This one sentence is so incredibly powerful. It sets the tone for the entire length of the client engagement and ultimately dictates how customers will view and expect to receive your value.

That’s why it’s crucial to make sure the first sentence accurately reflects not only what you offer, but also the unique value you bring.

Putting effort into crafting a strong and effective first sentence can have a significant impact on how effectively you convey your value as a business, and ultimately on success as a whole.

The first sentence begins a conversation with a site visitor, one that ideally ends with them as a paying customer.

Here is how we have helped companies start better conversations with the right customers.

Changing the conversation in financial consulting


There are a lot of conversations to be had in the world of cannabis right now. In working with this California-based consultancy we needed to help them:

  • Communicate their value
  • Locate more, new clients
  • Acquire higher quality leads

The first sentence on their website had a big job in setting the tone for the rest of the conversation.

Previous 1st Sentence: Turning obstacles into opportunities

What’s wrong with it: It doesn’t tell the reader what they do or why that person should speak with them. It’s more of a tagline. A tagline isn’t a good first sentence because the reader may not fully understand what the company does or why they want to engage the company.

NEW! 1st Sentence: Prepare your cannabis businesses for investors.

Why this works: It’s a conversation their One Target Customer wants to have, it also speaks to the end result of working with them. The smallest detail is in the word “Businesses” because it qualifies their One Target Customer, John, as someone who has more than one business.

How you can use this: Answer two questions within the first sentence of the website. Help the reader understand, “what does this company do?” and “why should I care?”

Changing the conversation in promotional products

Marketing copy tends to fall into three categories:

  1. Brand Copywriting — Taglines or quirky sayings found on billboards and TV ads
  2. Narrative Copywriting — Telling a product or brand story in blogs and articles.
  3. 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 for every headline on their site. Makes sense because this kind of copy is everywhere!

But taglines don’t convert.

Conversion copywriting helps readers understand what they’re being offered and why they should care.

Previous 1st Sentence: Step into our office, it’s located in another world.

What’s wrong with it: It doesn’t help the reader understand the value in working with this company. While it was created to promote intrigue, it obfuscates clarity and end benefit.

NEW! 1st Sentence: Measurable Branded Merchandise Shipped to Your Clients

Why this works: It’s crystal clear. As CEO, Ed Levy puts it, “There’s no bullshit.” The reader understands what they do and what they will receive by engaging Edventure Promotions.

How you can use this: Aim for clarity in website copy. Avoid the default mode of witty taglines. Instead, help the reader understand what you offer, why they should care, and what they need to do next.

Changing the conversation in destination travel


Previous 1st Sentence: Experience Matters

What’s wrong with it: It’s not unique. During our work with this client, we came across an advertisement for a local spa that used the same first sentence.

NEW! 1st Sentence: Destination meeting and incentive travel experts.

Why this works: Their target customer is pressed for time. Now she has to coordinate a meeting for 100 people after getting this project dumped on her. With the new first sentence, the company positions itself as the solution to her problem while also communicating what they do.

How you can use this: The right customer situation may require more clarity than cleverness. You should be careful not to compromise the customer’s needs for the sake of being “catchy.”

Changing the conversation in pitch decks

Often, we talk with clients who do great things, but their value is not conveyed through their messaging. A good sentence can help an organization:

  • Spend less time on unqualified leads
  • Solve problems instead of offering services
  • Deliver their best work

In just one sentence, this company changed what they were selling and the expectations their customers would have.

Previous 1st Sentence: Create Your Investor Deck in 20 Days

What’s wrong with it: It positions the company as a fast, cheap solution to the problem — which was the opposite of their in-depth approach.

NEW! 1st Sentence: Market research and deck creation to get you more investor meetings.

Why this works: “Market Research” highlighted the most valuable part of their service, while “more investor meetings” helped to highlight the specific outcome they deliver.

How you can use this: Look to see if your first sentence is promoting a service or a solution. Update your sentence to talk about the reader’s ideal outcome.

Learn more about Pitch Genius in the Business Insider article How I Scaled My Pitch Deck Business to Bring in $50,000 a Month.

Changing the conversation in tourism marketing


Previous 1st Sentence: Sales & Marketing Experts to Help You Grow Your Tour

What’s wrong with it: It’s too general. Additionally, operators aren’t overly excited to talk about “sales & marketing” and it was similar to competitors who promised the same result.

NEW! 1st Sentence: Book More Corporate Groups

Why this works: In just four words we’ve created an entirely different conversation. A conversation UpLevel is leading in the industry through blockbuster blogs, regular events, and a workshop.

How you can use this: Compare the first sentence on your website and ask, “is my opening sentence a conversation my target customer wants to have?”

Changing the conversation in talent recruitment

Previous 1st Sentence: Powered by Technology. Fueled by Talent.

What’s wrong with it: As much as it held meaning for the company’s founders, it did little to help new customers understand why they should be working with the company in the first place.

NEW! 1st Sentence: Scale your healthcare team with high-quality, vetted candidates.

Why this works: The CEO of their company, Oz Rashid, believes this is a belief that is unique to their organization, and is passionately committed to it. Unlike a lot of talent organizations that promise fast results, he wants to put his name behind candidates who have the ability to excel in their positions.

How you can use this: Write down the first sentence from your website and the first sentence from five of your competitors’ websites. Consider ways in which you can update your sentence so that it will stand out from anything else your target customer might read.


6 Rules for Writing a Great 1st Sentence

A clear “hero” sentence is the first step towards more conversions. Over time, this sentence should be tested and changed based on data-driven outcomes and customer feedback.

  1. It explains what you do, in clear terms everybody can understand.
  2. It uses as few words as possible.
  3. It communicates your unique benefit.
  4. It speaks to the reader.
  5. It speaks to a very specific reader.
  6. It gets updated over time as you learn more about what is most important to your customers.

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