How to Write a Tagline that Truly Works

Nike said, “Just do it.” Nortel told you to come together. Timex said it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. And GE mentioned that it brings good things to life.

Well, good for GE, but as far as you’re concerned, you first need to figure out how to write a tagline before you can bring it to life.

If you’re not quite sure what a tagline is, or why you need one, keep reading.

What is a tagline?

Tagline, strapline, slogan … whatever you choose to call it, it’s all the same.

A tagline is the key phrase that identifies your business by capturing the essence of three elements. Your:

  • Mission
  • Promise
  • Brand

The process of creating a tagline doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might seem at first.

What makes a good tagline?

Since your tagline seems like a huge part of your brand, just like your about me page, it’s easy to overthink it.

But a good tagline is actually pretty simple. The best taglines focus on how a product or service helps its customers or clients see outstanding results.

The copy should be all about the person you’re helping and what they’ll get out of what you offer.

Coming up with a tagline in 3 steps

Ready to come up with a tagline in three steps?

Crafting a great tagline is a struggle many people face. More often than not, they get it wrong by focusing on what their product or service is and neglecting what it offers.

To capture a reader’s eye at a glance, you need to combine all three elements of mission, promise, and brand to create a great tagline that really works.

Here’s how.

Step #1: Your true mission

There’s a saying in the copywriting world: Be clear, not clever.

Considering that most of us aren’t the best at coming up with the coolest phrases ever uttered on the face of the Earth, that’s sage advice, especially on the web. And it’s especially true when you’re learning how to write a tagline.

Don’t be cool. In the virtual world, there’s no time for cool. People who don’t know you, your business, your products, or your services land on your website. In a fraction of a second, they decide whether to leave or to stay.

Be clear, not clever. Start building a tagline with the purpose of your site. Decide what you have to offer.

Are you setting up a blog for email marketing tips? Is your website about productivity tools? Sales techniques? Love songs? Toilet cleaners?

Pick the focus of your site — and stick with it.

Step #2: So what?

Let’s say your business is iced tea. You sell iced tea mixes, you offer cups, glasses, and mugs, and you’re going to have a blog to establish authority as the Iced Tea Emperor.

Your blog’s tagline will probably start something like this: “Iced tea tips …”

And this is where people get jammed. Rockin’ iced tea tips? Great iced tea tips? Iced tea to go?

None of the above. The average visitor who lands on your site doesn’t care. Nothing stands out, nothing seems attractive, nothing compels him to stay.

There’s one fast, easy way to get past this obstacle. Ask yourself this question: “So what?”

The answers you’ll come up with are the benefits, not just the features, a visitor (or potential customer) receives from staying on your site — and that’s important.

People always want something. By adding benefits to a tagline, you’re telling people what’s in it for them and what they get from you.

If you’re really smart, use those benefits as selling points throughout your site copy, too. Don’t harp on about how great your product is — tell people what benefits they receive if they buy what you have to sell.

So, what are the benefits of iced tea?

Iced tea can:

  • Quench your thirst
  • Rehydrate your body
  • Perk you up
  • Cool you down
  • Leave you feeling refreshed

Benefits are the key to better copy, better content marketing and SEO, and better sales.

Step #3: A little pizzaz

Alright, Step #3 of how to write a tagline. So, you have your mission and you have your benefits. Now you have to add some branding.

Make your tagline reflect your business image. Differentiate yourself from the competition. Your business has a personality, so show it. Give people a little taste of your business’s brand in your tagline.

Let’s say your iced tea business is a little Zen-like.

You like to promote tea as relaxing. You want people to enjoy a quieter life. Your website colors are pale and fresh, and even your blog’s tone seems to be calming. That’s your branding at work right there.

Put it to work in your tagline, too.

Pick an adjective that encompasses your business image, take the summary of your benefits, and tack that to your mission. What do you get?

“Soothing iced tea tips to revitalize your life.” That’s a great tagline.

Bonus: It’s fun to pick on others

Need some practice? Here are two taglines for you to pick apart:

  • Web Business Tips for Writers, Freelancers, and Online Entrepreneurs
  • Copywriting Tips for Online Marketing Success

Do they fulfill all three elements of a great tagline? Are they effective? Would they attract you? What would you change?

Best tagline examples

Here are a few more tagline examples to study. Remember to review how each of these reflect the company’s mission, promise, and brand.

The Hustle: “Business and tech in 5 minutes or less”
If you’re crunched for time, but want to keep up on the latest business and tech news, The Hustle’s got you covered. They know exactly who they’re talking to and how their newsletter will help that person.

BIG Brand System’s Offer Accelerator program: “Design, Deliver, and Optimize Your High-Value Online Offer”
Once again, this tagline is focused on the results someone will get from the program. It’s clear, not clever — and that’s going to convert more prospects.

Digital Commerce Partners: “Your Success Is Our Business”
Check out the seamless combination of mission, promise, and branding in this tagline. It’s a reminder that powerful copy doesn’t have to be complicated.

Next time you’re looking to strengthen your own branding, see if inspiration comes from these suggestions about how to write a tagline.

You might just end up with a rock-solid tagline that truly works.

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