The Pronouns of Online Marketing

Content written by David Leonhardt, THGM Writing Services,
Video Created by Julie Weishaar, Internet & Video Marketing Specialist,
Pronouns get confusing these days. I have two teenage daughters, and I hear what young people are calling themselves. Girls want to be called “he”. Boys want to be called “she”. Many want to be called “they”. There are homosexuals and heterosexuals, trans-sexuals and pan-sexuals. There are multisexuals and asexuals and multidimensionals and extraterrestrials and who knows what else. Even they can’t keep up. Pronouns are easier in marketing. You have three basic choices: first person… second person… third person…These are called “points of view”, or POV in the literary world. Which one you choose for your website depends largely on what type of writing you are doing. The three types of writing for the Web are: sales copy, storytelling, and task-oriented Write sales copy and task-oriented text in the second person, as much as possible. Use the pronoun “you”. Occasionally, you’ll want to use the first person, which is “I” or “we”. Storytelling is a little more complicated. You would usually use the third person, which is “he” or “she” or “they”. Sales Copy: Selling is all about meeting the needs of the customers. Sales copy is about the customer’s problems and pains. It’s about the solutions to their problems and pains. Write TO the customer. It’s all about the “you” so don’t use “I” or “we”. Task-oriented text: Sometimes people come to your website for something that does not involve buying. For instance, they might want to learn how to do something, to find out who you are, to understand your industry, to contact you, or to apply for a job. Whether informational or transactional, the visitor has guess who in mind? That’s right – themselves. The more you can keep focused on the reader and the reader’s needs, the more the reader will stay interested in your content. Storytelling: Unless you know your visitors better than they know themselves, you are unlikely to tell a story about “you”. Most stories are about a third person, or several third persons. Make sure that the readers see themselves in the story you write. Understanding the different between first, second and third person is important to connect to your users. Understanding when and how to use each is critical to your website’s success.