Hey, “You”—Focus on Customer Needs and Wants

Which statement intrigues you more?

  1. I’m a copywriter, and I write great About pages.
  2. When your About page is crafted carefully, you’ll attract your ideal customer.

Probably the second one. I’m talking to you, and about what I can do for you.

Is your website engaged in a conversation, or giving a lecture?

Puppy getting tummy scritch with headline text

Focus on Customer Needs and Wants

You do or offer something wonderful. We have no doubt of that here.

But if your website copy goes on and on about what your business does and sells—well, friend, you start to sound a little self-centered. Let your customer know you’re thinking of them, too.

Focus on customer needs in your language and in your content.

Here’s how.

(Don’t forget your distinction between benefits vs. features, as we’ve discussed before.)

Use “You”

It’s best practice to use the second person in sales and web copy.

In case you forgot that day in grammar class (and who could blame you?), second person means addressing the reader as “you.”

First person: I am a wonderful copywriter, and all who fail to hire me gnash their teeth in despair!

Second person: You would be so smart to hire me as a copywriter!

Third person: People who doesn’t hire copywriters may incur high dentist bills from gnashing their teeth so much.

Of course, you can use “we” and “I” and “our” when it makes sense. Just keep an eye out to make sure your focus—and your pronouns—don’t stray from the customer too much.

Cute puppy with title overlay

Imperative Language Counts

Let’s look at a big example: Netflix.

We all know what Netflix is, right? They don’t have to explain much on their home page.

“See what’s next. Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime. Join free for a month.”

That’s not a ton of copy. It’s a tagline, a couple of counter-arguments against why you wouldn’t push the button, and the offer.

And it’s all imperative language, which… oh no. Watch out. I’m going to do another grammar thing.

“You” is in all of these sentences. The second person is implied.

Do you remember diagramming sentences? Maybe in Spanish class, if not in English?

Bear with me.

When you’re making a command, grammatically, there’s an invisible “you” acting as the subject of the sentence.

[You] see what’s next.

[You] watch anytime.

It’s language that speaks directly to the reader, and it can make a big impact in a few short lines.

Shine a Light on Your Best Customers

We’ve talked about focusing on the customer using language, so let’s think about focusing on them with your choice of content.

When you tell your brand story, do you talk about the successes for your clients? Do you explain how your service or product has helped your previous customers?

Leads and prospects relate more to your clients, who’ve ostensibly been in their shoes at some point. They needed what you had to offer, and had a positive result.

Boom. Just the kind of content you need.

Testimonials, reviews, and case studies provide “social proof” that you’re real and legitimate.

Don’t just tell. Listen.

Part of writing website copy is staying open to changing it. Listening to your customers, asking for feedback, and adjusting your products accordingly will go a long way toward success.

Networking isn’t just for leads
Networking isn’t just about handing out business cards and getting hot leads. It’s also about learning what kind of questions the public has about you and what you do. Networking events are also opportunities to try out new messaging, especially if you can get an opportunity to talk to big group for a few seconds. Try out your new elevator pitch to see how many smiles and head nods you can get.

Ask questions on social media
You need to post something anyway. Be strategic about what kinds of questions you ask, and you might get a seed to some content strategy.

Do A/B testing
You don’t have the time to A/B test your entire freaking website, so try with the high-impact items like your call to action or email newsletter signup copy. (I just started an A/B test on mine, as part of research on how to get more people to sign up for your newsletter. Oh, hello! If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletter!)

Do more A/B testing
Just one isn’t enough! Since you’re ideally just testing one variable in each test, it’ll take a lot of testing to get to your perfect copy.

Just when you have it all dialed in, your clients or the environment might change. Test, test again.

I’m listening! What do you think? hello@kelleygardiner.com

Dog with sunglasses, link to email newsletter

Features and Benefits: Lead with Benefits

What’s the difference between features and benefits, and why does that matter for your website copy?

Well, your business is awesome! You have an exciting product or service, and you want the world to know about it. When you focus your sales copy on the benefits of your goods, it’ll help keep your leads interested, and put them in the mindset to buy.

As the old adage says, “features tell, benefits sell.” Let’s sell.


Features are cool things about your product or service.

Let’s say you sell cat shampoo. Features of your cat shampoo might be a seven different cat-friendly scents, organic ingredients, rinses clean, free shipping, or frustration-free packaging.

These are details about your product that your customer does want to know. They belong in your website somewhere.

But do they sell?

Sure, if your client is looking for something very specific and they already like you and your business. But most of the time, your goal is to hook the prospect to try to keep them interested and on your site. As we discussed before—people do not read. They’re not going to hang around more than a few seconds to figure out if they want what you’re selling.


Now, let’st think about how those features benefit your customer.

Got cat scratch fever? Stop the struggle at bath time, thanks to our clean-rinsing formula.

The clean-rinsing formula is still there, but now you’re reminding people how that benefits them. It saves them from holding down an angry cat longer than they have to.

For example…

To make this a little more clear, I talked to a couple of women who own beauty businesses here in Portland, Oregon. They were kind enough to help me illustrate this a more specifically, using their beautiful examples.

Best Year Ever—Caity Hubert

Caity Hubert is running a program to help self-employed hair stylists make more money. (Love it!) It’s called Best Year Ever.

Features of the program:
  • Lifetime access to a membership site including video lessons and PDF workbooks
  • Access to a FB group exclusive to paid members of the group
  • Monthly livestream trainings that build upon the course content
  • Weekly “office hours” that provide coaching and mentorship
  • Budgeting, pricing, and expense trackers and calculators

That all sounds good. My soul is not stirred yet, but this is good to know.

Five benefits of the program:
  • Clarity in marketing and branding strategies
  • Increase confidence from the support and encouragement from other group participants
  • Knowledge to help build clientele quickly
  • Increase in retail sales, service sales, and tips
  • Higher and more consistent take-home pay

That’s the soul-stirring stuff! Would I like to make more money, and consistent money, as a self-employed person? Yes, please.

Caity didn’t point this one out, but one feature immediately leapt out to me when I checked out the website.

“You can wear your PJs, drink wine in ‘class,’ or learn on the go.”

Feature: Online class.

Benefit: Drink wine while taking said class.

See what I mean?


Sandra Kafka Beauty

Sandra Kafka is a makeup artist and hair stylist at Sandra Kafka Beauty.

Feature: Professional makeup application for headshots
Benefit: Look more polished

Feature: Professional wedding makeup application
Benefit: No stress day of wedding, looking & feeling your best for photos that last a lifetime

Feature: Licensed professional makeup artist
Benefit: Up-to-date licensing on sanitation & insurance means no chance of infections

Feature: Only professional grade makeup
Benefit: Makeup that lasts all day and through the night

Feature: Personal makeup shopping
Benefit: An expert to help pick the best products for you without the pressure to buy

I love that last one. I think I need her to hold my hand and take me to Ulta.

Baby bulldog with text overlay

That’s why we lead with benefits. Your clients do want to know the details of your offer, but you have to hook them first.

Thanks to the fantastic Caity and Sandra for taking the time!

Need help parsing features vs. benefits? Let’s work through that in a consultation.
Kelley Gardiner head shot

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