At the heart of all your marketing content is a business one-liner that explains simply how you help your target clients. This seems pretty simple on the face of it, but so many businesses get this wrong.
There are a lot of examples of bad business one-liners. Below are two. I'll leave the authors anonymous, for obvious reasons.
A pediatrician: Providing exceptional care for children since 1974.
Nobody cares when you started. Most new parents today are born long after 1974. That just makes you sound old. And what kind of care do you provide? Therapy? Daycare?
A senior living center: We are home to decades of experience, millions of memories and several lifetimes of learning.
Are you a library?! And clients aren't coming to you to make memories or to learn. They're coming for the care they need, and they want to get that care in a facility where they will be most comfortable.
How to write a strong business one-liner
Writing a business one-liner, or as I like to call it – sparking your story – doesn’t have to be hard. But it does require time and space to think. This is why many successful brands will offer key employees a retreat together – at least they did before COVID-19 hit. It can be the reset button that gets everyone back to the heart of what matters. But, even if you don’t get a company trip to a resort, you can still try this exercise:
Take some time on a walk, run or find a spot in a quiet, creative space to think. Then, imagine what you would say if you were sitting among friends by a fire. (For me this is outside among mountains, but for you it might be around an indoor fireplace at a 5-star resort.)
Start with the problem you solve for your clients
Now, get back to the heart of the problem your customers have. What made you start this business in the first place? Why do they come to you? What does their business or life look like before and after they work with you?
Once you know the problem you solve, this is where you start your one-liner.
(If you don't know the answers to these questions, you can get a client survey here👇)
Next you'll need to consider the particular way that you solve this problem for your clients. Focus on how you do this in a way that's different or better than other businesses like you.
Finally, what's the result or even higher purpose of the service you provide your clients? What do they gain by working with you? More money? More freedom? Peace of mind? Clarity? Write that down.
One simple brand statement that sums up your story
Now you've got the three elements that make up your business one-liner:
The problem your customers have
The way that you solve that problem
The result of that resolution
Here's an easy formula to help you remember it: Problem + Your solution = Positive result
Once you’ve developed the three elements of your meaningful business story, you’ll need one simple statement that sums up what you do. This should be entirely focused on how you solve your target market’s problem.
Your brand statement considers what matters to your customers and the deeper purpose of your business. It goes beyond the money you want to earn and instead is driven by values. It explains how you improve the lives of those around you.
It should sound like this: I/We ___________ (action) for ___________ (target market) in order to ___________ (solve a specific problem).
In the end, you'll have come up with a one-liner that describes a problem, shows you understand it and you are the one to solve it.
For example, here’s my one-liner: I help business leaders and thought leaders like you stand out online by telling your story with content marketing.
The longer story sounds like this: We know that in a crowded digital space, it’s hard for even the best businesses to stand out. We help business leaders and thought leaders like you stand out online by telling your story with content marketing. Clients who work with us get a cohesive approach to digital content marketing journey so that they can save money and reach the right target audience.
Let's go back to our examples of business one-liners from above.
Here's a great one from a pediatrician: We know parents want a pediatrician that is available at the times they need and understands their concerns about their children. We are both pediatricians and parents who know that parents know their children best. We are here for you 7 days a week with morning and afternoon walk-in hours so that you never have to worry about getting your kids the care they need.
Here's a great one from Independent Senior Living in Evanston, Illinois: Enjoy the best parts of retirement without any of the drawbacks. Westminster Place offers residents a dynamic, fun-loving, maintenance-free lifestyle in a neighborhood setting.
You can adjust your business one-liner statement
Here's the good news about everything in digital marketing: you can change it!
Go ahead and develop your business one-liner now and then you can continue to adjust it as you narrow down your target audience or your business changes. Or, even if you just think of a better, more simple way to explain how you solve your clients' problems, you can simply go change it.
The most disappointing business loss is an idea that fails to connect to its audience not because it wasn’t a good idea, but because it wasn’t packaged as a great story.
So figure out your story and tell it well.