Communication skills

5 powerful ways to improve your headlines inspired by popular startup taglines

- September 28, 2021 4 MIN READ
tagleines words have power

Have you ever noticed that software taglines are written in a particular way? They’re direct. Compact. Powerful, writes Cynthia Marinakos.

These taglines need to work. They catch their reader’s attention quickly and entice them to act.

How useful would this be to us as business owners? For our social media posts. Our website landing pages. Our ads. Our blogs.

Today we’ll look at the taglines of popular software products and learn 5 insights that will help us improve our headlines.

LinkedIn

Tagline: Welcome to your professional community

Analysis:

  • Explicitly identifies the target audience
  • Highlights what they’re about
  • Addresses reader directly

Dropbox

Tagline: Keep life organized and work moving – all in one place

Analysis:

  • Highlights it’s a solution for both life and work
  • Understands it helps users to have their electronic things ‘all in one place’
  • Uses active words ‘organized’ and ‘moving’

Freshbooks

Tagline: Accounting Software Built for Owners, and Their Clients

Analysis:

  • Explicitly tells us their target primary and secondary users
  • There’s no question what the product is
  • Uses simple, plain language

Animatron

Tagline: Create, edit, and repurpose marketing videos

Analysis:

  • Action words show they understand what users want to do
  • Is specific about what digital product they can help with: marketing videos
  • Adds impact by using the rule of three writing principle: ‘create, edit, repurpose’

5 insights to help us write enticing headlines

These taglines offer us valuable tips to draw the right customers to us:

  1. Use simple language
  2. Give the reader a ‘How to’ without saying ‘How to’
  3. Be clear about what you offer
  4. Carefully select words
  5. Tap into deeper needs

Let’s delve into each:

1.   Use simple language

Software marketers use casual, plain English we can instantly understand. No impressive, overly complex words. No teasers. No bullsh*t. These businesses know the value of words and how to harness their power.

Accounting software built for owners, and their clients

Keep life organized and work moving – all in one place

Welcome to your professional community

Our brains are wired to conserve energy, which is why simple writing matters. Impressive, complicated words slow down your reader. They won’t think you’re any smarter or more professional either. Even experts prefer plain English.

Simple language is easy to digest. It’s also what we naturally use in conversation. When we’re asking for a coffee, we don’t say: ‘My intention is to take ownership of a full-bodied latte.’ We say: ‘I’d like a latte.’

Choose ‘use’ instead of ‘utilize,’ ‘because’ instead of ‘as a consequence of,’ and ‘help’ instead of ‘assistance.’ Bookmark The A-Z of alternative words (Plain English Campaign).

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus & simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” — Steve Jobs

2.   Tell your reader how you’ll help them

These examples promise to help us do something. Although they don’t explicitly include the words ‘How to,’ you could add ‘How’ to the front of these taglines:

LinkedIn: How to make more professional connections and be part of a community

Dropbox: How to keep life organized and work moving

Animatron: How to create, edit, and repurpose marketing videos

Do a Google search and you’ll see that we naturally want practical answers to our questions. We want the knowledge so we can go ahead and implement solutions. For instance, if we look up a topic such as ‘write headlines,’ you’ll see under the section People also ask: “How headlines are written” and “How do you write a powerful headline.”

‘How to’ headlines are powerful — we constantly seek knowledge and information. As the software headlines show, you don’t necessarily have to add ‘How to’ in front of a headline. What’s important is that you’re promising an answer to a need.

6.   Be clear about what you offer

The taglines clearly share what the businesses offer. This helps readers understand quickly and easily whether these products are for them and whether they’ll be useful.

When we clearly share our product or service in our headline, we show respect for our prospect’s time and we’re more likely to interest the right customers.

Use your headlines to clearly tell customers what you offer.

7.   Carefully select words

Certain words and phrases are like bombs. They’re compact yet powerful in the right context. The taglines we’ve seen are filled with power bombs:

‘built for’

‘all-in-one’

‘your’

‘community’

‘moving’

‘create, edit, repurpose’

Take the time to choose your words. Use words in a positive way. And use active verbs that help readers imagine gaining a benefit from your writing.

8.   Tap into deeper needs

These companies aren’t offering us another app or another piece of software. They understand their reader’s greatest pains and deepest desires and speak directly to them.

LinkedIn knows professionals want to widen their professional network.

Freshbooks knows small businesses need an easy, quick way to keep on top of their accounting.

Dropbox knows their users want to be organised and having things all in one place will help.

We need to understand the deepest needs and desires of our readers if we want to stop their wandering eyes and busy minds.

Maslow’s classic Hierarchy of Needs is a great tool to help us understand what customers want. It gives a good overview of what customers need to not only survive, but to thrive — physiological needs such as water, safety needs, the need to belong by having friends, the need to feel accomplished, and the need for self-actualization by achieving our full potential.

When we identify and prioritise these needs, we can highlight the most important ones in our headlines.

Tap into people’s needs.

In a nutshell

Software taglines are aimed to get their target market to act. As writers, this is useful. By analysing 5 software taglines, we’ve discovered useful insights we can use to create magnetic headlines:

  1. Use simple language
  2. Give the reader a ‘How to’ without saying ‘How to’
  3. Be clear about what you offer
  4. Carefully select words
  5. Tap into deeper needs

Next time you’re about to sign up for software, pay attention to their tagline. This practice is sure to help you write headlines your readers will love.

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