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The Elevator and Twitter Pitch

We recently sent a couple of new employees out to an event at the Greater Washington Board of Trade designed to teach the basics of social networking — the physical, in person kind of social networking as opposed to the Twitter-kind. The employees were asked to come up with an elevator pitch that described the work their company did. The goal of an ‘elevator pitch’ is to fit enough relevant information into a 30 second soundbite to explain in a basic fashion what the company does, but hopefully with enough of a ‘teaser’ that the listener will want to know more.

I debriefed the team when they came back and listened to what they came up with. Each one of the new employees did something interesting. They tried to explain the concept of a VPS in 30 seconds.

That surprised me, because in my mind ServInt isn’t a VPS company. Yes, it’s true that our most popular products are VPSs, but the Virtual Private Server is simply today’s best, most reliable method for providing managed hosting to our customers…it isn’t necessarily the only avenue we use to provide that service. Thus, ServInt is not a VPS provider. We are a provider of Enterprise class managed hosting. We use VPS, and Enterprise level servers and server clusters, as envelopes to provide that service.

The pitch you give to colleagues and competitors alike is one that clearly sells the idea of your company — e.g. managed hosting — as opposed to a simple product — e.g. VPS.  That comes later.

With the advent of microblogging and social networking sites like Twitter and Friendfeed the elevator pitch has been — pardon the expression — elevated even further by the often empowering constraints of 140 character tweets.  The elevator pitch is an old-school and eerily efficient way to spread the message about who you are and what you do.  Perfecting it’s length and content is key, using 30 seconds or 140 characters is an excellent way to maximize the effectiveness of your message and ensure your communicating as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here’s ServInt’s:

For nearly 15 years, ServInt has provided fast, reliable, award-winning managed hosting to companies ranging from small startups and blogs to large multinational corporations. Our 24/7/365 support is famous, and our reputation is peerless. We measure our uptime in years, not months or weeks, and we have the customer satisfaction to prove it.

That was 23 seconds, give or take. Great for an elevator, bad for Twitter.  Let’s try that again with a 140 character limit!

For 14+ years ServInt has provided fast, reliable, managed hosting to clients ranging from tiny startups to big corporations

This leaves us with about 16 characters open. You can add a hashtag to steer people towards a larger conversation, include a friendfeed link to an ongoing discussion there, or throw in a shortened URL to steer people to your site or company blog. The possibilities are endless and the constraints challenge you to better refine your message day in and day out.

What’s your elevator pitch?  Let’s hear it in the comments or on twitter/friendfeed, use the hashtag #elevatorpitch!

– Christian

Photo by Gideon Tsang

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