Direct Marketing Online Is Personal

Marketing, whether online or offline, is personal.

What I mean is, it should feel personal to those we are marketing to.

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a proponent of direct response marketing. Please don't waste your money or your time on so-called “imaging advertising” or “brand building”. Image and brand are valuable, but should be a function of your direct response marketing.

Now, on to this business of marketing being personal.

For marketing to be as effective as possible, you should make sure that you're writing and speaking to a single person. Never use language like “you people out there” or any language that would imply you're speaking to a large group.

You want every person who receives your marketing (whether it be a sales letter, an e-mail, or even a radio ad) to feel as though you are speaking directly to them and only them.

The more you can make the marketing material feel direct and personalized, the more effective it will be.

Question for you: How do you make your marketing more personal?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • The more I follow you, the more posts that I read and listen to; the more I come to realize that I have probably, thus far, made just about every mistake to be made…Thanks for pointing that out. Joking aside, I was one of those newbies that fell into the whole “If you build it, they will come” mentality. I can’t even remember when I first developed that idea, but some how, somewhere, I got it in my head that brand building was the first part of business. 2 years, great logo, awesome multi-page website and a draining relationship with the local chamber of commerce later, I found myself putting my personal funds into the business to keep it floating while only gaining one to two jobs a month.
    If I could ask, should you ever find yourself in search of a topic for a future podcast, I would love to hear you expound on this topic. Thanks for all you do and God bless.

    •  @Ministryguru  That is actually a pretty good idea for a podcast, so I will definitely put it into the “potential podcast episode” idea bank. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  • I think the “why” of making it personal is important first.
    Why is it important?
    Well, you [likely] aren’t going to gather a crowd by the thousands to start. So focus on the individual relationships and needs of the customer first. This also makes it easier to get inside the minds of the consumers and understand the conversations going on inside their heads.

    •  @btalbot  This is a good point. Even when you do have a list of thousands, your marketing should still “feel” as if it is speaking to only one individual.

  • Like the concept of image advertising and brand building…and will the idea of making marketing personal work

  • It’s challenging to market online to someone you don’t know. The “you” terminology isn’t as hard as articulating your wants/needs/desires when I don’t know “you” personally. Sometimes you resonate, sometimes you don’t.

    • And that underlines the importance of working hard to GET to know them.

  • Alan

    What I most like about direct response marketing…I was and am a junk mail devotee…was how the copy seemed to speak to me personally, grabbing my attention, stirring my emotions and drawing me deep into the copy. Your point is well taken, Ray. Conversations are personal…sales copy, to be effective, must be also to get the desired response.

    • That’s right, Alan. And almost without fail, the best-performing sales copy is very personal indeed.

  • Perhaps marketing like you were selling a product to yourself could be a good strategy. I wouldn’t be comfortable selling a product to somebody unless its something that I would buy. Use words that you personally find appealing in ads to market your own wares.

  • From what I understand the best way to sell something is to think of that person only and write to that person. I look at it too as if I was trying to sell it to myself.. what do I need to know before I would buy it? But you have to be able to make your ad for everyone on top of that. Sugarcoating does work, but it also can mess up everything. Its hard for me to write newsletters because I am never sure who I should be focusing on. So I tend to write as if I am chatting with a good friend and that seems to work best.

    • Kim, I have found that that is the best approach for me, as well.