Can you over-use "you" in your marketing materials?

You may be surprised by my suggestion that you can overuse “you” in your written communications. I’ve said many times that investment and wealth managers speak too much about “we,” the firm, and too little about “you,” the client or prospect.

Writing reader-focused text is important. However, dropping “you” and “your” multiple times in every sentence is overkill.

Here are some usage suggestions that emerged from my conversation with designer Margaret Patterson, author of the popular pitch book posts on this blog.

  • Don’t use “you” when it isn’t clear who “you” is. Make it clear whether “you” refers to the client, financial advisor, consultant, or some other individual or group.
  • Don’t use “you” prematurely. Writing “We help you reach your financial goals” isn’t appropriate when you’re addressing a prospect who may never become a client. “We can help you reach your financial goals” would be okay. Better yet, “We help clients reach their financial goals.”
  • Simply using “you” won’t convince your clients that you care about them. You must back up your words with actions.
  • Don’t write “you” in fancy fonts that are hard to read. If used too much in any font, “you” makes a document tedious.

Susan B. Weiner, CFA
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Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved