Creating a great business tagline

Every IT business has a tagline. It’s the summary of what your business is all about. It tells anyone who reads it why your business is different from the competition and what your unique value proposition is. Or does it? Does your tagline represent your business?

Recently in an online MSP/IT owners community I’m a member of, someone started a thread asking everyone to post their tagline. There were around 100 of them published to the group. You know what? Most of them were the same! Or if not exactly the same, nearly the very same message. Because if a potential client is looking at you and others that have similar taglines, then they just assume that you’re all the same. MSPs already have an image problem brought on by the Gold, Silver, Bronze packages that are ubiquitous. That’s a shame because what it says about your business is that you’re the same as any other MSP so all the potential client has to do it compare your prices. This is not the message that any MSP is intending to present but it’s the one that too many of them are sending.

The taglines shared fell into a few themes. General IT, Sales, Me!, Humorous, and Business. Here are a few:

Giving you Peace about ITYour one-stop shopI Speak Geek, so you don’t have to!If it makes you cuss, call usDelivering today. Anticipating Tomorrow
We give you peace of mindWe protect you like familyThe right guy at the right priceWe make mouse callsFocus on your business and leave the geek stuff to us
Leave IT to UsThe cloud within reachProfessional help from a certified techWe take the SH out of ITWorking with you, for you
We Manage ITOffload the tasks that are holding you back!Pro IT. Reasonable PricesHelping you “press on” with businessWe care about your business

Here’s how common each category is relative to the total sample. What category does your businesses tagline fit into?

General 25%Sales 25%Me 25%Humorous 13%Business 12%

What does it all mean?

Your tagline needs to represent your business and offer your potential client a clue as to why your business is different from the last one they just talked to. Think of this from the potential client point of view. They are essentially holding interviews when they are looking for a new IT firm to contract with.

Let’s say you meet someone at a networking event. You hand them your business card. They read your name, the name of your company, your location, and your tagline. Their first indication of what your business is about is your tagline. To them, in this first impression moment, your tagline is your business because it’s nearly the only thing they know about you. Did you tagline generate interest, make them laugh, turn them off, or say you’re just a me-too?

MSP taglines

Let’s say a potential customer visits your website. They see the pretty colors, the hopefully modern format, the name of your company and your tagline. Does it say, I’m just another MSP? I’m just another IT guy? My business is all about me? Or does it say something unique about your MSP and why they should choose to interview you?

Review your business tagline

Running a business is an endless set of check and recheck tasks, and reviewing your tagline to make sure it’s representing who your business is today is no exception. Decide which category your current tagline fits into and then take an objective look at what it’s saying to potential clients. What do the various categories of tagline really say about your business? Let’s take a look at each category.

A tagline in the General category says I’m an IT/MSP firm and that’s about it. I would call that a neutral message that provides no new information. Potential clients already know that you’re in IT/MSP or they wouldn’t have even gotten far enough to read your tagline. A tagline should provide them with new information.

A tagline in the Sales category most often says, I’m here to sell you connectivity to the Internet or VOIP services or hardware. If that’s your business model, then it’s great. If it’s not then you need to reconsider leading with a tagline that says you exist to sell something.

A tagline in the Me! Category says to the potential client that your business is all about you. You are great. They are going to deal with you. If you win the lottery, they won’t be seeing you anymore. If you don’t have the answer there’s no one else for them to go to at your company. It’s generally not a good idea to lead with the Me! tagline even when you’re a one-person business. One-person businesses have a special hurdle to jump and that is to let clients know that you’re well connected to experts outside of you so there’s no issue that you won’t manage for them, even if it isn’t you solving it specifically. The Me! category can work well for consultants but is a poor choice for a services firm.

The Humorous category sets up a soft lead but then you have to quickly follow that up with some credentials. Be careful with a humorous tagline so it doesn’t end up boxing you into the Me! or General categories. You need a quick follow-up. That’s a bit easier if you’re always meeting clients in person. It’s a lot harder if you’re first meeting them when they visit your website. You’ll need a second focus to quickly grab then before the laugh has faded.

Taglines in the Business category run the risk of being impersonal, which if you’re an SMB market-focused firm is a misstep because small businesses general desire a personal relationship with their vendors. Many operate that way with their clients too so they have a certain expectation of their vendors. Business-focused taglines can serve the dual purpose of showing your qualification and your compassion in solving their need for an IT/MSP firm.

Finding your business tagline

I think of my tagline as my front “person.” My tagline is out there representing me when I’m not present to do so. It almost rises to the level of salesperson. At very least I wanted to make sure I wasn’t turning away any potential client with my tagline.

I own an MSP-style IT firm that I believe is unique in all the world. I was pleased to find that my tagline was not repeated in this survey and fell into the least common category. I have a process that I went through to find my tagline based on the values my business operates under.

A tagline sets up your first meeting with a potential client and the value of having that first step by a positive one is significant. Take some time for the introspection necessary to find a great one.

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