Remember when people just started creating websites and using the same principles from billboard and print advertising to compose headlines? ‘Curiously Strong’ is still a beautiful tagline for mint from the 90’s, but brand’s trying to get found in today’s day and age have to make it clear right away what the page is about, not just to human’s but to search engine’s as well. The heading tag for a little known mint company trying to break into the market today might read ‘Extremely Strong Mints – Powerful and Delicious,’ in today’s day and age because it’s more descriptive.
“The tagline is your opportunity to use the top keywords by which you’d like your home page to be found in search.” – Michael Martine, Headway Themes
Key’s to a compelling and search engine friendly headline in 2016
- Make your headline very clear on what your website is about
- Opt for descriptive, rather than cute
- Create the headline so it’s dense and information rich
- Match them to reader’s expectations by doing research on what people are looking for
- For content, create curiosity by asking question or making a promise
Reason’s why the tagline is dying (or evolving) online
In 2013 Adweek suggested that a new market was ushering in the era of ‘The Death of the Tagline,” because consumers now have a lot more control, and corporation’s can no longer be issuing imperatives. The world we live in now is about connection, your average Millennial is sensitive and ‘me focused’ and whether you like it or not, the companies that win the hearts and minds of the surging market will make things easy for them and cater to their questions and curiosities, not tell them how to think with grand statements.
As marketing professionals we see this in the new emphasis on ‘user centered design’ and ‘content marketing’, where brands are scrambling to make sense of the giant amount of data we now can access on what people are asking on search engines and feed them answers whilst conveniently placing their product or service as a related solution. Inbound marketing and SEO centric design and content strategy are now entirely eclipsing the old paradigm that made taglines so impactful.
Huge crowds of people are hitting websites on deep content pages and never seeing the homepage with the perfectly crafted explanation of the main value proposition. More and more marketer’s will be wise to Nike’s VP of Digital Sport, Stefan Olander’s observation to heart. He said the way customers relate to his company has changed so much that Nike’s incredibly famous tagline doesn’t even apply anymore: “People now demand us not to say, ‘Just do it.’ They say, ‘Help me just do it.'”
Taglines for a tagline-less world – New content titles, tweets, captions that match an existing desire, written fresh everyday
Taglines for driving traffic and conversion in today’s world are all about matching expectation and indicating that a person is on the right track. So taglines start before they even land on the page. Today’s tagline is in the concepting of new content, the method you name your main services pages to be both accurate and compelling, and how your titles show up with your ‘meta-descriptions’ or what someone sees beneath the title on a search engine results page.
The new craftsman of modern taglines are the PPC, or ‘Pay Per Click’ and social media guru’s consultants and interns. Each time they write a quirky instagram caption or tweet about your holiday party they are effectively presented with an opportunity to occupy the same place in our mind’s as taglines.
You can’t tweet your old-school 1980’s style tagline over and over again, and that’s why we’re in the age of content marketing and being agile on social.
So what content titles, tweets and captions can still drive action like taglines did in their glory days?
Driving action – that is the key to online success and digital marketing as we now understand it. When the button is placed in the right place, with the right imagery, the right layout, the right design elements and the right copy it presents a compelling overall impression that draws people into click, to buy, and to contact. Making tweaks and measuring what works is the art of Conversion Rate Optimization – you can get a crash course to conversion optimization here.
When the right modern-day version of the slogan – a tweet or caption on social media, or search engine listing strikes a nerve, or serves a purpose people need brings people into the site, and not only the content on the site meets the expected and needed purpose the visitor came for but it leads visitors to trust the site and make a purchase/make contact or come back later and buy or work with the company – that’s conversion-centric content marketing.
Many people are doing content marketing these days, but driving action with content marketing? That’s much more difficult.
Principles for phrases, titles, tweets and captions that drive action – conversions:
- Make sure you move visitors along the conversion funnel if possible, with a pitch for the next step at the bottom of content
- Communicate the benefit of your product, not just the function.
- Offer a motive, a reason to care; don’t just describe the product or service.
- Post titles have numbers to catch someone’s attention with a definable size and focus
- Effective titles have between 5-9 (suggested by the Guardian – Mainly social and organic) or 16-18 Words (suggested byOutbrain – Paid)
- Organic according to data – perhaps because we have a comfortability with that number “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” The whole point of his research was that “the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2.”-
- Paid – perhaps because people have ‘click-fear’ and need to know more about what they are getting into as Outbrain is a paid channel and people know they are sponsored posts.
Our research showed titles with eight words had the highest click-through rates with these headers performing 21% better than average – so consider the length of your title if you want to get clicks.
– The Guardian
- Effective titles are incredibly clear and precise.
This is more evidence that the tagline as we once knew it is dying off. Perhaps it’s because we’ve all clicked on something that was unclear more times that we’d like to admit, and now are exhausted of over-hyped proverbial statements in general. The data suggests we prefer more accurate descriptive labels on things now.
If all that isn’t enough, here are some epic suggestions for landing pages headlines (and content) from Oli Gardner, founder of Unbounce who has ‘seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet.’ He was asked “What do the best landing pages all have in common? Are there a few things that are “must have” in your book?”
Conversion Rate Optimization for the win – the quantifiably effective, ever-changing slogan
One of the biggest changes for slogans in modern marketing is the fact that you can statistically quantify how well one does in real-time with Conversion Rate Optimization testing. Take your current tagline / slogan and swap it out for half of the visitors and see how many people convert into customers. The amount of real-time feedback we can get with our marketing efforts is shifting the marketing landscape, and big marketing firms with vested interest in old tactics may not have the guts to test quantifiable data on whether their slogan they took 6 months to come up is actually better at converting customer’s right now, vs. another wording of the same idea or another value proposition altogether.
A small digital marketing agency, web design company, search engine optimization company, or Conversion Optimization company has advantages because it can be all about conversions – and not about milking you for the million dollar retainer. So Godspeed to the little guys – we have more tools at our fingertips than ever to compete in a world where we can make educated guesses and see with cut & dry certainty and statistical significance whether it worked or not.
R.I.P. to the tagline as we once knew it, and all hail the multifaceted many-dimensional slogans we have to write every day as modern-day marketers to connect emotionally with the core demographic of the brands we represent.
If you’re a CMO or marketing professional who needs a consultative digital agency to help you implement some of these ideas online, let us know – we’d love to help.