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Is it “I” or “We” for a One Person Business? by Beth Cole

Sep 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Web Marketing

fourwomenMany of us operate one person coaching companies. One question that comes up all the time when coaching clients on web content is “should I say ‘I’ or ‘We’ when I talk about my company?”

What is your opinion about this?

I think it should almost always be “we,” here’s why.

Even if you operate a one-person business, you undoubtedly have an accountant, a spouse, or a friend whom you consider part of your team and whom you wouldn’t want to be without.

So when you say “we,” you’re not really fibbing, you’re talking about the collective that makes up your business team.

If you choose the “I” route, it may sound appealing to your prospect due to the intimacy and promise of all that attention from you. But it also may come off as self-centered and that’s not good. We want to be customer-centered, right? “‘I” is personal and informal and may not be appropriate in a lot of business and marketing writing. But businesses of all sizes often use “we” to personalize their services. For example, “Read more about what we offer here.”

A related concept is that of point of view of your writing. Here’s a quick reminder of your options.

  • First person is the “I” and “we” we have been speaking of where “we” refers your company.
  • Second person speaks directly to the reader using “you” language. This is becoming more and more popular in marketing material and gives your content a customer focus.
  • Third person uses “they”, “he”, “she”, or “it”. It reminds us of reports, policies & procedures, and other scholarly material.

According to Mary Morel of The M Factor,

“There is an increasing trend, particularly in marketing writing, to use the second person extensively. It is powerful. ‘You’ language helps creates the sense that the writer is talking directly to you so you feel engaged and involved. It’s also a useful technique to help you, the writer, concentrate on what the reader wants to know rather than what you want to say. When people write in the second person their language is often more active and direct.”

If you want to test the “I”, “we” or “you” density of your writing, check out this quick Customer Focus Calculator called the WeWe Index from Future Now, Inc.

What do you think?

Beth Cole is the owner of the WebServant and the author of the Essential Web Marketing book and blog which offer tips and tricks for marketing yourself online. Beth is trained as a coach and has twenty-five years experience as a small business owner, speaker, consultant and trainer.

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