Has it happened to you?
You unexpectedly bumped into an ex-colleague and when asked about your new business you suddenly felt paralysed and couldn’t get a word out. Or, perhaps the opposite happened and you started waffling all sorts of information and by the time you started to make sense, your friend gently acknowledged that it was nice seeing you and apologised for having to go.
You just missed a vital business opportunity! This ex-colleague could have been a potential new client, or at least supporter and promoter of your business.
To make things worse, he or she will definitely not be the former (a new client), but likely to be the latter (a promoter). Only that his or her advertising of your business will mirror exactly your own words: that is either complete silence or messy waffle sprinkled with a few comments of their own negative impression.
To avoid embarrassing and business-damaging situations like these, there is one vital ingredient, one set of power words you want to be really clear about: your elevator pitch.
It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
So, in today’s post my mission is to look closer at what an elevator pitch is, its importance and benefits and finally what makes for a powerful elevator pitch.
What is an elevator pitch
In a nutshell, an elevator pitch is a short statement of your product, service, brand, project or cause and its value proposition.
The objective is to spark interest and get a conversation started with your target audience, to ultimately win them over to become your customers.
It’s also what more traditionally used to be known as the mission statement. The trouble with these was often that they seemed like rather robotic and manufactured, and consequently meaningless summaries of a company’s (or also individual’s, just think CV’s and cover letters) aims and values.
Other common terms, which sometimes get used interchangeably include vision and values statement, brand message or even manifesto, blueprint or spiel. Or the latest buzzword on the block is of course ‘story’.
It doesn’t really matter that much what it is referred to, but what really matters is what’s inside and what that manufacturing process looks like.
Are you following an old-school approach using rather artificial and mechanical bogus words to try and fabricate some sort of immaculate, fault and flawless image?
Or, are you following a more real, heart-based and authentic path to establishing and evolving your business blueprint?
6 keys to a powerful elevator pitch
First up, of course, choose the authentic, or content marketing , route! That’s got nothing to do by the way with telling everyone that you ARE authentic, and everything to do with BEING genuine and real, having integrity, demonstrating credibility and putting the customer first. People buy from people – not from manufactured and superficial alter-egos – and unless you get that, you’ll even struggle to get any of the other aspects right.
Focus on the problem you’re solving, the solution and benefits you’re providing to solve it and of course, the audience you’re serving. The more specific your language, the more likely you’ll attract the right fit customers.
Relevance automatically creates a certain attention and makes something compelling to engage. What’s more, you can really get your engagement wheels in motion with your language by making it more personable (e.g. referring to yourself in the first rather than third person) and conversational (e.g. by adding a question or call to action).
A targeted message already contributes to clarity and hence a better understanding. Add to that jargon-free, simple sentences, consistent formatting and structuring (e.g. using sub-headings), and you’ll be on top of the simplicity leader board. Two more of my favourite simplicity tips are: use a style guide and… never underestimate the power of white space!
Communications channels have their own dynamics and your pitch line needs to fit in. For example fit into 30 to 60 seconds – the time a typical elevator ride takes – when presented verbally. Or, for a written statement, a one-pager may be the best fit for an investor presentation or about page, whereas for your social media profile it’s the one-sentence pitch that has become an essential.
I don’t mean responsive as in accessible on different devices, but responsive to the constant change of our times, be it technological, economical or social. If you want a thriving business, you need to constantly go – and grow – with the times. In other words, don’t consider your elevator pitch as a one-off exercise, but treat it as a breathing, living thing that needs nurturing and evolves over time.
The real power of your elevator pitch is in its side effects
Formulating your elevator pitch forces you not just to think, but to get really clear for yourself first.
And clarity is not only key to getting attention, building trust, connecting and ultimately to selling. A clear message can also be easily remembered and consequently passed on, thus have a significant positive effect on your reach and visibility – and not just amongst your human supporters, but even search engines will take notice of your strategically targeted and engaging keywords, too.
Last but not least, having a clear vision about your offering and audience you will find that your focus improves and your productivity soars as it becomes much easier to manage your time, energy and priorities.
I truly believe that it pays (in real money!) to develop and nurture a powerful, authentic and coherent brand message. It’s the ‘life-force’ that flows through everything and gives your business its vitality and strength as I put it.
Need help with your marketing and business words?
I love helping small business owners with big, and big-hearted, ambitions bring their mission, vision and unique story to life (branding & content strategy) and to shine (web content flow design, copywriting, editing, proofreading). If this sounds like you, I’ll be delighted to hear from you and discuss how we can work together!