This One's for YOU
Here's a writing tip you can use instantly. It's easy and it's guaranteed to make whatever you write—email, direct mail, Web content—more engaging and reader-friendly. (Hint: I've already applied this tip three times to what you just read.)
Here you go! Use the word "you" (and "your") in whatever you write. "You" is almost hypnotic. It's personal. It's conversational. It's a word that can change everything.
Why? Because it makes an immediate connection with the person (aka scanner) you're trying to lure into becoming your reader. And ultimately, your responder.
Now, despite recent research from HubSpot and Outbrain, I stand by the use of "you" (and "your") in copywriting, but remember, you need to know your audience and be willing to test, test, test!
But for now, let's look at the contents of my email inbox from a recent morning to prove my point:
From: Your zulily
Subject line: Must-see Deals! Gymboree, Silver Jeans Co., Mi.iM, Donco Kids, Monster High Collection and more
From: Peruvian Connection
Subject line: Picked just for you
From: TheLadders Inc
Subject line: New jobs for you.
Subject line: Can't resist your dog's sweet face? Enter our Sweepstakes for a chance to win.
These from and subject lines caught my eye because they imply the corresponding emails are personalized to my needs, wants and/or past buying behavior. In other words, it just might be worth my time to click and take a quick look.
Early in my career when I was writing direct mail and catalog copy for Fingerhut, I learned "you" should outnumber "I", "we" or the company name 2:1 in letter copy. Why? Because it made the letter more reader-focused. And the sooner "you" appears in a letter (or email), the better. In fact, it's a good idea to get it in the first sentence whenever possible. Making this happen is usually an easy edit.