Little words matter a lot online

No doubt you want to get close to your customers. Everything you have ever been taught about sales and marketing has told you that creating a relationship is really important. Indeed, you may even have “Customer Relationship Management” systems in place to help you ensure you maintain good relations. But the conundrum facing many website owners is just how do you create a relationship between your website and your visitors, when you have no idea who those visitors are?

WE plus YOU

Advice on doing this is available by the bucket-load of course. You can find a seemingly endless amount of advice on how to create online relationships with people you don’t know and will never meet again. Some kind of relationship that is…!

One common factor appears to be the use of the word “we”. Apparently it gives brands a bit of personality, so say the experts. It is also apparently warm and friendly and much more inviting than simply stating the company name, say the experts. But new research suggests these experts might not be as expert as they seem…!

The research from the University of Chicago suggests that brand who use the word “we” actually push themselves away from many customers and potential customers.

The issue is this – the word “we” implies that you and I are involved together in some way, when “we” are not.  If a website suggests that then visitors rebel – unless they are already customers and involved with your business in some way.

What the study shows – once again – is that the word “you” is incredibly powerful.  Using the word “you” instead of “we” increases the likelihood of the very relationship you may be looking for between your brand and your customers.

So check your website. How many times does the word “we” appear compared with the word “you”? If the word “we” is frequent, the chances are you are turning off your website visitors.

You can check whether your website is too “we-focused” by using the “we-we monitor“.


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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones


Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
YouTube is not as clever as we think. It is biased and poor at determining what you should watch. "How YouTube’s Al… - 19 hours ago
Graham Jones
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