Phrases That Work for Small Businesses and How to Develop Them

When Small Is Big

Sometimes, it’s the little things that say the most. Take, for example, the power of taglines.

But, what makes one tagline brilliant and another one disastrous? If it’s catchy and relates to the business, shouldn’t it work? The answer, in short, is not necessarily. For a more in-depth look as to why, read on.

Clever Doesn’t Always Cut It

Apart from the top-dog corporations that are recognized worldwide, taglines should never remain abstract for the sake of creativity.

Businesses tend to think that their tagline is golden as long as it shows originality and pertains to their industry. The truth is that most companies cannot afford to be clever. Apart from the top-dog corporations that are recognized worldwide, taglines should never remain abstract for the sake of creativity. Therefore, the majority of businesses cannot mimic McDonalds’ “I’m lovin’ it”, or Verizon’s “Can you hear me now? Good.”

So, what’s left? If a business is supposed to steer clear of catchy phrases, how will it set itself apart from competitors? The answer lies within a saying that’s popular among copywriters: Be clear, not clever.

Before the creative process is completely dismissed, it’s important to emphasize that creativity should not leave the equation entirely. A business that can develop an effective tagline that’s also clever deserves credit. The takeaway here is that the heart of a tagline does not rely on wit. Instead, it is clarity that connects with consumers. Prospective customers spend mere seconds the first time that they examine a company’s website. If they don’t quickly understand how the business can benefit them, they will simply return to their search engine and find another business that addresses their needs.

So What Does A Tagline Actually Need?

All successful taglines possess certain key characteristics. The first step is to understand the difference between a feature and a benefit. If an ice cream parlor is trying to develop its tagline, it would not want to focus on the ice cream itself. Instead, it would revolve its tagline around a benefit that the consumer will gain by eating its ice cream, such as choosing from several flavors, or receiving large servings at low prices.

A tagline should be centered on the business’s mission, brand and promise.

According to Copyblogger, a tagline should be centered on the business’s mission, brand and promise. An effective logo already enhances a company’s brand image—making it much easier to develop a tagline that fits. But for a business whose branding is lacking, it’s time to go back to the basics and think about what the business offers customers. Are there any services or benefits that nearby competitors fail to provide? Even something simple, such as reliability and excellent customer service, can be highlighted. Remember, keep it simple so that it resonates during the brief time that a consumer spends initially evaluating a company’s website.

Forbes states that there are three questions a business should consider when writing a winning tagline:

  1. What is the ultimate benefit I want my customer to gain?
  2. How will my product make my customer’s life better?
  3. Why is my business better than my competitions’?

If a business can conjure a tagline that answers all three questions in five to six words or less, it’s well on its way to a tagline that will deliver results.

A Look At Some Examples

Graphic D-Signs has helped many small businesses create a tagline that empowers their brand. Here are two case studies to demonstrate the power of simplicity.

A) Landscape Doctors: Your Prescription for Healthy Plants
The company’s services are clear from their business name. But with a unique approach of branding themselves as doctors, their tagline offers a prescription and implies that their services are not something consumers want, but something that they need.

B) Tonna Mechanical: The Just Right Company
This HVAC business plays off of the theme of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In just four words, its playful tagline makes consumers believe that Tonna can make their home not too hot, not too cold, but “just right.”

Take the Time, but Don’t Overanalyze

If a business plans to incorporate its tagline onto vehicles or stationary, the phrase will be around for awhile—so ensure that it speaks to consumers. It’s a company’s opportunity to persuade shoppers that it can meet their needs. And for small businesses, in particular, be sure to remember that customers’ needs are simple and straightforward.