The Elevator Pitch: 15 Second Marketing


I’ve been thinking about elevator pitches lately.
The elevator pitch is one of the most difficult aspects of marketing for me (aside from the walking up to perfect strangers and asking them to give me their time and/or money).

Because my product is discovered and accessed online, I’m lumping this verbal pitch in with a short textual one that people will read on an About page, or a description that they’d see on a community site or in a forum profile.

If you offer a service or have a product like a book or comic, you need to have your 15-second marketing spiel chambered and ready to fire into the face of anyone who’ll listen.

So, how does one successfully convey a lot of information, enticingly, in a short amount of time? I’ve been thinking about this aspect of marketing for a couple of reasons.

1) I want more traffic coming to my site and more readers of my comic. But I have a big challenge: the Q-Burger storyline is rapidly becoming too dense and impenetrable. And knowing what I know about Season 5, it’s not going to get any better. So I need to find a way to interest readers quickly and entice them to join up.

2) I’m developing a new strip. Which means that I’m going to be faced with the same challenges, only with a new and even MORE unknown property.

3) BONUS REASON: I’ll have TWO strips to pitch to people. How in hell do I do that?

Before I took on my current gig of full-time child-wrangling, I spent a couple of years as a freelance copywriter and web/print designer offering a very wide range of services. This is great from a flexibility standpoint, but it’s a pain from a “Quick, tell me what you do and make me understand it all instantly so I can pass judgment” perspective. I had a lot of trouble finding the right balance of informing and selling.*

Steve Pavlina’s suffered through similar problems when trying to sum up a broad range of services and talents into a sentence or two, and he’s written a lengthy post on the subject:

I’ve struggled with crafting a good elevator pitch because I do a lot of different things. For starters I’m a blogger, an author, a speaker, and an entrepreneur. But I don’t identify with any of those exclusively.

Often when someone asks me what I do for a living, I’ll say, “Well, it’s a bit complicated because I do a lot of different things.” Then I’ll mention some of the things I do. Typically the other person will give me a strange look while they process this overload of information, and then they’ll say something, “Ok, so you’re a writer?” And then I’ll have to explain some more.

As the creator of a weekly webcomic and writer of a blog, I’m once again faced with these challenges when explaining things to friends and family, when I’m writing an About page, or when I finally embark on a concerted effort to bring in new readers and increase traffic.

Originally, the strip was supposed to be about a fast-food crew and their restaurant. But now, the story has gone wildly astray and grown huge and sprawling. Which is incredibly fun for me to write (sometimes), but which exponentially increases the challenge of bringing a new reader up to speed.

*Ironically, I have a much more difficult day-job now, but my elevator speech was incredibly easy to create. “I’m a stay-at-home dad and I take care of two kids, age two and nine months.” I always get the desired reactions from the people I tell: Admiration and/or pity.


15 Second Marketing -