Using the active voice means more than simply following the old adage and removing the passive, “to be” verb. Good marketing puts your reader into the action as the hero. And when your reader transforms into the hero, the other rules for marketing content become even stronger.
Emphasize The Benefits Of The Product Features
Good marketing focuses attention on a product or a brand by engaging the reader. Make it personal. Emphasize why your reader should be interested in what you are promoting. You may believe that your product sells itself. It doesn’t. The fanciest descriptions of a product will fail if your reader doesn’t care, so use your writing to make it clear why the feature matters. You show this by spelling out the benefit. Then take it a step further, and describe the benefit with your reader in the driver’s seat. Your reader is the hero who your product will help to save the day.
How do you put your reader into the action? Think differently about how to make a bland statement an action statement. Without forgetting to mention the feature, include the benefit and make it all about your reader. Your reader is the actor – the person using the feature and gaining the benefit. Here’s an example of how to take a feature and a benefit and turn it into an action statement.
The new Onboard-O-Tron has a great user interface.
Onboard-O-Tron users will have an easier time with the great user interface, which will improve employee integration.
You will improve employee integration with the Onboard-O-Tron user interface.
By using the second person “you”, you’ve placed the reader in a position of ownership of the employee integration process. Ownership creates an emotional incentive to want to see improvement. The action statement encourages your reader to imagine the receiving the benefit of the product. This ups the level of engagement you can accomplish with each action sentence. And engagement is the key to a successful marketing message.
Readers dread the passive voice. It uses too many words to express a simple idea. Readers skip long, drawn-out sentences and paragraphs. The active voice allows you to use only the words necessary to convey the information that matters. This is especially important in formats like ads where the attention of the reader can be lost in seconds.
The Onboard-O-Tron is a revolutionary new Saas that can change the way an employee is integrated into a company.
The revolutionary new Onboard-O-Tron changes how you integrate employees.
In less words, the same message puts the reader in the action, and each word in the message performs an important communication function.
Credibility in copywriting comes from various sources, all of which benefit from the active voice. A testimonial confirms the promises made about the product by someone who has used it. Of course, a testimonial needs to be in the user’s own words, but the active voice will give the words more life. Also, an expert or a study finding facts or reaching conclusions to support the sales proposition will speak with greater authority in the active voice. Look at the following examples:
Turn an expert source from the passive:
It has been found that better onboarding is good for employee retention.
To the active:
A study showed that better employee onboarding led to increased retention
Turn a testimonial from passive appreciation
I think the Onboard-O-Tron is great.
To active engagement with the product:
With the Onboard-O-Tron, we decreased employee turnover by 27%.
Even though your reader isn’t the “hero” of this part, the active writing makes a difference by using concrete statements of support.
The Actual “Call To Action”
Marketing content needs a call action. A call to action moves the reader further down the sales funnel by the small commitment of a next step: sign up for regular updates, download a free ebook, buy the product … something.
Body content in the active voice primes your reader to take action. The reader has already imagined herself or himself benefiting from your product, service, or information. And when the moment comes to act, the engaged reader simply takes the next step, and that is the best possible outcome.