“So, what do you do?” 5 steps to your perfect elevator pitch

If you’re starting out in your own business or as a freelancer, it can really help you to define your service by writing an “elevator pitch”. An elevator pitch is simply a 30 to 60 second summary of what you do. When you have it locked and loaded you can rhyme it off at networking events, when you meet potential clients, and as part of your intro’ if you do video content or livestreams. Your pitch is like your verbal business card. In this post, we’re going to look at a really simple formula to write your own.

When I was starting out with Claire Creative, I was offering a lot of different services and the question “So, what do you do”, sometimes turned into a long-winded explanation and list of services.

My Old version

“I studied graphic design and now I help people make their websites. I’m proficient in Photoshop and InDesign and Illustrator. My clients often need logos and style guides so I do that too when they need it. I can also do email marketing, mostly with MailChimp and MailerLite. And then most people want ways to build traffic to their website. And sometimes people need help with writing content and I help with that too. I mostly use WordPress and Squarespace. Then sometimes I offer training on how to use that website and set up basic SEO…and..err.”

It’s not so bad, but it sounds like a list of tasks rather than a fully thought out service. It made me look like a beginner, which I was, but when I realised the importance of that first impression, I got to work on a more cohesive way to express the value of what I had to offer.

I’m not saying you need to turn into a salesperson whenever you meet someone new, but it’s really handy to have an elevator pitch ready to roll to avoid ‘umms and ‘errs when you’re asked what you do. When I wrote my own, it actually helped me to define the service I was offering. It pushed me to consider the services that I actually wanted to offer and who I really preferred to work with. Let’s look at the elevator pitch format.

5 steps to your perfect elevator pitch

  1. Who do you work with?
  2. What service do you provide?
  3. How do you provide that service?
  4. What is your unique selling point (USP) (what makes you different to others in the same field)
  5. What problem are you solving for customers?

So you can see that it’s not just about the work you do, but who you work with and how you work! If you’re not sure who your clients are, pop over to the Digital Strategy article and fill out the  worksheets.

The improved version

(Who:) I help creative solopreneurs (service:) to make more money doing the work they love (how:) by creating a digital strategy that aligns with their natural strenghts and core values. (USP:) My approach to digital strategy is to do less, better. I help my clients to focus on actions that are come naturally to them and help them to connect with the people who need their services in a way that makes them think: “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.” (problem solved) So instead of getting overwhelmed by shiny ideas, tech’ and marketing actions that feel wrong, they get to show up online in a way that feels right and really connects with the people they want to work with. Which means they get to focus on the work they set out to do in the first place, and make more money doing it.

Isn’t that much better? Obviously, I don’t recite this word for word like a robot, that’d be weird. Instead, I have these elements ready to use so I don’t get tongue-tied and end up sounding unprofessional and boring.

Other elevator pitch tips

  • Know exactly what you want to say
  • Write out a long list of words you can use to describe your service, which can be used to vary your pitch
  • Consider who you’re talking to – the tone will vary in different situations
  • Try to avoid technical terms and jargon
  • Keep it short, but not so short that there’s nothing to talk about
  • Vary it. Don’t get bored of your own speech, mix it up depending on who you’re talking to, just be sure to include the main ingredients
  • Think of a follow-up question to keep the conversation going. This applies to your spoken and written pitch
  • Practice it. Ask a friend if it makes sense to them. Sometimes when you’re too close to the subject, it helps to get an outside opinion.

Take action now:

Download your free Elevator Pitch Worksheet

Isn’t the term ‘elevator pitch’ totally out of date though?

In the years I’ve been in business the term  ‘brand messaging’ has really taken over from ‘elevator pitch’. I don’t tend to get too caught up in jargon, but in this case, it’s worth pointing out that your message is actually an asset in your collection of brand elements. Being able to articulate your message and communicate the purpose of your service is vital no matter what you call it. If you’re working on it the online resources are more likely to refer to it as a ‘brand message’ than an ‘elevator pitch’. Like my post here: Create a crystal clear message and attract droves of ideal clients

Just thought I’d mention it 🙂

Using your elevator pitch on your website

A more lengthy, detailed version of your elevator pitch can be used on your website. Especially your Services page and your About page. Having your pitch written out in full can help you to compose text throughout your site.

When writing your pitch text, do a big brainstorm page with all the vocabulary associated with what you do. If you make this list of keywords and phrases when defining your pitch, you can refer back to it as the SEO vocabulary set for the site.

Using your pitch text as a reference when writing your website copy and even social media posts will help you to stay true to your audience and your brand message.

So take your time, give it a test run and be sure to optimize your site and all your social profiles. I promise you, you’ll start to get positive feedback and, even more business leads because your audience will know for sure what you do and they’ll be reassured that your service is perfect for them.

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