by Cara Lumen
The title of your blog or web page is important, but not as important as the power phrase you put next to it. The URL or title is only a word or two that only suggests what you do. You need to have a seven to eight word byline that not only catches the readers’ attention but holds an emotional appeal that keeps them eagerly reading.
You have 7 seconds to convince people to stay on your site. So the first words they see better be emotionally appealing – not a feature (how you do it) but a benefit (what it will do for them.) Finding that short power phrase, that tag line, is one of the most important discoveries you can make. And it takes time.
Today I helped a client find hers. We brainstormed for half an hour on our coaching call. Because she had created the system she was selling, she was filled with “how it works” phrases – phrases that mean nothing to the newcomer to the site. They don’t care how you do it they just want to know what’s in it for them.
How would you explain what you do to someone who knows nothing about your business? In seven or eight words? As my client talked about what she did I wrote down phrases based on what she was saying and we chose parts of them that resonated and built on those. Over and over we had to stop listing features. At one point we realized we liked positive, hopeful statements rather the ones that emphasized the problem. That was good to know.
This power phrase is an element of your brand. It is not your who and do what statement – I help (who) do (what) , It is an identity, a short statement that lets people really understand what you can do for them.
Adapt the beginner’s mind
Do you know where you will find that statement? When you try to explain what you do so others can understand it. When you search for the meaning of your work in the simplest of terms.
Begin by explaining what you do to your friends, particularly the ones that know nothing about what you do. Get in their beginner’s mind and figure out what they need to know. Eliminate jargon, those words and phrases that may have meaning in your field but mean nothing to the uninitiated. Look for airy fairy phrases like “It will bring you peace and serenity.” Restate those words into recognizable daily experiences that have an emotional appeal. One of my major lessons has been to learn to explain esoteric results in concrete terms. The more you explain what you do to people who know nothing about your work, the easier it is to find that power phrase.
Look out for features
It’s so easy to get caught up in features – the how you do it. That’s where your mind has been, you’ve been putting your system into place. You are steeped in how you are going to deliver your product or service. But people don’t care how you do it, they care what results you will get for them. Spend your time looking at the essence of what you do for others and then find the words to express it. Part of my power phrase is “I help you believe you can!” I don’t talk about how I do that, I don’t say what I can help you believe you can do, I just indicate that I help people believe in themselves, in their dreams, in their value. Look for that core message that encompasses what you do for others. We could call this your heart phrase – how you are touch the lives of others – heart to heart.
Know your power phrase will change over time
My client is working in Word Press which means she can easily make changes any time she wants. So putting the power phrase we found up on her banner is as easy as typing it in. If it were a web site done in DreamWeaver it would take a web designer to make that change in the banner. So we’re not worried that the phrase we chose might change. I hope it does. We found one that works but as she continues to develop her work she will find that perhaps her emphasis changes or her niche tightens, or she may find her clients are asking for one element she offers more than others. I was “The Vision Distiller” for a few years because I felt I was helping my clients bring their vision to life. Then I realized that I really am “Your Idea Organizer,” whether it’s for planning your web site, developing your initial business, or leveraging your ideas into signature products. It’s about helping you make money from what you already know. And yes, that last sentence has been a tag line along the way.
Allow your power phrase to evolve
Even if you hit on a hot power phrase, be open to letting it change. In helping my client today I realized that our power phrase for Magnetic Blog Builders is actually very weak. It needs to be strengthened. We put that site up in 48 hours so we were moving off of first impressions and making fast decisions. As we begin to define our offerings and write content to explain what we do and set up our packages, another phrase will emerge. And I also realized that what we have there now is a label, not an emotional hook that says what we can do for people. I can’t tell you what that will be right now because I haven’t figured it out. But now that I know I’m looking for a better power phrase, it will show up as I continue to talk and write about what we do.
Be patient with yourself. Keep your eyes open. And let that power phrase find you.
© 2010 Cara Lumen