Effective Marketing: It’s Not About YOU

by Michelle Salater on March 15, 2010

One of the most frustrating things about being professional copywriters is coming across websites, brochures, and other effective marketing materials where companies continuously want to talk about themselves, not their prospects and clients.

You’ve seen it many times—companies whose marketing materials are self-centered:

  • We’ve been in business for 50 years and for three generations.
  • We’ve received the Chamber of Commerce Good Guy Award for 17 years in a row.
  • Our salesmen were trained by the best in our field.
  • We blah blah . . . our blah blah . . . blah blah us.

Let’s be clear here—nobody cares.

You read that right. No one cares about your business—past what you can do for him or her. I don’t know how to make that any plainer or simpler.

Prospects want to know what benefits they will receive from working with you. You need to tell them how your service or product relieves their pain or solves their problem—not in terms of you, you, you, but them, them, them. They don’t want to know why your services have won awards, because most of the time, they don’t mean much to anyone outside of your industry.

When business owners hear this advice, they’re dumbfounded. It’s a big shift in their thinking, and they’re not sure how to market themselves without the “we” word.

Companies need their marketing copy to be client-centric, not only in their marketing materials but also in how they conduct business. Companies that put the client first and foremost throughout the sales process and beyond are wildly successful. Those that do not focus on the client will fail. That’s just how it is.

This is good news for you because, once you make that critical shift in your thinking, business will flock to you. Your competitors will wonder what hit them and why you’re suddenly on top.

Below is an example of effective marketing collateral that epitomizes client-centered marketing. Drexel Hill Painting is a high-end painting company in Charleston, South Carolina, who sent out a postcard to prospects in the area. The marketing copy from the back of the postcard is below. Read this, and look for the words us, we, or our.

It’s there, but it’s at the bottom of the card. The focus of the card is what clients receive when they work with Drexel Hill Painting. Notice how the message centers on clients—it’s all about them.

Would you hire this company? I would. Just from reading this postcard, I’m confident they’re going to come to my house on time, use quality materials, and do the job properly without leaving a big mess or showing up intoxicated.

The few sentences on this postcard work to reassure prospects that Drexel Hill Painting is an honest, professional business that values its clients.

And that’s a message all of us want to be sending to our prospects.

If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. Creative Marketing: Let Your Pet Market for You
  2. Are You Marketing To Yourself Or To Your Target Market?
  3. Are You Leaving Out This Key Component in Your Marketing Message
  4. Does Your Marketing Copy Create a Compelling Story?
  5. Google Wonder Wheel: Enhance Web Copy and Online Marketing Materials
  • Thanks Adam! We look forward to helping you clarify your brand message on your web copy / blog and project it accurately.

    And we hope you can help us in the future with our videos!
  • Adam Lapsevich
    This is SO true! Great article Michelle. Now you can help me make mine better!
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