Writing for the Web – A Valuable Marketing Tip

During my years studying at Davenport University, I took a Business Letter Writing course. It was there that I learned a valuable marketing tip about writing for others instead of myself. Using this strategy in the business world has had a big influence on my successful career journey, and continues to positively influence that path today.

It’s about your readers, not about you!

Here is a paragraph taken from a website’s page that is meant to attract family-owned businesses. Many words have been omitted to protect the privacy of the site:

We not only run our own … business, we have helped hundreds of such businesses … over the years. We can assist you with strategy and executing sound .. decisions to … achieve the business … objectives and keep you out in front of the other guys. We are your trusted … team … Our track record as problem solvers … has helped take many … businesses like yours to the next level.

On the surface, the writing seems very good. Right? But notice the number of times each of these words is mentioned:

  • “we” – 4
  • “our” – 2
  • “you” – 2
  • “your(s)” – 2

With 6 words about the company, and only 4 addressing the reader, who is this paragraph really about, the company or the readers?

Subliminal but very important
The business letter writing course taught me, and various studies since have confirmed, that frequent use of the first person (I, we, us) in writing sends a subliminal, but extremely important message: The writer is far more important than the reader. If you wish to see how this knowledge can have a positive effect on your reader’s thoughts — and ultimately your website conversions — read on!

Saying the same thing … differently
Let’s revisit the paragraph above and say the same thing, only differently. This time, the emphasis will be more on the reader than the writer:

Like you, we run our own closely held … business. Dealing first-hand with the issues unique to this business category has resulted in invaluable lessons learned — lessons that in turn have helped hundreds of client businesses … over the years. You will receive assistance with everything from strategy and executing sound .. decisions to … achieving business … objectives. Objectives that keep you out in front of the other guys. You can depend on us as part of your trusted … team … Our track record as problem solvers … has helped take many … businesses like yours to the next level.

Now let’s count the words:

  • “we” – 1
  • “our” – 2
  • “you” – 4
  • “your(s)” – 2

Total counts for we/our: 3
Total counts for you/your(s): 6

Now the paragraph is really about the reader! Try using this marketing tip, even if it is in an email meant to convince someone. You may also discover this approach results in having a positive influence on your career journey!

About the Author

Beverly Mapes, Founder, President

Beverly Mapes

Founder & President, Top Of The List

Bev founded Top Of The List in 2006 and has over 25 years of experience working with technology. In her free time, she competes in dog agility competitions with her Golden Retrievers, Cosmo, and Finn.