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  • #984345
    NicoleM7
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    Hi all,

    I’m starting up a marketing/social media consulting business, aimed at small business. Essentially it’s just me though have registered a business name and will outsource to other services like graphic designers, copywriters and web designers as required.

    What is the protocol for using ‘I’ (as in ‘I’ offer marketing services) or ‘we’ (‘we’ offer marketing services) in copy. I notice a lot of VA and marketing small business use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. Not sure if there’s a protocol around this? Also from a tax point of view and personal services tax, could there be implications for using ‘we’?

    Many thanks,
    Nicole

    #1147192
    Sydney Business
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    What about using (the name of your business) offers marketing services and not bothering about “I” or “we”, it also puts you business name into the readers mind.

    #1147193
    The Copy Chick
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    It’s really more of a personal preference, but I’ve never been a big fan of businesses using ‘we’ when it’s just the one person. I know some people do it so they seem bigger than they really are, but I think we’ve moved on as a society and are more ready to accept that solo operators can deliver services/products just as well as any other business operator.

    When I wrote the copy for my existing site, I tended to use my business name and avoid the ‘we/I’ thing as much as I could, but on my new site (almost ready to launch), I’ve opted to speak in the first person because I think it builds a stronger connection.

    Whatever you decide to do, consistency is the key.

    #1147194
    Divert To Mobile
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    Hi Nicole,

    There is no tax implication to saying I or We on your site.

    The use of I or we is a really good question. There is no official protocol but it will greatly be affected by how you see your business and your marketing plan.

    If your marketing strategy is to promote the personal service offered by a microbusiness then its I all the way.

    I’ve had several discussions with people about them wanting to not look like the business owner and simply as an employee in their own business.

    Think about how you want your copy to read from the readers perspective and always remember its not set in stone. Great thing about the web is that it doesnt take much to modify a page.

    Best of luck,

    Steve

    #1147195
    bluepenguin
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    Just to make it harder for you to decide…there’s also the option of writing in the 3rd person as if it were written by someone else.

    i.e. “Jane Citizen is Australia’s most successful social media strategist. She has won numerous awards…”

    That way, you can boast about yourself without seeming full of yourself – rather, it gives the impression that someone else is over the moon with you.

    Whatever you do, the main purpose of the text should be to engage potential clients, give them a snapshot of what you’re about, and entice them to contact you. The beauty of a website is that you can change it whenever you want, so you may end up trialling a few approaches until you find what works best.

    IMHO, if you use “we”, and then they call you and find out you’re only “me”, that’s far better than them never, ever contacting you.

    #1147196
    The Copy Chick
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    bluepenguin, post: 168781 wrote:
    Just to make it harder for you to decide…there’s also the option of writing in the 3rd person as if it were written by someone else.

    i.e. “Jane Citizen is Australia’s most successful social media strategist. She has won numerous awards…”

    That way, you can boast about yourself without seeming full of yourself – rather, it gives the impression that someone else is over the moon with you.

    For solo operators, I actually think that comes of as quite fake and pretentious. After all, have people been so impressed with you that they’ve written a site dedicated to your awesomeness?!! ;)

    I’d rather see people who are proud to share their achievements and take ownership of them. That doesn’t mean you need to be an obnoxious braggart… but there’s nothing wrong with sharing your successes.

    Still, it’s a valid approach and this is just my 2c. I’d be interested in what other people think about it.

    (For the record I think this approach is fine for larger businesses with multiple employees when talking about the company or the key players. It’s just solopreneurs using this tact I find a bit weird.)

    #1147197
    Anonymous
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    Hi – I’ve just started a new online site too….I thought about the same question.
    I went for “I” or my business name ( ie made for you by “……….”)- just decided thats what I felt more comfortable with. At the end of the day I think that would be my advise – whatever you feel most comfortable with. Good luck!

    #1147198
    digitalclass
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    Sometimes it works best to keep it neutral and exclude the “I”s and “we”s. It is not difficult to do this if you think about how to frame the words. Then it appears professional, but you are also not appearing as a one man band, deceiving your audience by using language like a team or sounding strange in third person. As previously mentioned, using the business name helps, but don’t keep repeating the business name, instead just write in a neutral context. That is exactly how I have phrased the words on my website.

    Regards,
    Michael

    #1147199
    bees
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    I agree that the use of third person comes off sounding really false. Most people understand that the business owner has had input into the text on the site (if not written it themselves) and it isn’t convincing.

    It’s such a personal choice, but I use ‘we’ on my business sites. Even when it was just me, I used ‘we’. My reasoning was that I wanted to create a business that wasn’t all about ‘me’. It’s a service industry, and if it was all about ‘me’ then it would be difficult for me to get clients to utilise the services of staff down the track.

    I also couldn’t possibly run my business alone. There’s my accountants, bookkeepers, suppliers, designers, web developers…..while not technically part of my business, they are important cogs in the wheel that make it tick over. ‘We’ gives more of a team spirit feel to it. Just mho :)

    #1147200
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Such as interesting topic this one :)

    I generally favour ‘I’ if it’s a purely solo business, but if the intention is to grow into a team over time then setting the ‘we’ positioning from the start can make sense.

    It’s from a few years ago, but this article from Yaro Starak on this topic is a brilliant take on it all – Solo business brand positioning – it’s “I” not “we”.

    It’s a very personal thing so no real right or wrong.

    Hope that helps :)

    #1147201
    Divert To Mobile
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    I don’t necessarily believe the use of we is always dishonest. In many circumstances a solo or micro business calls upon the experience, guidance and suggestions from peers and support channels. Even though the final decision on all business matters is owners that person cannot take absolute and outright credit for every idea, decision and direction that business takes.

    In many small and micro businesses some activities are carried out by external contractors. If there are more stakeholders than the owner contributing to the overall performance of the business isn’t the use of we acceptable?

    On another note, in some industries the consumer gains more security buy knowing there are additional resources behind the owner. Not relying completely upon a single individual. I believe for some businesses succession planning is an integral part of delivering a responsible service. When your clients rely on your product or service what happens to them if you get sick, injured or even die? Even if you run most things on your own but there is a plan in place for operations to keep going, or if you call upon external resources to get the job done then “we” may be a more accurate statement than “I”.

    Steve

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