Writing Stronger Taglines

A concise tagline with strong verbs grabs your attention and gives you a good first impression of the company (or person) it’s associated with. Conversely, a rambling tagline with weak verbs and clunky construction might leave you with a “meh” impression.

A concise tagline with strong verbs grabs your attention and gives you a good first impression of the company (or person) it’s associated with. Conversely, a rambling tagline with weak verbs and clunky construction might leave you with a “meh” impression.

Let’s transform a “meh” tagline to a strong one. I’ll show you step by step how I would approach this.

This is the front page for an acupuncturist’s website.

First Impression

It’s too darn long! A tagline should ideally be one punchy line. This has three clunky clauses.

Step One: Use Contractions to Be Conversational

So the first thing that catches my eye is the “it is.” Writing without contractions gives your writing a formal feel. I’d prefer the contraction, “it’s” which is more conversational.

“Purpose and passion” also feels a bit formal for my tastes, but those words might be important to the owner, so we’ll leave them for now.

It’s our purpose and passion to help people like you to not just get better, but also to thrive.

That sounds a little friendlier already.

Step Two: Talk Directly to the Reader

The next thing that bugs me is “people like you.” It’s a strange thing to say. Who is this tagline talking to, if not me, the reader?

Let’s use second person “you.”

It’s our purpose and passion to help you not just get better, but also to thrive.

Step Three: Use Strong Verbs

Two more problems here:

  1. “Thrive,” the verb at the end, is a nice strong verb, but “get better” is weak. What can we pair thrive? How about “heal?”
  2. I normally don’t like the word “help” in combination with a verb, as it usually weakens the verb, and is not needed. But in this unique case, the acupuncturist is actually helping you, the patient, so it can stand.

It’s our purpose and passion to help you not just to heal, but also to thrive.

Step Four: Fix Clunky Construction & Remove the Negative

The problems here:

  1. We’ve got two strong verbs, but they’re connected by multiple clunky clauses.
  2. Taglines should be strong and positive, and anytime you throw in a negative, it slows things down in the reader’s mind.
  3. This construction makes it sound like the thriving is something separate from the healing, something additional. But here, it’s sequential. You can’t thrive without healing first.

Let’s try this:

It’s our purpose and passion to help you heal, so you can thrive.

If it’s really important for the owner to keep the words “purpose and passion” in the tagline, then we’re done. However, if this were my business, here’s what I’d write:

The Wellbridge Clinic

We help you heal so you can thrive.

Isn’t that so much stronger?
“Help” still bugs me, but saying, “We heal you so you can thrive” doesn’t sound right at all. Maybe if I chew on it more I’ll come up with something better, but this is a vast improvement from where we started.

What About Another Option?

As you can imagine, there are other issues with weak writing on the site, like this one:

  • The term “greater wellness” is a little general and marketey, but I like the “together” sentiment.
  • What really bugs me is the word “find.” Are you walking along together outside, and this conversation happens?
    “Hey Fred! Look on the side of the road! I think I see some GREATER WELLNESS!”

A better word here would be “create.”

Let’s Create Greater Wellness, Together

To make it shorter, you could remove “together,” but I don’t like it as much.

Let’s Create Greater Wellness

Now, the tagline I edited in the first part of the post (“We help you heal so you can thrive”) has really improved upon the original. However, the owner also believes in the power of acupuncture to take an okay-running body and tune it up to run even better. He’s not “healing” in this case, he’s optimizing. With that in mind, the tagline doesn’t quite cover both things.

I always tell clients that their next tagline is hidden in their existing content. What if we used this “greater wellness” heading (with a little tweak) as the tagline?

The Wellbridge Clinic
Creating Greater Wellness Together

I like this option because this tagline covers both kinds of acupuncture goals (healing what’s broken, and optimizing the body). The downside is when you try to make one phrase cover everything, it tends to be more generic, and that’s what has happened here. I really liked the word “thrive.” It’s a strong word (much stronger than the generic and overused “wellness”). But perhaps “thrive” can be used elsewhere in the site’s copy.