Invitations vs. Explanations
Use second-person pronouns
Wherever there’s a first-person pronoun on your website (“I,” “We” and “Our”), see if you can re-phrase it to include second-person pronouns (such as “You” and “Your”).
For instance, say you have an educational nonprofit that fights children’s illiteracy and hunger. Instead of saying, “We help children to overcome poverty-related illiteracy and malnutrition,” you could say, “Your contributions empower children to overcome poverty-related illiteracy and malnutrition.”
Now the story isn’t about you. It’s about your donors. It’s empowering. You’ve invited them into a story.
Replace statements with questions
Re-phrase the marketing copy in your ads, website and other collateral from statements into questions.
Whether you’re networking remotely or at an industry event, you’re in the company of smart, and accomplished people.
They have plenty of information and perspective. But you really don’t want to be “just another smart businessperson in an undifferentiated sea of smart people floating products and ideas.”
An effective, easy way to differentiate yourself is to invite people into a conversation with a question. An informational flier that says, “The ROI of different home energy upgrades” will only interest people who are actively seeking an offering like yours. By contrast, a flier that says, “How do home energy upgrades pan out financially?” forces people to ask themselves, “Should I get a home energy audit?”
That’s solid, strategic messaging.
Establish common ground by answering two big questions
If you can answer two questions in your marketing copy, you’ve got 50 percent of your branding figured out:
- What inspires us that also inspires our customers?
- What pisses us off that also pisses off our customers?
To demonstrate this, I made up an imaginary equity crowdfunding firm called Buoyancy Crowdfunding:
“At Buoyancy, we go to work every morning driven by two beliefs. First, visionary entrepreneurs can solve seemingly unsolvable problems. Second, investing in startups shouldn’t be the unique playing field of the ultra-rich.”
Engage, don’t explain.
Ronald Reagan famously said, “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”
This article isn’t a political commentary, but good advice is good advice. Like him or not, President Reagan was an effective and persuasive communicator.
If you invite people into a conversation, they’ll ask for your insights. Neither you nor they will feel like you’re bludgeoning them with information.
I help busy, purpose-driven entrepreneurs elevate their marketing so they can successfully grow their businesses.
Posted on: June 9, 2020