I, Me, You, We, They, She, He, Everybody: Are you using the RIGHT pronouns in your marketing?

Businesses produce and publish marketing content and one of the ways that they can make their content more effective is by carefully thinking about what pronouns to use.

Without giving you a boring grammar lecture, pronouns are the words we use to indicate that we’re talking to someone or about someone. I, me, my, you, they, his, her, etc., etc., etc. Those are pronouns. (There are WAY more pronouns and if you really care to learn more about them, you can click over to Wikipedia’s entry on pronouns. I’ve only covered a few of the pronouns used most frequently in marketing).

If you are developing marketing content for your business, you do need to think about which pronoun to use, and you need to make sure you use the right ones at the right time.
The right pronoun can make all the difference in your marketing. Here are the common ways pronouns are used in marketing:

I, Me, My: Used in two different ways:

  • When speaking as the owner. Example: “I’m not just the president, I’m also a customer”.
  • When as a surrogate of the audience (i.e. someone who your audience can relate to). Example: “As a mom, I know how tough it can be to find a meal that my family will enjoy…”

You: This has three purposes:

  • When you want to be adversarial. Example: “Think you know how delicious bacon is? Think again!”
  • When you want to specifically address your audience. “This phone is all about meeting your needs.”
  • When you want to highlight your audience and make them think about themselves: “It’s all about you!”

They: this is a great way to align yourself with your reader by separating you and them from someone else. Example: “They want to charge $100 for this product…”

We, Our: This helps to generate alignment between you and a buyer. Example: “We can be more successful when…”

She, He, Her, Him: For products that are gender-specific, this is a great way to point to someone who either should be emulated or shouldn’t be emulated. Example: “He’s talking to his doctor about…”

Everybody, Everyone: This one is pretty general and should be used cautiously, and only if you are sure that your audience feels the same way you do about the rest of the populace. Example: “Everyone is switching to a lower-cost provider!”

And, of course you can mix and match as necessary:

  • “I know how you feel.”
  • “It’s you against everybody else”.
  • “We’ve found the solution they don’t want you to hear!”

In general, I would recommend that you take a look at the pronouns you currently use in your marketing and make sure you are using pronouns consistently. It’s okay to use a mix of pronouns, but it’s critical that you maintain consistency throughout all of your marketing: If you sometimes refer to your sales funnel contacts as “you” and sometimes you refer to them as “us” and sometimes you refer to them as “them”, you end up blurring your point.

This isn’t just a problem moving from one stage in your sales funnel to another. I’ve also seen it as a problem in websites and ebooks as well – the site creator or the ebook writer switches from one pronoun to another when talking about the same group of people.

So, figure out what your main message is and how you want to communicate it. Does it require an adversarial approach? Do you want to make your audience think about themselves? Do you want to separate yourself from “the other guys”? Then, craft your marketing with the most effective pronouns.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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