3 Easy to Follow Steps for an Attractive One-Liner

More than a tagline, both in content and impact.

When you switch from a job to freelance or your own startup, you are greeted by a whole new field: Marketing.

This field is enormous, diverse, and always changing, so it’s not always easy to find the right information that gives you the most impact (think about the Pareto principle here).

So how should you start this marketing journey? With a one-liner that explains what you are doing and what your business is all about.

This is valuable both for personal branding and for businesses since this is the first thing a potential customer should see when they interact with you or your business.

I would encourage you to make this one-liner a key part of your personal branding, when somebody asks what you do, just start reciting your one-liner, this is a great conversation started as few people expect an answer like that, it begs for follow-up questions.

“Always be branding” - Josh York

This is the pièce de résistance of every landing page, so don’t take this lightly and do A/B testing on it.

People seem to miss the fact that you have like 6 seconds to answer one basic question that every new visitor is having, that being:

Why should I care?

There are multiple ways of creating an effective one-liner, but keep in mind that one of the most important thing is to answer the above question, how you go about that can be different, and here I explain how I like to do it and I also included some case studies to see how this works.

Case studies:

Case 1 - ellisx:

The key message here is not really that bad, there is a feature exposed here, the mood picture is pretty good, but there I’m not really sure why I should care.

Sure, you can address more topics as you scroll down through the page, but I feel the first thing you see should at least be the problem, I see no problem here; I see only some kind of solution that I don’t even know if I need or not.

I found good and catchy descriptions while browsing the website so I just reused those and mixed them a little in order to have a bigger impact and I got this:

Are you wasting your hard-earned cash on marketing campaigns that don't stick? Waste no more, as we provide you the fastest way to reach media and event organizers so you can shine as bright as your startup!

Case 2 - DataCards:

Here, we have a little more thinking to do. The same question comes, why should I care?

The headline here tells me that my ideas are not authentic, but doesn’t tell me how to make them authentic. The subtitle seems to provide a solution to a different problem than the one being introduced by the headline, mainly my authenticity problem.

Okay, now let’s see what the product is actually about. We get data with actual numbers from different industries; you get real numbers that could provide interesting insights towards different business or at least give you some kind of context when you think about businesses.

The founder’s idea was presented here, and it all started from the fact that lots of his classmates were trying to prove different points without having actual data backing things up.

So that means we don’t have a problem with authenticity, we have a problem with missing proof from our claims.

For sure, this solution seems to be aimed more towards having the data first, then trying to build your own opinion about the state-of-the-art that is backed by data and not by half-baked opinions based on personal feelings towards different industries.

So, with these assumptions, I came up with this:

We all hate to be wrong. That’s why we offer you currated articles and reports bi-weekly with unheard data, so you always have something to back up your claims.

The formula:

Maybe you noticed I followed some kind of formula for creating these one-liners. The formula is from Donald Miller and you can find out more about this here and here.

The formula to create your one-line is rather simple, it only involves 3 parts, here’s what’s all about:

  1. Identify your customer's problem.

  • Be specific.

  • Make sure it's a pain point.

  1. Explain your plan to help them with your solution.

  • Make it like a new idea.

  • Make understandable/relatable.

  • Make it brief.

  1. Describe a successful ending to their story, their reward.

  • Make it something they want.

  • Make it brief.

For sure, this is not the only formula around, but this is very easy to follow, and you get a tremendous impact out of this.

With this formula in mind, it’s rather easy to create a one-liner that has an impact, but you will get another problem while thinking about this, this question comes up:

But what problem should I address? My startup solves multiple problems! I want to address all of them!

In the world of tech, one tool can solve distinct problems from different fields, but a startup rarely has the funds to market for all these people and a choice needs to be made.

We will address this topic in the next week’s issue, for now, experiment with this one-liner and see how the market responds to this.


  1. Share your website and one-liner in the comments and let other people learn from your journey.

  2. Comment on other people’s one-liner with what you understood so that they can validate if they really transmit the correct message.

If you don’t have a startup, try and figure out a one-liner for yourself (personal branding).

I will start, here is mine for this blog:

You just launched your startup and don't know what to do now? I write articles that help you out on your journey so you never get stuck again.

Do you have friends that you care for? Would this article help them? Share it now! We all know sharing is caring!


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