You need to use this word with your audience and on your next hot date

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0 Comments Mar 14, 2015 blog

If you don’t use it enough, you’ll lose out to your competition…

Imagine you’re on a first date.

You’re in a Michelin-starred restaurant (let’s think high-end, you deserve it). The food is exquisite. There’s beautiful decor. The soft lighting makes you look like a model in a glossy magazine ad. The bathroom sinks (marble of course) are accompanied by soft fluffy rolled-up towels next to bottles of designer hand gel.

But there’s just one problem.


This brilliant image is from here

Your date has spent all evening telling you how great they are. Every sentence contains a variation of “I’ve done that, I like them, I believe this”.

Oh dear. You gave them a chance. You listened to what they had to say. You hoped that maybe they were just looking to fill any nervous silences. Even the wine hasn’t stemmed the flow of “me me me”.

If only your date had used one word.

Three little letters.

YOU.

That’s it.

It’s the same in business.

Using “you”, (and its close relatives “your” and “yours”) in your language instantly tells your audience you’re talking directly to them.

Online, it grabs their attention like no other word. It’s like you’re making eye contact. It feels like you’re adjusting your message to suit their mood.

And it means you’re likely to get somewhere with this person.

Good old 80/20

Now have a look at your copy. Are you using it enough? Try the 80/20 approach to make sure. At least 80% of your sentences should be focused on your audience and what they need (“you”, “your”); 20% should focus on you and what you offer (“I”, “we”).

‘But… what about me?’

Yes, you need to explain why you’re good. Naturally, you should highlight your experience and knowledge. And of course, you need to demonstrate why people can trust you.

But you need to communicate what that means for your reader. Because after every word they read, they’re thinking “What’s in it for me?”

If you don’t answer that question, they’ll walk away.

If you’re not sure what I mean, here’s how one website does this really well: https://www.virtru.com/how-it-works (disclaimer: I don’t know these guys, I didn’t write the copy, I just bookmarked it because I think it’s a great example of web copywriting)

“When you send messages with Virtru, your emails and files are locked using strong encryption. Only you and your recipients can decrypt your messages. That way your private information stays private.”

Imagine if the copy said:

“Messages sent via our service are locked using strong encryption. Only senders and their recipients can decrypt their messages. That way their private information stays private.”

How does that make you feel? Bored? Disassociated? As if you’re not part of the conversation?

Now what?

Have a look at some of the copy you’re using. See how many examples of “I”, “we”, “us”, or “our” you have.

See where you can flip these to “you”, your”, or “yours”.

Aim for at least 4 “you” (or variations of) for every 1 “we” (remember the 80/20 approach).

Then have a read and let me know how it makes you feel. Does it help your message in any way? Do you think it sounds warmer, or creepier?

And if you try this out on your next date, how did you get on?

Steve Alphabet

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