It's not all about you

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Recently, one of those local trades directory landed on the doormat. You know the sort of thing, an A5-sized booklet with a glossy cover filled with pages of ads for various local small businesses.

From accountants to wood-burning stove retailers, the directory featured a diverse mix of businesses. And yet, as I flicked through, it was clear that each ad followed much the same format. Nearly all of them simply listed the services they offered or a list of features for the products they sold. And virtually all had the company name as the heading.

And so no one business stood out. There was nothing to make you go 'wow' and grab your attention. And, perhaps most crucially of all, nothing to say how you could benefit from their product or service. Each ad simply focused on the business itself. Not the reader.

A mistake easily made
This, unfortunately, is one of the most common mistakes a small business makes when promoting their service or product. You see it on their websites, in leaflets and brochures, in fact in pretty much every piece of marketing material they produce. They talk about themselves.

Of course, it's only natural that you're as proud as punch in what you do; the products you sell, or the service you offer. But all your potential customer is really interested in is how is it going to benefit them? Why is what you offer the best around? Will it save them time? Save money?

Turn readers into customers
People buy on emotion. A reason to buy. Not because of the name of your business. Or how long you've been trading. Which is why you should always make the reader - your potential customer - the focus of your message. Engage with them. Tempt them. Write so that they feel compelled to buy your product or use your service. You want them to say, 'yes!' Not, 'so what'.

Think of what you're writing as a direct conversation with them. Connect each reader with your product or service, create an emotive response. Write using 'you' not 'I' or 'we'. The more you write from their perspective, the more effective you will be in turning them from a reader into a customer.

So, the next time you're writing some marketing copy, forget talking about you. It's the reader who counts. Your next customer.

But, if after all the above, you can't be asked to write the copy yourself, then ask me instead. Whether for your website, a brochure perhaps or even an ad for a local directory. Whatever you need, I'll find just the right words to engage your customers. So you can then reap the benefits those carefully crafted words will bring to your business. And, perhaps just as importantly, save you the time and hassle of writing your own words. Because, just occasionally, it can be about you!

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