Do you remember English class discussions about active vs. passive voice?
Did you get it then? Do you remember it now?
Do you care?
Maybe you should! Especially if you’ve got sales and marketing copy published on the web. (And who doesn’t?)
Web copy is simply more engaging — more effective — when you use verbs with an active voice.
I’ll use wine industry examples as we consider the difference:
A great time was had winetasting at ______ Winery.
We had a great time winetasting at ______ Winery.
Or what about this:
You’re invited to stop in and visit soon.
We invite you to stop in and visit soon.
I submit that the second in each example is stronger and would encourage more tasting room visits.
The active voice simply is more direct and compelling. And your web audience responds to direct and compelling much more than passive and weak.
So many marketers use the passive voice (Produced and Bottled by ________, or Imported by ________, to continue with our wine industry examples) that it’s easy to become immune and not even notice when you’re using it where you shouldn’t. But you want your readers to respond to your copy … right?
So here’s an easy test to determine if your sales and marketing web copy is passive: Insert “by zombies” after the verb in your sentence. If it makes sense, then — Oh, no! — you’ve got a passive voice.
Let’s try it with the examples from above.
“A great time was had (by zombies) …” Yep, passive.
“We had (by zombies) a great time …” Nope, that was active.
“You’re invited (by zombies) to stop in and visit soon.” Passive.
“We invite (by zombies) you to stop in and visit soon.” Active.
I suggest you search out and eliminate the zombies in your web copy! Those passive verbs may very well be killing your conversion and response!
Your turn …
Do you have an example of your own to share? Leave me a comment, and let’s talk about it!
Until next time … Write On!