Corporate copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

Elevator pitches for the web

You know what an elevator pitch is right? Of course you do! It’s a verbal logo – vogo? – that sums up what you do quickly enough to give someone the pitch in ten seconds or less.

Coming out of a meeting with the head of training for a company I was pitching copywriting workshops to, I met their chief executive… in the lift. “So what do you do?” he asked.

Blimey! I actually had to give an elevator pitch. I can’t remember what I said precisely, but I think I committed the cardinal sin.

I told him what my service was, not what I could do for his organisation.

Creating an elevator pitch is a really good idea in the days of Twitter, AdWords, micro-conversations and dwindling attention spans. So let’s work through the method. But first, two examples of, I think, fairly successful EPs.

One of my friends through the kids’ school is a fairly senior bod in the Army – the Royal Engineers.

I asked him what he did and he said, “We build bridges and blow up other people’s.” A clear benefit I would say, if you’re war-fighting. And only eight words.

Here’s ours: “We help organisations communicate better in writing.” Yes! Seven words. Take that, Army!

So, here’s how to arrive at your own elevator pitch.

Step 1: fill in the type of client/user you have in this phrase: We help___________________

Step 2: add the main benefit of your product or service.

Step 3: complete it with the particular service you provide or aspect of the problem you solve.

Let’s try it with a new media wedding planning company.

The clients are brides-to-be. (Bridezillas, if you will.)

Step 1: We help brides-to-be

Step 2: We help brides-to-be have their dream wedding

Step 3: We help brides-to-be have their dream wedding through our iPhone wedding planning app.

Not bad. Of course, you could organise a brainstorm session and get 15 people in a room for the day. And you may well come up with something pithier. This is quicker though.

And I’m telling you this because

Whether you’re an avid AdWorder, fanatical Facebooker, terrific Tweeter or LinkedIn lover, being able to summarise your proposition in as few words as possible is a great little internet marketing tool.

Just make sure you focus on the results you get for your client, not what you do to achieve them.

And one final tip. Try saying it out loud. You never know when you’ll be cornered in a lift by the CEO of your next client.

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