Aye, Aye, Aye – Don’t Begin with “I”!

One of the simplest and most important rules to effective marketing is one that is broken most frequently by advocates who don’t really understand a few marketing basics. Yet, it’s among the simplest to understand once it’s explained. Further, it’s quite easy to fix.

Good, effective marketing is always about seeing the world through the eyes of our target audiences. What we tell them should be focused on THEM and THEIR needs, framed as the benefits to working with us. Then, once we’ve captured their attention, we can tell them how we are able to satisfy those needs.

So many advocates don’t understand that. Instead, they lead their marketing with “I” statements. “I perform this service.” “I have XX years experience.” “I can help you.” I – I – I – aye – aye!

A better approach is to remember that potential clients are dealing with very difficult emotions when they come looking for us. So instead of talking about ourselves, acknowledge those feelings. After all, their lives are threatened! Their financial security may be threatened!

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Dont lead with I statements in your marketing

I call those feelings FUDGE = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Guilt, and Exhaustion.

So how can we alleviate their FUDGE so they will see that we can help them, and then hire us? Let’s remove those “I” statements, and instead capture their attention by acknowledging their feelings.

Check out these two statements:

  • Advocate 1: I provide care coordination services.
  • Advocate 2: Do you feel like your doctors aren’t listening to you, aren’t answering your questions, don’t understand your symptoms or situation, or aren’t talking to each other? Let me coordinate your care to be sure you’re getting what you need and deserve.

Which one of those statements is focused on the advocate? And which one is focused on a potential client’s point of view? If you were thinking of hiring an advocate or care manager, which one would appeal more to you? Which one addresses your needs? Which one alleviates your FUDGE?

Of course, the second statement is the one a fearful, uncertain, exhausted, needy patient will respond to. They instantly understand that you “get” where they are coming from.

Let’s try another set:

  • Advocate 1: I have twenty years experience working with cancer patients.
  • Advocate 2: If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, you may be scared, unsure about how that may affect your life, and afraid to make decisions when you don’t really understand what you’re up against. If you aren’t sure about where to turn or what to do next, let me support you while you take this journey through decision-making and treatment. Let me put my twenty years experience supporting cancer patients to work for you.

Again, the second advocate speaks to how the potential client sees his or her world… Which one would appeal more to you if you were FUDGE?

Where will you implement these FUDGE-recognition marketing messages? In ALL your marketing: your website, your brochure, your blog, your public speaking – anywhere you must capture someone’s attention before you explain how you can help.

Now, certainly, there comes a time where you’ll need to talk about yourself and your abilities and experience. So, begin with statements that recognize a potential client’s FUDGE, then lead them to the fact that you can help them get past those feelings. You might do that with a list of benefits to working with you.

First THEM, then YOU. Don’t lead with “I” statements!

You’ll find prospective clients are far more receptive, and will contact you far more frequently when they encounter your marketing.

More contacts = more business! And the more business you have, the more patients are helped, and the more success you’ll find. Win-win!


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