When writing copy for your business, it’s tempting to want to impress your reader with your knowledge and expertise. But often, the copy can come across as stiff or impersonal.
Here is a quick tip: Talk to ONE person and act like it’s a person you care about, such as a family member or a friend. Use language they’ll understand.
In order to write copy that will resonate with your website visitor, you must imagine a specific person. Doing this instead of trying to speak to a “nameless, faceless” mass of people will do wonders for your writing.
For instance, let’s say you have a yoga studio. You know from your research that your target audience is middle-aged, single professional women. Get a picture in your mind of your perfect customer.
Consider the way she looks, what her day looks like, what her challenges are in the day, and so on. Again, the more specific you get about your perfect customer, the more it will help craft powerful web copy. Because then you’ll be speaking to ONE person, not a group. When you do this, your copy will resonate with the reader because it won’t have bland, generic language.
I had an interesting conversation with a well-known copywriter who has made boatloads of money for clients such as the Readers Digest, National Review, and Newsweek.
He said that using “I” in your copy (in this case, a sales letter), is acceptable because it makes the letter sound like a real letter. I asked if there was any ratio of using more “you’s” in a letter than “I’s.” (I was having a friendly debate with my father. He received one of my business emails and said I had too many “I’s” in the message.) He added:
One of the advantages of direct mail is that it’s a very personal advertising medium. And what makes it so personal is the feeling that you are in the presence of the writer. You can hear his voice talking to you, just like you can hear your Mom’s voice when she sends you a letter.
In order to establish this feeling, one must be unafraid to use the first-person pronoun. Look at John Caples’s very own “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano.” It’s not “They Laughed When You Sat Down at the Piano.” Gary Halbert almost always wrote in a strong first-person voice. And on and on. Now it is true that the FOCUS is always on the reader, the reader’s interests, the reader’s concerns, the reader’s hopes and desires. But direct mail is a me-to-you advertising medium, and if you leave out the “me,” you’re only getting half the impact.
So remember that in the midst of sharing your business’ features and benefits to the world, you’re speaking to one person at a time. You don’t typically use high-brow language with a friend. Instead, you use language that can easily be understood.
Do the same with your copywriting but don’t be afraid to use “I” on occasion. People want to know about you, but in relation to their problem. Make your story, their story, and you’ll soon have raving fans who will not only love what you have to offer, but will share it with others.