How to write a website positioning statement
When someone comes to your website, is it immediately clear what you do or sell, how it’s unique, and who it’s for? A good website positioning statement will cover all this and more. But what is a positioning statement and how do you write one? Well, it’s something really simple that’s really hard to get right. Which is why we’re here to help.
Welcome to this month’s Mind Your Business partnership post, co-authored by yours truly, Cody McBurnett, along with pitch expert Laura Allen. Together we’re taking on the ins-and-outs of the creation of the all-important Website Positioning Statement.
What is a website positioning statement?
“A positioning statement is an expression of how a given product, service, or brand fills a particular consumer need in a way that its competitors don’t. Positioning is the process of identifying an appropriate market niche for a product (or service or brand) and getting it established in that area.”
—Generic Description Found Via Google That Seems To Cover It Well
Why do you need a positioning statement on your website?
It seems like common sense, but it needs to be said: When people get to your site, it should be clear right away who you are, what you do, and if you’re the one for them. A simple website positioning statement, coupled with your branding, should grab the attention of your ideal customer and get them to stay, wanting to learn more.
What’s the challenge?
A really great website positioning statement is one of the hardest things to do right. First off, you have to summarize who you are, what you do, what makes you unique, and identify your ideal customer is in just a sentence or two.
Normally when you’re pitching someone IRL, you have some context for your audience—what they need, why they came to you, and/or what they’re expecting from you—and you can tailor your pitch appropriately (read more about having “a pitch for every niche” here). But since we’re talking your website homepage and the audience could be, well, anyone, generality is necessary.
It’s not magic, but it’s a start. The basic positioning statement formula:
There’s no one magic-bullet formula for a website positioning statement, but here is the basic starting point and an example to show how it can adapt:
Company name is/provides statement of key benefit – that is, compelling reason to buy for target customer looking to statement of need or opportunity.
FIRST DRAFT (what it looks like when Cody followed the formula literally): Loki Loki is a brand identity and web design studio for women-owned businesses looking to level up with style.
FINAL (read on to learn how to best get yours good-to-go as well): Loki Loki is a brand and web design studio helping businesses to level up, beautifully.
What to keep in mind when writing your website positioning statement:
- Think of a positioning statement like it’s the headline of your business.
- On that note, don’t bury the lead—make sure you’re being clear, quickly. In other words: Get to the point!
- Remember that you have just a moment to make an impression.
- Avoid cliches, jargon, and other meaningless filler; every word should be carefully considered.
- What problem or need does your ideal client have and are you letting them know that you can solve it?
- You’re addressing your ideal customer—this is where you assure them that they’re in the right place.
- Be clear about the kind of work you want to be doing; don’t be afraid to be niche/specific.
- Lastly—and this is a good test—does this make sense to your grandfather, niece, or neighbor? Will they be able to read your positioning statement and not only understand what you do and for whom, but actually turn around and tell someone else what you do?
Edit and refine:
You’ve kept all the above points in mind and used the starter formula to draft your positioning statement and, frankly, chances are it sounds… Strange. Keep working on it—you’ll get there!
EXAMPLE ONE: Editing and refining got this (a pitch for Laura’s client Irina, a professional photographer):
“For entrepreneurs who are looking to build a powerful brand around their professional image, the ‘Power Portrait’ photo package allows you to stand out. Unlike other photographers who do more traditional corporate head shots, I work with my clients on-location with exceptional natural lighting and backgrounds, not in a generic photo studio or office.”
“Irina Smirnonva provides Power Portrait photo sessions for entrepreneurs looking to build a better brand around their image.”
The first was good, but a bit too wordy. A lot of the information she was providing is important, but not right-up-front-important. Irina ended up using a minimal positioning statement which can be used to sell the specific photo package she wants to be known for. It was important she address her target market, entrepreneurs, because are ready and willing to invest in their own personal brand, as opposed to those shopping for the least expensive headshot packages available. She knew her ideal client and created a positioning statement that speaks directly to them.
EXAMPLE TWO: Editing and refining got this (a pitch for Laura’s client Gabriella, a travel industry expert):
“48 Hour Power Jaunt provides refreshing, short-burst itineraries to destinations around the world, designed to have travelers experiencing the best of the best in 2 days’ time, ideal for busy professionals short on time but long on curiosity, who seek a restorative, rejuvenating break.”
“48 Hour Power Jaunt is a series of specially curated short-burst itineraries for the globally curious traveler that is short on time but long on creativity, boldness and curiosity.”
It’s now featured prominently on the homepage of the 48 Hour Power Jaunt website and makes it super clear what her company does and for whom.
Some examples of our favorite website positioning statements:
Notice that these are all so good we don’t have to tell you anything more? Some of them probably even make you want to click on the link to learn more; that means they’re doing their job:
Due North Quest is a rigorous program designed to instill a life-changing attitude and shape young men into productive, thoughtful, and engaged members of society. A rite of passage for the modern age. Because it’s the journey that makes the man.
Lindsey Pollak is a top-rated keynote speaker, New York Times bestselling author and TEDx presenter. She is widely recognized as the leading expert on the millennial generation in the workplace and how members of all generations can thrive in today’s multigenerational work environment.
The Wing is a home base for women on their way. The Wing was born out of the belief that women need and deserve a multi-purpose space designed to make their lives easier, and that magic is created when women gather together.
DevelopHer is a non-profit community dedicated to bringing women in technology together to create both opportunities and a network of support through events, workshops, and learning.
SheWorx is a global collective of ambitious female entrepreneurs redefining leadership.
We Stories: Raising Big-Hearted Kids is a new and growing organization that uses the power of children’s literature to create conversation, change, and hope in St. Louis and a stronger, more equitable and inclusive future for all.
Post your website positioning statement, along with a link to your website (if you have one) and a bit more information about what you do or sell in the comments and we’ll gladly give you some feedback!
Need to dive in deep? You can also hire Laura to help get you there. She has an introductory offer that includes three one hour phone coaching sessions for $599. Learn more about Laura and her pitch-perfect services in her “I’m A Business, Woman” profile on this site or check out her website.