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What’s your five word summary?

Sometimes, it takes me 5 pages of documentation and a lengthy chat to decipher what it is a particular business actually does. I figure if I don’t get it, then chances are the viewers of the website I build for them wont get it either.

Sometimes I feel thick because I have to ask a potential customer so many questions, part of me just wants to nod along and pretend I know what they’re up to so they’ll feel comfortable spending money with me. But another part of me figures that if a business is making me feel dumb and intimidated because I don’t get what they do, surely they aren’t marketing themselves very well.

Publish a five word summary puts in very concise words one of the biggest things I think businesses need to offer to their customers and WHY it’s so important.

“Summarise what your organisation does in 5 words.

Now put that in a prominent position on your website.

Don’t bury it several levels down in some sub-menu.

Don’t write 50 words, or 150, or 500 (though you can do that in addition to the 5 words).

Visitors come to your website for many reasons. It may be to read all your wonderful information, but it also may be to quickly summarise what you’re about, grab the link and pass that information along to others in a blog, training materials, news item, email or even on a phone call or in a text message.

The harder you make your visitors work, the less likely they are to tell others about you.”

I realised this very early on after starting a blog – the 5 word summary of what the blog was about appeared in every review and directory listing people gave us. They just copied and pasted it. We made it so easy for them to spread the word about us, they just did it.

I also notice it when talking to people about what we do. If I give the 5-15 minute explanation, people often get a polite but entirely bored look on their face. Most people just don’t care about the inner workings, they just want the 5 word summary. If they get your business in 5 words – especially if they know nothing about the industry – they feel smart. They like you AND they can tell their friends about you.

So, what’s your five word summary?