Whether you’re trying to land your dream job or are selling the latest widget, you want to create a favorable impression that will help you achieve your goals. How you sound, your appearance and what you say all greatly impact the impression you will make on others.
Websites are a visual representation of your company and, many times, the first impression you will make on a potential buyer. Don’t you want it to rock?
The best way to make it easy for buyers to decide whether your product is right for them is with your elevator pitch. Located on the homepage of your website just below your hero message, your elevator pitch is a quick, concise description of who your company is and what it does. While the hero message is meant to inspire and evoke emotion, the elevator pitch is less like a headline and complements the hero message by expanding on the sentiments.
So how can you grab attention and set yourself apart with a great website elevator pitch? Let’s break it down.
The elevator pitch must speak directly to your buyer personas. Think of what resonates with your buyers and find a way to incorporate those elements. Determine what keywords they are most likely searching for and incorporate them into the elevator pitch (if possible, but don't force it). Having the right keyword strategy will make all the difference in getting found in search results.
Aflac, the health insurance company that helps its clients pay their medical bills while out of work due to an injury, provides a specific message to each of its four personas right on the home page.
Sometimes, being specific to your main personas is the right way to go, or sometimes it makes the most sense to craft your elevator pitch around the product itself.
I’m sure you’ve been asked what your company does, but can you give a clear and concise answer? You must be able to describe succinctly what it is you have to offer your buyers in your elevator pitch.
Include industry-relevant information that will speak to the buyers you’re targeting. Every story should have what journalists refer to as the nut graph — the straightforward paragraph explaining what the story is about. On a website, the elevator pitch is that nut graph that tells the world what your company offers and why.
Keep in mind you are speaking directly to your buyers—describe your product in a short but compelling manner. Make it easy for those coming to your website to know right away you are the answer for them—or not.
Caterpillar excels at this by describing its purpose in its elevator pitch:
The manufacturing company includes its main goals (sustainable world progress) and uses positive, descriptive language to define its brand: global leadership, innovation and sustainability. These traits explain what Caterpillar is working to achieve, which suggests that by working with the company, you can help them do good things for the world. Who doesn’t want that?
The next question to ask yourself is: What do you have over your competitors? Make your company stand out by including your most defining quality. Think about your buyers as they shop around the Web, looking at other websites that offer similar products or services.
What do you have to offer that your competitors don’t? This may require doing some research on your competitors to help determine what quality you want to highlight in your elevator pitch.
Once you figure out what that is, work it into the copy. Twitter highlights what makes it stand out from other social networks right in its elevator pitch. While it doesn’t directly mention its hashtag, its elevator pitch describes how it helps users find topics of interest by using the ubiquitous pound sign. Hashtags have gained so much popularity, other social networks have adopted them as well.
While Twitter may not be the only social network to use hashtags as a method of searching for topics, it was the first and uses that point as a defining quality in its website elevator pitch.
Once you’ve created your pitch, you want to read it aloud to be sure it is no longer than 20-30 seconds. It should not be too wordy or contain jargon the average reader won’t understand. The reader won’t lose interest because of the 20- to 30-second time limit (no longer than an elevator ride—get it?). Since you don’t have much time to capture a visitor’s attention, you want to make sure it captures your unique selling proposition. Make sure it goes hand in hand with your hero message to unify your website and send a cohesive message.