You want to write in a way that speaks to your reader. Put another way, you want to make sure your marketing (e.g., email marketing, outreach emails, website language), uses “you” focused language, not “I” focused language.
You want to focus on the recipient, not just talk about yourself and your business. This rule applies no matter if you’re promoting your services as a consultant, pitching a guest article or interview, or promoting yourself. Make it about the reader, not about yourself.
Let’s take a look at an example of the above-the-fold homepage messaging on a Shopify Partner’s website. We’ll:
- Walk through the messaging
- Look at how they are and aren’t using ‘you’ focused language
- Identify specific changes they could make to improve their homepage
The website — Propeller
This is Propeller (https://www.propeller.co.uk/), a popular Shopify development agency. They have a really nice website, but it unfortunately has an almost entirely “I” focus.
Here’s the website as of December 2022 — just the above the fold, the first pieces the visitor sees.
Now, here’s the homepage again with everything with a ‘I’ focus highlighted in red:
Lots of red!
This website spends a lot of time talking about itself. Which is a shame, because it’s oh-so close to having a good ‘you’ focus.
Let’s take at four ‘I’ focused pieces of copy and see how with just a little work, they can flip around to a ‘you’ focus:
Example #1 – Main text
We are Shopify Plus Partners and WordPress experts creating seamless and stunning digital experiences.
Add a little 🪄:
As Shopify Plus Partners and WordPress experts, we can help you create seamless and stunning digital experiences.
Not bad. It still has a bit of a ‘I’ focus, but now we’re at least mentioning the reader (’we can help you’).
What if we drop that ‘Shopify Plus Partners and WordPress experts’ bit? Platform specialization can be highlighted elsewhere on the page (or in case studies/work samples).
Trust us to create seamless and stunning digital experiences for your brand.
Example #2 – Button text
Our Web Design Work
This is a small bit of micro-text on the button. What if we have it say:
Meet Our Clients
That isn’t a pure you-focus. It’s still talking about them. But the focus isn’t “Our Work” it’s “Our Clients,” which might not be a ‘you’ focus, but sure isn’t an ‘i’ focus. And it’s a nifty way to highlight that this button leads to client work examples/social proof/more information.
Example #3 – Section headline
An integrated marketing agency for premium brands specialising in eCommerce, hospitality, food & drinks, and lifestyle brands.
That’s a mouth-full.
Zooming out, what’s the purpose of that sentence? I think it’s to highlight their specializations.
An integrated marketing agency for premium brands specialising in eCommerce, hospitality, food & drinks and lifestyle brands.
I don’t think there’s any value in re-stating that they’re an integrated marketing agency. However, there is value in highlighting that they specialize in a few specific industries.
Let’s add a little more 🪄:
As a premium brand in the eCommerce, hospitality, food & drink, and lifestyle industries, you can trust us to help you create seamless and stunning digital experiences.
Example #4 – Micro Headline
Websites + Ecommerce
This just talks about their experience and specialization.
Maybe we could use this space to mention their platform specialization?
Shopify Plus and WordPress Websites + Ecommerce
That gets some more keywords on there, but it doesn’t make the sentence ‘you’ focused
How about we reenforce their ‘premium brands’ positioning?
Websites + Ecommerce for Premium Brands
Now instead of talking about what they do (websites + ecommerce) it’s talking about what they do and who they do it for (premium brands).
Looking at it all together
Let’s add those pieces of copy to the homepage and see how they look altogether:
That’s not perfect, but it’s an improvement. And honestly, that’s what you’re going for most of the time when you’re working on your messaging. Improvement, not perfection.
Would you like actionable feedback and “do this, not that” suggestions on your website’s messaging, SEO, and user experience? With a Website Teardown (https://kaidavis.com/services/teardown/), you’ll get an hour of long-form video feedback and actionable advice on how to make your website a better salesperson.