The Thirty Second Sell – What’s Your Website’s Elevator Pitch?

You have thirty seconds to tell me why your website matters, and what it can offer me. Go!

Did you panic? It’s a simple enough request, but did you manage to simplify everything down to half a minute? That’s the idea behind the elevator pitch.

What’s an elevator pitch?

It’s a simple 30 second explanation of who you are and why you matter. The original phrase comes being able to pitch yourself in the time the average elevator takes to travel from lobby to top floor. It’s most commonly found with start-ups pitching their business model to venture capitalists for funding. The short and sweet sell.

This is just as important for your website/blog. Can you describe the key points in under thirty seconds? It’s a valuable thing to have in arsenal. Once it’s done you’ll end up using it many more times than you’d expect.

Visitors are Customers

It doesn’t matter if you run a web application or blog, visitors are the currency of any successful website. What pulls them into your site in particular? What does your site actually provide? What can you expect the average visitor to get out of it? Build Internet has a pretty simple elevator pitch:

Build Internet is a web niche blog focused on web design, development, and business. We focus on writing articles and tutorials to benefit web workers of all levels. Tutorials are written to be accessible for all skill levels, and we have a focus on highly supportive community for further help and networking.

It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a good start. If a person is still interested after hearing the summary, they are welcome to continue the discussion. You’re never permanently locked in, so expect to adapt as needed.

You’d be surprised how many web directories or other sites require a short description. Have one saved and you’ll put yourself in a great position for future publicity.

Sell Results, Not Possibilities

This is the major difference between pitches for investors, and pitches for web traffic. When a start up is trying to convince a investor to fund them, the investor wants to know they will be making money in the future. They want to hear about potential.

Visitors don’t care if you have the potential to write compelling content. The only thing they invest is their time. They care about accessing compelling content today. The website pitch is not a practice in possibilities, it’s grounded in real results.

The elevator pitch is a much more personalized form of marketing. You connect to an individual, and show them why you are beneficial to their needs.

Lessons from 140 Characters

Twitter is a great exercise tool for building convincing elevator-esque pitches. The character limited forces concise points to help promote what you’re posting. If you’ve ever promoted a link through Twitter, you’re familiar with how difficult it can be sometimes to say everything you need.

Consider the following two examples:

  1. Basically the article is about selling your website. It covers how to make a short version of your pitch so you can sell someone quickly and get them to read your site more.
  2. Pitch your site in thirty seconds and get more visitors

Which one would you click on? Straight and to the point titles like the second option build intrigue. It’s clear what the reader will get out of it, and it is their own desire to continue that gets the click.

If I feel like I’ve read the article in the description, I’m not going to continue as often. Cliffhangers? It’s an interest goldmine…

The Cliffhanger is Good

A good elevator pitch will have a hook to grab further attention. You don’t need to tell them everything at once. A good elevator pitch leaves the other person wanting to know more. Why visit something you’ve already gotten everything out of?

Use Delicious traffic as an example. It demonstrates the kind of sites that get bookmarked. It’s the sites that become references that receive a callback. Roundups are popular because it’s unlikely someone would go through all items in one sitting. Instead it becomes an ongoing reference.

References from the Business World

Even though you tend to here more about elevator pitches in the context of investment propositions, but it is relatively easy to convert the same idea to website visitors. Here are a couple useful resources to help you build a surefire elevator pitch for your website or blog.

Impress Us, Get Readers

So how about it? Can you sell us on your website/blog? Now that you have a direction, let’s see what you can come up with.

I want you to promote your website below in the comments using a 3-4 sentence elevator-esque pitch. If it’s particularly good, you may even pick up some new readership from the other commenters. I leave it up to you!

Thumbnail photo by Beard Papavia Flickr

Posted Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 · Back to Top

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17 Comments 0 Mentions

  1. Chris Moran Author Editor

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

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  2. Chris Collins Author Editor

    You are so right: “The Cliffhanger is Good.”

    Let’s say I am at a bookstore reading the back of a bunch of murder mysteries. If the synopsis reveals all the plot twists will I buy the book? Of course not. This is no different. This is our art. We need to make our work intriguing. I suppose finding the right balance between being mysterious and being clear is the trick, isn’t it? The fact that it should only by 30 seconds must help, but what is good to leave out of your elevator pitch to generate interest? Also how can you generate that “cliffhanger” interest if your blog is more of a practical topic?

    Great post!

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  3. Justin Moore-Brown Author Editor

    Good gravy this is a great post!

    I was totally blown away when I realized that I had no idea how to boil my site’s description into 30 seconds. I kept wanting to include everything!

    Twitter has definitely helped me to be more concise. Thanks to this post I shall be a master of elevator pitches! haha.

    Should come in handy considering there is an upcoming speed-networking event I’ll be attending!

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  4. Andrew Houle Author Editor

    Great post Zach! I definitely agree with you, it’s so important to present an excellent, but concise message. Hmmm, maybe I should edit mine :)

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  5. Adam Nutting Author Editor

    Great post. I had never looked at using twitter to help polish and fine tune your skills in elevator speech writing.

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  6. Gunter Author Editor

    Example: “E-Volve is a group who provide you with an online presence. Since the audience has gone digital it’s necessary that you evolve too and this is where we fill your needs!”

    Something like this will do?

    Note: the website is in Dutch and in need of a serious update. Although we make use of a pitch,yet a smaller one.
    The first heading means: “You want an online presence and don’t know where to start?”

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  7. logos Author Editor

    Very insightful. It’s like writing commercials. 30 seconds is all you get and all people have attention spans for.

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  8. emp Author Editor

    BlindApeSEO provides insights, resources, scripts and crazy ideas on SEO, website marketing and general web development topics.

    That was fun.

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  9. Raymond Selda Author Editor

    Very nice article Zach! My blog focuses on how you can use the Web to rule and take over the world! hahaha.

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  10. Phil Taylor Author Editor

    I enjoyed reading this post and the I like your challenge…here is my 30 second pitch…

    MEAR Partners gives you a hosted, secure e-commerce site all for free. We promote your web site, and your product using our proven online marketing techniques.

    to learn more about our business visit us online here http://www.mearpartners.com

    read our blog here http://www.mearpartners.com/blog

    Thanks, Phil Taylor.

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  11. Psiplex blog Author Editor

    For the Psiplex Blog – would like your comments on the elevator pitch:
    It’s not complex, it’s psiplex, the Psiplex blog. Learn about:
    Your True Self
    Your True Nature
    Your True Path
    psiplex.com
    Follow me on Twitter @psiplex

    If there would be more time/characters, there is another phrase: The universe has a divine way of connecting, synchronizing and blessing us.

    Let me know how it can be improved!

    Thanks

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  12. Cynthia Wunsch Author Editor

    Thanks for a great article–I do the elevator pitch all the time at networking groups but never thought to apply it to my website! Off to make the changes now!

    Read the research: Classical music can transform your life–here’s how!
    http://www.wikyblog.com/CynthiaWunsch

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  13. Millee Author Editor

    Really enjoyed this post! I believe there is some statistic about how it only takes 10 seconds to make your first impression… So, why wouldn’t it be the same for your website. It is an art and typically people give you about 15 seconds for you to explain your product and what it will do/what’s in it for them. No time to stutter or fumble over words! I completely agree that we all can learn a lot from Twitter and limiting us to 140 characters – teaches us to tighten and refine our pitches.

    As for your challenge: Elevator Pitch for MemberHub.com:

    MemberHub is a web-based application built to help member-driven organizations, such as churches and non-profits, enhance communication with and among their members. This application will help manage members while maximizing membership satisfaction.

    Would love the opportunity to connect, please visit our site: http://www.MemberHub.com

    Best,
    Millee

    Zach, thanks for this opportunity – that was fun!

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    • Joshua Dunn Author Editor

      Great comment and great blog looks wonderful. You are absolutely correct why would it not be the same for a website as for any other form of a company or business.

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  14. alan Author Editor

    Tank is a clean, simple & fun way to build a website.

    There you go. One sentence… ;)

    alan’s last blog post..How to add (other) stuff to your site

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  15. Margery Stegman Author Editor

    Great article. Here’s ours:

    Schenkel/Stegman helps companies create clear, consistent visual tools such as web sites, brochures, and logos, that generate more online traffic, generate more leads, and increase market penetration.

    What do you think?

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  16. Adam Author Editor

    Bit late on joining this excellent conversation but here goes:

    Content services and tools for those navigating the trading universe. Get informed, get educated, learn, make a decision and start trading. Look at the trading from your angle!

    New site will be ready in July please feel free to have a look at the beta we would love to have you. http://www.trading.co.uk

    Cheers

    Adam

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