A client emailed me a question I was asking myself about my own website/marketing:
“Should I use ‘I’ or ‘we’ when I write content for an email newsletter, Facebook page, etc.?”
It’s one I’ve had to ask myself again after two years of having a definite answer. Here’s how I made my decision, and how you can make yours:
Do you do everything yourself? In my case, no. To pretend I can market my business, run my business, do classes and seminars, and serve roughly 40-50 clients a month is ridiculous and completely inaccurate. I don’t want a client to get the impression that I am the only one who is ever going to do the work, because that is false.
Are you relying on others for some of the skills you are marketing? An example: one of the things the company offers is database manipulation. I can’t do it but it is something that periodically needs to happen on a project. Instead, I work with Ashley, who is a database expert. Since I don’t have this skill, when I refer to it being done for a client, I always refer to Ashley doing the work because 1) it is accurate and 2) I don’t feel like a slimeball taking credit for someone else’s work.
Aside: I am probably over sensitive about the giving credit thing. One time in a meeting, an old boss took credit for an idea that I had and got a lot of praise from upper management. In that awkward and infuriating moment, I decided I would never do that to someone else.
Will your clients/customers be talking with other people related to your company’s work? So Alice did some site maintenance and occasionally, had a follow-up question for a client. Now if I was pretending she wasn’t there, I’d have to email the client her question and forward her the email response from them. Can you say ‘bottleneck’?
Instead Alice emailed the client directly, which is quicker and easier. Since clients talk to other people in this company, I really ought to knowledge their existence.
So depending on your answers to the questions above, you’ll see if you’re a ‘we’ or an ‘I’. In my business’ case, even though I’m technically a one full time employee show, Breaking Even works with others to do good work. Breaking Even is a we.
Now I want to take a moment here to say there is nothing wrong with being an ‘I’. Some people really like working with the owner/work-doer directly as I learned the first couple years when this company was very much an ‘I’. But pretending you have a team of people when you don’t is as disingenuous as me pretending I do everything all the time at Breaking Even.
My point: Embrace who you are and market accordingly. Whether you are an ‘I’ or a ‘we’, if good work is happening people will take notice.
Note: I vet any new subcontractors/potential employees with work for Breaking Even before ever putting them on a client project. That way if they screw up, it’s my site/project, not yours.