When I tell CEOs, marketing directors, and strangers at parties that number, many of them quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) question: could one sentence really be worth $50,000?

To know the answer, you have to understand how those few words accomplish their magic in the short term, and how they functionally impact a business in the long term.

Your first sentence wins or loses your customer,

Let’s start with the short term. A truly effective first sentence clearly communicates what you do and who you do it for. It either fails or succeeds at this. There is no in-between.

Say you sold the world’s most kick-ass armchair, that first sentence might read something like this: The world’s most comfortable chair for the world’s most important job: relaxing.

What if you owned a virtual fitness app for lonely singles? Home workouts that get you fit for Friday night.

This concept – what we do + why it matters (to you) – is known as a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). And LOTS of brands struggle with getting their UVP across to website visitors. But one thing is certain, the customer will read that UVP and either walk away, or know they’ve found somewhere they belong. It’s not an accident that it’s called a home page.

That’s the short term win. Pretty good, right? But maybe only worth the first $49k. What’s the long-term gain?

Your first sentence determines the length of your sales process.

A first sentence written to your One Target Customer, and packing a powerful UVP, shortens your sales process dramatically. When the right customer finds the right story leading them to the right product or service to meet their need, your sales team has to do little convincing.

The better your messaging, the shorter your sales process.

Your first sentence dictates your company culture.

First Sentence Subtext
Pitch decks created in 20 days We’re really good at being fast.
Delivery in 60 minutes If it’s there in 61 mins, we didn’t fulfill our promise and your order should be free.
GET PRICING TODAY! You can always expect to get a hold of us immediately.

Either intentionally or unintentionally these companies were setting client expectations around speed with their first sentence. They lead with “time” as their primary value, under the assumption that speed of service was the most important thing to their customer.

But now the entire company is beholden to this one sentence’s customer expectation. Likewise for the company that promises pricing “TODAY.” Customers will now come to expect everything “TODAY” creating a reactive culture throughout the whole engagement.

Your first sentence dictates your company culture – even more than you may realize.

Your first sentence positions your company to win.

“If we play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there.” — Moneyball

You need a different playing field and a different strategy to win on it. You need to be uniquely positioned on the right field so you can win.

And it all starts with your first sentence.

Old Sentence New Sentence
Pitch decks created in 20 days Market Research and Pitch Deck Creation to Get You More Investor Meetings.
Delivery in 60 minutes Friendly Cannabis Delivery in Marin County.
GET PRICING TODAY! Safe tap water for your whole family.

Your first sentence is worth $50,000.

Is your first sentence work $50k? I believe the resounding answer is “Yes. At least that.”

When you’re creating website copy, keep in mind that your first sentence directly impacts your sales process and your company culture.

How you write and position your first sentence has more impact on your business than almost anything else you might do on a day-to-day basis. Putting thought into crafting this sentence, understanding what it conveys to customers, and using it to position your company for success is essential.

Investing in a strong first sentence will help you gain more customers and have productive conversations with them.

See some examples of great first sentences.

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