The Freelance Teacher: What Are Taglines?
And Why You Should Have One
You’re standing at the conveyor belt in luggage collect at the airport waiting for your suitcase. The conveyor belt rumbles into life and the flat carousel starts turning. One by one the suitcases go past. How do you know which one is yours?
In today’s commercial and standardised world of products and services, the same question keeps popping up. How do customers separate — and remember — the different companies producing similar products or services? Both Samsonite and Rimowa produce good quality cases; their taglines are different and quite forgettable. Instead, what they do is to support another marketing facet — the USP (unique selling point).
Rimowa taglines: The luggage with the grooves — Germany since 1898
- Rimowa plays on the long-standing reputation of German technological reliability and stability. The light aluminium luggage with grooves is instantly recognisable.
Samsonite taglines: By Your Side — Travel lighter to go further
- Samsonite is the light, permanent companion by your side accompanying you wherever you go.
Taglines do not have to be inspiring…
… because their role is to advance a conversation with the customer; one which a customer understands because it makes sense. As freelance teachers, we have to help our students and business customers remember what we do because we want the information easily passed on to other (potential) students.
Our websites, business cards and brochures need a clarifying description of what we do, and that is when the first mistake often occurs: people make taglines too complex to remember.
- … be kept simple and written in English
- … be treated as a headline
- … evoke curiosity because it will help the student remember what your business offers. 🙂
Taglines should have an element of curiosity about them
If you’ve visited my website before and have activated the cache (memory), the proposed URL address shows the following tagline when you start to type in my website address: www.ft‑training.com
Here is an example taken from my website:
Here is the tagline on the website itself:
Neither of these taglines are memorable, yet they describe exactly the focus of the website. They make sense to my targeted audience of freelance teachers. In addition, these taglines take into consideration search engines (Google and co.) by giving an additional source of information as to the purpose of my website. (Every little bit helps! 🙂 )
Did I forget my website visitors while catering to Google and co’s demands? Let’s see…
An automatic response: How do you do that?
That the one tagline is more forgettable than the other underlines an important tagline element. It’s the key to your teaching service being remembered.
So approach taglines as if you are going to write a headline!
For example, compare my website’s homepage tagline explaining the website focus to the headline immediately below it — it’s a second tagline and predominately positioned so that it cannot be overlooked by a certain type of website visitor:
An element of curiosity was built into the heading that (should) causes readers to think: How do you do that?
If the freelance teacher has problems finding new students he is going to stop and read on — fulfilling the aim of taglines, namely to attract his attention.
In a concession to meeting Google and co’s compliance regulations, the element of curiosity is missing in favour of communicating clearly the purpose of the website. However, if you want to know the best way to go about creating a memorable tagline, one to attract new visitors to read on, the following formula should help. 🙂
Tagline formula = problem + solution (or why?)
If we observe the tagline formula, the heading on my website (second tagline) is:
- Defines the problem
- Proposes a solution (or tells you Why)
- Has curiosity factor
Test the curiosity factor:
Below are taglines I could have chosen for my website:
- Which lines create curiosity?
- Which lines reveal a problem, a solution, and define the target reader?
- Which line makes a reader ask (or think) automatically: How do you do that?
- Learn how to run a teaching service
- Running a teaching service
- Cultivating a professional freelance teaching service
- How to find an unending stream of students
- How to improve your chances of finding students
- Why it is difficult to find new students as a freelance teacher
Are USP and taglines related?
Are they ‘one-and-same’?
A tagline may contain the USP element but doesn’t have to.
The major difference is that the tagline is a tool to attract the type of student or business customer you want to teach. The USP — your unique selling point — is how you communicate your business purpose to your customers. This isn’t an overnight effort. It takes time to develop until it becomes part of your brand image. The USP does depend heavily, however, on your intended target’s profile — that of your chosen student or business customer.
If we refer back to Samsonite and Rimowa luggage, their taglines may not be memorable but they ‘make sense’ coupled with their USPs. Their USPs are the result of years-long sustained effort to couple Rimowa with the image of a robust, easily identifiable grooved aluminium case with top-notch technology, or the Samsonite lightweight travelling ‘companion’ for mobile storage requirements to suit any person en route to somewhere.
And what is their target’s profile? Well…
- What kind of traveller will choose a Rimowa suitcase?
- Which travellers are going to choose Samsonite?
A tagline is easy to remember, because it communicates:
- What you do as a business
- Contains a problem
- Contains a solution (or explains Why)
- Speaks to a selected targeted profile
- Has an element of curiosity because it provokes the ‘How do you do that?’ question.
What Do You Think?
- What is your opinion about taglines?
- Do you have further questions about taglines?
- Does the tagline formula help?
Leave a comment in the Comment box below. or send me an email.
It would be great if you could send me a quick email to let me know your thoughts and ideas on this.