One of the basic rules of good copywriting is to speak to your readers. A simple copywriting technique that helps you speak to your readers is to use the word ‘you’ in your copy. Grammatically speaking, this is called ‘second person’. If you don’t remember your grammar terms from school, ‘I’ and ‘we’ are first person pronouns, and ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’ are third person pronouns.
The consensus among copywriters is that using second person when copywriting is one of the best ways to connect with your readers.
I did some research and found that many advertising and marketing agencies don’t know this simple rule in their own copywriting. Some of these firms are internationally recognised as the top marketing and advertising agencies. You’d think they would know better, but I guess a big name doesn’t always guarantee quality copywriting.
Let’s look at a few of the examples of how some marketing and advertising agencies fail to use second person in their copywriting (I’m not mentioning any names here because I don’t want to offend anyone).
Examples of copywriting that aren’t customer focused
1.We offer our clients a full spectrum of advertising related services.
2. We offer our clients common sense advice that helps them grow their businesses.
3. Our attention to detail and timelines and our solid production base enables us to offer our clients the best results.
4. This level of integration allows us to offer our clients coordinated campaigns.
5. We offer our clients a full suite of communications solutions including brand strategy, market strategy, marketing support, public relations, website analysis, web design, web marketing, and advertising services.
6. We offer our clients a comprehensive range of programs and services.
7. We offer our clients an insightful and personal approach, full of creative energy, and dedication to your individual business needs.
8. We offer our clients strategic and creative leadership across a full array of marketing communications.
Do you see what these companies have missed with their copywriting?
They use the phrase ‘our clients’ when they should write ‘you’ in their copywriting.
Why is this important?
Copywriting is selling with words
Copywriting is the art of selling with words. One of the basic rules of any sales interaction is ‘assume the sale’. If you use second person in your copywriting, you are assuming that the reader is already a customer. If you are timid and afraid to assume the sale, your copywriting won’t be as effective.
We can tell from the examples above that many copywriters don’t have sales experience. They might have strong credentials in public relations, marketing or journalism, but they don’t understand sales and the art of persuasion.
Simple copywriting changes can make a big difference
Let’s quickly fix the sample sentences to see how simple changes greatly improve the copywriting.
1. We offer you a full spectrum of advertising related services.
2. We offer you common sense advice that helps you grow your business.
3. Our attention to detail and timelines and our solid production base enables us to offer you the best results.
4. This level of integration allows us to offer you coordinated campaigns.
5. We offer you a full suite of communications solutions including brand strategy, market strategy, marketing support, public relations, website analysis, web design, web marketing, and advertising services.
6. We offer you a comprehensive range of services and programs.
7. We offer you a personal and insightful approach, full of creative energy, and dedication to your individual business needs.
8. We offer you strategic and creative leadership across a full array of marketing communications.
There are other changes that I would make to improve these examples, but I only want to deal with one issue in this copywriting blog post.
How to measure customer focus in your copywriting
At Word Nerds we use a free online tool that measures how well we focus on the customer in our copywriting. It’s called the WeWe Customer Focus Calculator and you can find it at http://www.futurenowinc.com/wewe.htm.
Simply enter a web address, or paste your copywriting in, and it tells you how much you are focusing on your company in your copywriting versus how much you are focusing on your customer.
These are sample results of some copywriting we checked on the site.
For the copy you submitted:
Your Customer Focus Rate: 85.71%
You have 6 instances of customer-focused words.
Your Self Focus Rate: 14.29%
You have 0 instances of self-focused words.
You have 1 instance of the Company Name.
You speak about your customers approximately 6 times as often as you speak about yourself.
If we find our copywriting has a low Customer Focus Rate, we go back and improve it.
You don’t have to look very far to see examples of poor copywriting. Large and respected advertising agencies don’t necessarily know what good copywriting is. They fail to speak to their customers when copywriting.
Remember that copywriting is about customers, so speak to them directly by writing ‘you’.