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Taglines. Taglines. TAGLINES !

Unless you read something and promptly forget it (in which case, you have a shorter memory span than a fish (and no, there’s no award for that)), today we’re getting all-up in the grill of taglines.

Tagline

Noun 

A carefully crafted, memorable phrase that’s associated with a person, business or random group of hooligans*

*Extract from the Dictionary of Raz

Your tagline, when written correctly, tells people exactly what it is you do. No additional thought required.

When a customer’s deciding between using your services over someone else’s, you want to be the one that sees their pain-point and solves their problem in your tagline itself.

And when said customer reads your tagline, they scream ‘Yes! Yes! Yyeeessssss!’ and proceed to throw money, underwear, their kids and their pets at you <— I want a picture when this happens to you.

At its very basic, your tagline will describe to anyone randomly stumbling across your site like a drunken vagabond on rue de Martyrs late on a Saturday night, what your business achieves for them.

And at its height, it’s the line that’s automatically associated with your business and is at the core of the brand.

ThinkThere are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else there’s MasterCard.

Think Because you’re worth it

ThinkJust do it

I don’t have to tell you who these companies are – you recognise them just by the tagline (apart from MasterCard, who decided to get all smug and put their name in the tagline – an idea you can totally steal, pumpkin).

So the skinny is this – nail your tagline. Perfect it. You’re justified if you’re spending hours on getting it right. It’s one of the cornerstones of your business, of your blog, and basically of your life (full disclosure: the last part’s there for dramatic effect).

So, let’s see who’s doin’ it well:

When the clue is in the name (not the tagline)

The business name and tagline are complimentary. They leave no questions as to what the business is about:

Boost Blog Traffic: Getting you the traffic you deserve

Leaving Work Behind: Quit your job and build your best life

Men with Pens: Better websites for better results

 

When the name isn’t a clue (but the tagline is)

When the name of the entrepreneur is the name of the business, the tagline is key to explaining what the business will achieve:

Chris Ducker: Start up and small business strategies for entrepreneurs

Marie Forleo: Create a business and life you love

Steve Pavlina: Personal development for smart people

 

When the name confuses you … but the tagline doesn’t

This is reserved for businesses that use some fancy-schmancy name for their business, and so rely on the tagline to get the message nailed:

Aweber: email marketing

Flickr: Photo sharing

LinkedIn: The world’s largest professional network

 

The ones that need a facelift

And if I were going to give taglines a go for existing businesses? Here’s how I’d do it:

Metro bank: The bank that’s open when your doctor isn’t

McDonalds: It’s 3am. You’re drunk. With only $4 in your pocket

UPS: Mail that’s always a surprise delivery

Facebook: Stalking legitimised

Vogue Magazine: 90% advertisements; 10% fashion news.

LinkedIn: 500+ connections … and you only recognise 7

Rakuten.com: Amazon’s poor cousin

And one final note on taglines? They can be changed whenever it fits your fancy.

  • Adding additional services? Change your tagline to cater for them
  • Brand taking a new direction? Change your tagline to reflect this
  • Going blonde? Best to leave the tagline out of this particular decision

Gillette moved on from the best a man can get to masters of style

Danielle LaPorte moved from white hot truth + sermons on life to Sermons on life, love, consciousness, some cash, and everyday liberation. And desire. It all gets back to desire.

Think traffic/Fizzle moved from Building a thriving and profitable audience for your site

to For independent creatives and entrepreneurs building matterful things.

 

What taglines do you love? Does your tagline need some work? Describe what your business does, what you do to set your customers world alight, and let’s get it nailed right here in the comments.

 

Stuck on how to write copy that actually speaks to human beings? Add your deets below and get the guide that shows you how to understand your customer, write electric copy, and then celebrate. With wine (of course):

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Vishnu January 13, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Razwana, taglines tell a lot about a company. But to figure out a good one, you got to know yourself first, as you point out:) And when you or your business change, the tagline naturally should change with it!

I’ve probably changed my tagline 15 times since starting my blog but as I’m getting to know myself better and my audience, I’m getting closer to a tagline that fits my blog/writing. I notice how the examples you include (and effective taglines) seem to be to the point, simple and expressive.

Your made-up taglines are hilarious and true – for ups, facebook, mcdonalds and linkedin. I’d like to see you make up fake taglines for other famous brands lol

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Razwana January 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Name em, V – I’m aaaallll over it !

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Bjorn Karlman January 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm

OK, my favorite one was definitely the UPS tag:) This is definitely a relevant post to blogger. Like Vishnu, I have experimented with tag lines on my blog… I always feel liberated when I update it to fit how my thoughts/writing/life have evolved.

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Razwana January 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

…. and that’s the beauty of being an ever-evolving creative, Bjorn !

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Emma January 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

This couldn’t have come at a better time. I am on the cusp of launching Photography for Blogs, and I honestly can’t nail the tag line. But thanks to your excellent advice, I now see I don’t have to, I can simply change it when it clicks. Photography for Blogs: Better blog photos is where we’re at now. ‘Find, take and use better blog photos’ (too long?), ‘Attract, keep and engage your readers with better blog photos’ (too long?). ‘For bloggers disappointed with their blog photos’. (too blah). Anyway I digress, great post as always.

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Razwana January 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hi Emma – think about what having better blog photos will achieve for your audience. Traffic? Sales? Prettier posts?

Using this, ‘better blog photos’ can definitely be changed to something more punchy (even though I like it as it is).

So gimme some more deets and let’s generate some ideas for you.

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Emma January 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Benefits = More traffic. Lower bounce rate. Better sharing on social media. A nice feeling of personal satisfaction in a beautiful blog post instead of a slight disappointment that it’s not quite how you want it.

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Razwana January 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Some ideas:

Photo art that sky-rockets traffic
Where your photos = more likes, more shares, more traffic
1 photo closer to internet domination
Images are everything

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Emma January 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm

I am 1 tagline closer to internet domination. Thank you my most perceptive and articulate of friends.

Samuel January 14, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Interesting post on taglines and a kind of post I haven’t seen before.

You do a great job explaining (through examples too) how taglines could leave an impression on your visitors.

Thanks for the post!

- Sam

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Razwana January 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for taking the time to comment, Sam !

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Steve January 15, 2014 at 5:08 pm

That McDonald’s one is funny because if I was in that situation, I’d totally think about McDonald’s too. yet, I’m pretty sure that’s not the kind of image they’re trying to get across. They should stick to something like “I’m lovin’ it”. It’s short, easy to remember and has a catchy jingle-y way you’re supposed to say it.

I think the best taglines are short, memorable and get across what your business is all about. That can be kind of tricky. You have to know yourself really well and figure out what your focus is too. That takes some self-awareness. But if you get it right, I think you can have a winner.

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Razwana January 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

Drunks at night, families out of desparation, teenagers – does any other group of people *actually* go to McDonalds?

I agree with you on your thoughts on taglines, Steve. And for small/new business owners, it’s ok to allow the tagline to evolve over time. The larger corporations do this too.

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Mercedes Calcano January 16, 2014 at 2:22 am

Awesome Information!
I am about to create a new website, and there are many things I haven’t a clue to work out. This is something I did not know, thank you for sharing it. I will go through your advise and probably come back for feedback.

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Razwana January 16, 2014 at 6:47 am

Happy to assist when you’re ready, Mercedes!

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Dan Black January 16, 2014 at 8:57 am

Having a solid tagline is so important. I always remember Nike’s “Just Do It.” Having a good tagline allows people to remember what we are about and what we sell. Great post!

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Razwana January 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

Nike nailed it, didn’t they? I also think MasterCard’s marketing agency nailed it with the tagline, and the marketing campaign.

Thanks for stopping by, Dan!

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Ragnar January 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Hey Razwana,

Just gonna point out: Rakuten is a Japanese company and the name speaks for itself in Japanese (raku= easy ten= store/shop .so basically Easy Shop) but in English it certainly could use a facelift. A couple of my friends work there, but I don’t think any of them is in marketing though.. haha.

I’m not sure if I need a tagline. I think I might need to focus more on making content that fits the title of my blog a bit more. Maybe more on the process of making money online(not that I’m making much yet!) or deciding where to go to start out, overcoming mental barriers things like that. I’m really clueless at to what my tagline would be if I did decide to have one.

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Razwana January 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Hey Ragnar. What does ‘tangible freedom’ mean to your audience? Freedom from what? And what would freedom look like? Knowing this offer would help clarify both your content, and your tagline.

But no pressure to define both now. Pick a definition, test it, and then tweak it as you go along.

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Ragnar January 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

When I first started the tangible freedom was all about breaking mental barriers to be able to achieve/do what you wanted. And because my goal is location independence, it seemed natural to integrate more of that stuff too, although I’m not sure I have yet. Maybe something like “Break Your Mental Barriers And Live The Life You Want” hmm.

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Razwana January 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Can you say the same thing without using the words you’ve used? What you wrote (mental barriers, live the life you want) are things that I’ve heard/seen before.

How can you be more specific AND unique?

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jamie flexman January 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Haha I loved the Facebook tagline! If I worked there I would definitely sacrifice my job to alter the site’s tagline. You’d go down in immortality!

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Razwana January 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm

:-) and then blog about it, of course !

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Ragnar January 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Break Through Your Own Bullshit And Win Perpetually?
Free Yourself From Your Own Shadow ?

90% of what I could think of sounded cliche, haha.

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Razwana January 17, 2014 at 7:07 am

Hah! Most of mine were too …… until I came up with these:

Your genius guide to dominating life
Your real life? It starts now
The gutsy guide to life mastery
Money. Success. Control
Location independence for smart people

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vishnu January 18, 2014 at 7:22 am

Everything is priceless til the price shows up on your credit card statement at the end of the month. I love how they took the actual price of something and made it invaluable – priceless. What’s money when you can own a priceless experience!!

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Razwana January 18, 2014 at 8:05 am

T.O.T.A.L.L.Y, Vishnu. And Visa came up with ‘life flows better with Visa’. WHATEVER !

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Ameena January 26, 2014 at 1:52 am

I think that Nike has it down pat – their tag definitely stands out in my mind! As does “Because you’re worth it.” Love it.

Great post Razwana.

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Razwana January 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

THANK YOU, gorgeous <3

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Karen Platzer April 10, 2014 at 12:58 am

I love your tagline tips and ideas Razwana. I’m struggling to get a good one for my new African safari website. The company name is African Encounters and I think the tagline needs ‘safari’ in it to make it clear. The safaris are mid – upmarket, luxury camping and my clients are generally in the 50+ age group.

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Razwana April 10, 2014 at 7:21 am

Let’s work on this, Karen. Tell me: what emotions are your clients feeling before they buy, and when they’re about to buy the safari? It’s these emotions that hold the key to your tagline. Tell me this, and I’ll give you some options.

Let’s do this !

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Karen Platzer April 10, 2014 at 10:05 am

Excitement; anticipation; nervous, especially if it’s their first time to Africa; achieving a lifetime dream. I went through my guest book and found a recurring comment was that the safari ‘far exceeded our expectations’ and I have been playing around with things like ‘safaris beyond your expectations’ but it doesn’t quite do it for me :-)

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Razwana April 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm

What do you make of these options:

Luxury safaris that are out of this world
African safari – make this your trip of a lifetime
Where luxury safari dreams come true
Your luxury African safari dream: realized
It’s safari time!
Where wild safari dreams come true

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Karen Platzer April 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Some great ideas there, thanks very much Razwana!

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