business cards, advertising, social media, or storytelling just to name a few.
All of these and much more are done to create awareness, bring customers in the door and build your brand.
One element of that effort needs to be your tagline. A tagline is the 5 to 7 words that says what makes your business unique.
For those of us older than we may care to admit, we can remember “Let your fingers to the walking” (The Yellow Pages for the younger reader). Or what about “Can you hear me now?” brought to us by Verizon. Then there was Nike, “Just do it.”
Each of these taglines became an embedded part of the company. It identifies them, it tells you what they stand for, and what they offer or makes them unique.
So how do you come up with a great tagline?
Trial and error can get you there. However, these seven steps can get you there quicker without some of the guess work. There still may be some trial and error but it’s now done in a purposeful manner. So here are the steps:
- Step 1. Make lists. Identify words that answer what you do and what makes you unique. Have some fun. Get crazy. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box in this step.
- Step 2. Start building some combinations of your words. Nothing is tossed away at this step or the previous one. Have your goal in mind, a functional, value-driven, memorable, short intro to your small business. Cute and clever are nice but not required.
- Step 3. Put them away and come back in a week or two.
- Step 4. The weeding process begins. Pull out the lists. What jumps out? What doesn’t make the cut? Think of changes or ways to shorten.
- Step 5. Take a short list to a sounding board. This can be family, friends, business advisers, and your board (or the group you have coffee with each morning). You don’t want just people who agree. Ask them what connects with them. Ask them what each tagline might mean to them. Does the tagline connect to your business?
- Step 6. Try it out. Don’t print anything yet. Just try it with your suppliers and customers. Ask them if the tagline represents the company they are doing business with.
- Step 7. Get it out. Make it a part of all your marketing. Once you select a tagline, don’t change it without serious thought. People are associating it with your company. It will take a tremendous amount of marketing to make it part of your business. Any change will take at least twice that amount of effort.
A tagline is part of your marketing. It’s your value-statement to the public. Get one and use it constantly, or using a tagline as a summary, “Don’t leave home without it.”
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.