I’m apologising in advance for the generalisation I’m going to make here, but most founders cannot explain what their startup is all about. Not in a sentence, not in an elevator pitch and not even if you give them 30 min to present their beautiful deck.
Why? Because either they come from a technical background and look at their idea as a set of features, or because they are so heavily involved in the product, that they can’t see the bigger picture. Sometimes they look at themselves as representatives of the perfect target audience, so they assume they “get it”. And they don’t.
They understand the problem, they know how they solve it, they can profile the target audience and market perfectly, but they can’t put it in one simple sentence. It’s all so complicated for them… They don’t want to leave any feature behind…
I like to think of myself as an intelligent person, however I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I met a founder, heard his/her pitch and end up asking them “ok, but what is it exactly that you do?” I just can’t grasp what is the final product only by hearing them pitch about it.
Usually, seeing the actual product resolves a lot of the open questions but most investors/potential customers will not stick around to check out your product demo, you need to win their attention over the first few seconds.
So how can you go about it? What can you do to improve your pitch or tagline? Here are some basic tips:
There is a difference between a pitch and a website tagline but in both cases the leading principle is that you have to be able to explain WHAT is it that you do and HOW do you do it in one sentence. You get extra bonus point for adding the WHO as well. With Pitches, this will be the starting point for the conversation and it will set the tone and level of interest. With websites you can be more creative and playful. It’s the way visitors will judge if your product/service/website is a good fit for them.
But whatever you do, try to remember the following guidelines:
WHAT = It’s not about the features – It’s about the problem. Or to be more exact, it’s about the solution/result. It’s about what people get out of using your product or service. What problem do you solve for them? How do they FEEL after they used your product?
HOW= It’s not your main feature/s – It’s the way you solve it. Forget about the technical details and try to understand what will the summary of features give you? What kind of an experience will someone get when using your product? What is the whole picture: A _____ messaging app, An ______ Analytic Product? A ______ MarketPlace? Try to fill in the blanks with an adjective that describe the difference, that tells the “how” story. Then see if you can use other words to explain the same experience (but you don’t have to, you can stick to this formula and it may be good enough).
WHO= It’s not your target audience – It’s who they aspire to be. Try to tap into your target audience’s dreams, aspirations, nightmares etc. Then describe them in a way that triggers these perceptions. let them feel as if it’s exactly what they were looking for.
Emotion = The Secret Sauce – no matter how good your tagline will be, if you are not generating ANY emotion, people will not be able to connect to your product. They won’t be intrigued, they won’t understand why THEY need it and why would they WANT to use it. Using keywords that are based on your target audience research (the who) will help you trigger those feelings. Writing something that reflects this keyword is even a more sophisticated way to get this effect.
Let’s take AirTasker as a good example for all of the 4 points mentioned above:
Here are some other things you should consider when trying to explain your business:
I’ll finish this post with 2 very interesting ways my Behavioural Psychology and Social Media mentor, Eliav Alaluf suggests for testing your pitch:
Do you have a unique technique for testing your tagline? I can’t wait to hear about it. Tweet me @yifi or comment below.