We’ll get more in-depth throughout the article but here’s what this simple graphic below helps our clients understand..
The more targeted your messaging, the easier your sales process becomes.
Imagine if your messaging made this graphic come to life.
The first sentence on your website, either intentionally or unintentionally, controls your entire organization. Please take extra caution when crafting yours.
Below is a handy-dandy list of 6 errors to avoid when writing your website’s first sentence.
#1) Beware of using a tagline
Marketing copy tends to fall into three categories:
- Brand Copywriting — Taglines or quirky sayings found on billboards and TV ads
- Narrative Copywriting — Telling a product or brand story in blogs and articles.
- Conversion Copywriting — Persuasive writing to take specific actions on websites, ads, and email campaigns.
We find that many of our clients default to brand copywriting. They try to write taglines or catchphrases as the first sentence on their website.
This is because brand copywriting is the most common form people are familiar with.
The issue with using a catchy tagline? The reader may not fully understand what the company does or why they want to engage them.
First sentence taglines often fail at converting visitors into leads. Not because they’re unclever, but because they’re unclear.
#2) Beware of not communicating value
Before they brought us on board, one of our esteemed clients was using the first sentence “Experience Matters.”
This happens all the time.
Stop for a second and think about all the work that goes into helping a potential customer find out about a brand.
First, they need to know that brand exists. Then, they need to know what the brand does. Then, have time in their day, etc.
After all that, the person is on their device, opens their browser, goes to the site…and the first thing they’re met with is…
While this meant something of deep importance to the company —one of their core values— it didn’t mean anything to the reader. They wrote this sentence from the company out, instead of writing it from the reader in.
Something that was going to communicate exactly what their One Target Customer™ needed to hear.
For our client, the new first sentence “Destination Meeting and Incentive Travel Experts” instantly resonates with Elizabeth, a 42 year old marketing director tasked with planning the upcoming destination meeting her boss just assigned to her.
As she looks to complete this assignment she will come across a number of competitors who also specialize in this industry.
Competitor #1 | Grow your culture into a brand.
Competitor #2 | Why settle for an inch, when we can get you a mile.
Competitor #3 | We canvas the world to make your event a masterpiece.
NEW! First sentence | Destination Meeting and Incentive Travel Experts
Because of that first sentence, Elizabeth knows exactly what our client does and why she would want to engage them to discuss her company’s destination meeting.
A good first sentence will not only center your conversation with your customer, but it will tell them why you are exactly what they have been looking for.
Clarity > Quirky.
#3) Beware of communicating the wrong value
A cannabis delivery company we worked with made the promise of “Delivery in 60 Minutes” with their website first sentence.
So every day was hustle, hustle. Go, go! Run, run, hurry, hurry!
The entire company culture was beholden to the first sentence on their website.
But when we identified their One Target Customer™, 57 year old Shelly who lived in a wealthy suburban neighborhood and was going to buy in bulk — we discovered that “speed of delivery” wasn’t among the things she considered most valuable.
She was more worried about which strains would make her sleepy, if her husband and kids would judge her, and would her neighbors see a big weed delivery truck rolling up in front of her house.
When it comes to your first sentence, ask yourself: are there things at the top of my customer’s mind that are worth addressing first?
#4) Beware of hiding your best qualities
Companies default to promoting the three easiest, sometimes called “laziest”, pieces of value. Avoid the pitfall of claiming your incredible thing:
1. Saves them time
2. Saves them money
3. Makes their life easier
In working with Pitch Genius, their first sentence of “Create Your Investor Deck in 20 Days” positioned the company as a fast, cheap solution to the reader’s problem.
After interviewing their CEO, Jasmine to learn more about their One Target Customer™, we found that Jasmine’s team was indeed able to create decks in 20 days — but it was because they had mastered the research process.
It was this specific portion of the business that allowed her team to move so quickly and dramatically separated her finished product from competitors.
Speed can be a selling point to the right target customer. But for 34 year old, Mike, it’s about using his pitch deck to get in front of investors favorably.
This is how Pitch Genius stands out from the crowd.
We rewrote the first sentence to highlight that desired result, “Market research and deck creation to get you more investor meetings.”
Since making the change, Jasmine’s business has taken off. You can learn more about her journey, and Pitch Genius, in the Business Insider article How I Scaled My Pitch Deck Business to Bring in $50,000 a Month.
#5) Beware of talking to no one
You’re trying to talk to everybody. And c’mon! We already know the adage of “when you try to talk to everybody you end up talking to no one.”
Just because you can market to anyone doesn’t mean you should market to everyone.
Messaging, like a product, loses all its power when it isn’t — specific. Whether to an individual or a customer.
Copy that’s crafted for someone generic, will sound…well, generic.
Our suggestion? Get more specific.
Problems occur in messaging when companies choose to skip past the first, most important question — who are we talking to?
Start by clearly identifying One Target Customer™. Brands need to understand and identify who that customers is and how the brand adds specific value to their life.
Need to know how to identify your One Target Customer™ – check out this piece where we list a few ways to find them.
#6) Beware of making sales conversations longer
When your messaging doesn’t speak to your benefits, your team has to spend more time convincing potential customers of those benefits.
The right conversation can help build more trust in the relationship, allowing sales conversations to go faster.
Remember this from up top?
The more targeted your messaging is on the front end, the less convincing is needed on the back end.
The better upfront messaging communicates your value, the less time spent trying to convince people of it. And it starts with the first sentence on your website.
Align your messaging, carry your sales process
Before you get started, check out some examples of great first sentences for inspiration.
Like a great first impression, your brand begins with the first sentence on your website. In just a few words you can communicate so much value.
Use the guidelines above, give it a makeover, and then the most important part — take it out into the world to see what your customers think.
If you’d like to let the experts take a crack at it, you can find us here.