Think fast—what do velociraptors, Vesuvius citizens, and vintage cell phones have in common?
They were all wiped out.
If I get my way, there’ll be one more thing to add to that list: the “At/We” construction that is so pervasive in website copywriting.
What is “At/We”?
Any sentence that starts like this: “At XYZ Company, we…”
You’ve probably come across it on ads, brochures, websites, and other marketing materials. So why skip it?
(1) “At/We” is redundant, and thus, wastes precious words.
“At XYZ Company, we make the widgets you see below.”
If you have a Products page on your website containing product photos and captions, that pretty much speaks for itself.
Your reader will spend only so much time on your website. Realistically, we’re talking about seconds, not minutes. Wasting words with the “At/We” combo could violate the dollar-bill guideline for website copywriting and certainly won’t earn you any bonus points on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Test.
(2) “At/We” is terrible for branding.
“At XYZ Company, we sell the world’s finest fairy dust.”
You might have a truly out-of-this-world product. But using a hackneyed phrase such as “At/We” puts you in the same boat with the people who sell Snuggies, toilet paper, and a whole host of other cheesy and mundane products.
Is that the company you want to keep?
(3) “At/We” is narcissistic and turns readers off.
“At XYZ company, we use the industry’s most efficient widget-making process.”
Well, bully for you. Unfortunately, readers don’t really care. Unless you tell them what’s in it for them.
Does the quicker process allow you to cut costs for customers? Speed up the time from order to delivery? Reduce your company’s environmental impact? That’s the kind of information your readers are really interested in.
“At/We” doesn’t only waste words—it also represents a wasted opportunity to turn features into benefits.
Plus, why would you ever use “we” as the subject of your sentence when “you” has been proven to be one of the English language’s most persuasive words?!
What About Your Website?
Plug your URL into the Customer Focus Calculator to find out whether you talk too much about what makes you awesome and not enough about how your customer can benefit from your awesome-ness.
How’d your website do?
The good news is that eliminating “At XYZ Company, we…” is easy. Simply hit Control F and make Backspace your new best friend.
Replacing “At/We” with copy that turns features into benefits? Not so easy.
For help with website copywriting or any other copywriting needs, call us at (410) 312-0081.
– Chrissy Hoffmaster, Copywriter/Project Manager