“The one thing that many people don’t take direct input from is their actual clients. Your clients will tell you what words to use.”
Steve Napolitan

Welcome to the Steve Show. Today we’re going to talk about what words attract your perfect client, and that goes for advertising, social media, website copy, speaking at an event or even when you’re talking to a client. What words do you use?

I get asked this all the time. And those of us who are creative, we get creative with what words we use and what jingle we want to put into our copy. But the question is: are the words connecting with your clients?

You see, I’ve worked with ad agencies that overlook some of the simplest things, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

I’m not saying to avoid being creative. Creative skill helps. But sometimes, it can be a flaw if you aren’t thinking about your clients’ needs first.

What are the simple things that can make the largest impact? And the biggest thing that I’ve discovered over the years, because I went to film school, and as I was working deep in my ad agency there was time where we’re thinking super creatively.

The one thing that many people don’t take direct input from is their actual clients. Your clients will tell you what words to use. That’s why so many of you have heard me say before, “Don’t guess. Ask.”.

  • Ask your clients what they want
  • Ask your clients what their key challenges are
  • Listen

You do the above three, and you will know what words will connect with them. It’s so important to use their words, and I mean this quite literally. “If they say red, then you should be saying red.” You shouldn’t use the word “burgundy” just because that’s a shade of red that you like, or because it rhymes with some other word.


Using the above info, you can communicate to your clients through your advertising, content marketing strategy, social media, and other promotional activities.

So, before you write copy and create promotional campaigns, you need to survey your clients. The best way to do that is to ask them. To get out there and do surveys. Incentivize these surveys too. Make it part of your marketing budget.

Give them a gift. If you can give a gift away, whatever that is, even if you spend money on it, take part of your marketing dollars and apply it towards this survey. It’s going to give you the data that you need to accelerate your success in advertising.

I was working with a billion-dollar company and they added a new department, they added a new product offering, and that product offering was suffering. They were hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing, and they weren’t getting the job done. They were basically given notice they had one year left to get this product off the ground or the whole thing was going to be stopped. They were going to end it and close that, there was going to be jobs lost, people would be laid off, that whole department would be gone.

The number one thing we changed was the words that were in their advertisement. It connected with the audience and very quickly and we turned the whole thing around. That department now, I haven’t looked at it in the most recent, but as of last year, I believe it was over 63 million dollars in revenue from that department.

The simple thing that we did was we looked at the vocabulary of the perfect client, who their ideal client was, and we changed the words so that it related to them, and exactly what they wanted.

When we think of advertising, many of us get caught up on communicating what our customers are going to gain. But a lot of times, customers making decisions based on wanting to lose the pain that they have. So, don’t overlook that either. That’s why it’s a key question to ask, “What are the current challenges or concerns going on?”

When you’re a smaller company, it’s even more critical to do your homework on this because you have less dollars that you can take a chance on. You don’t have as much forgiveness if you spend an allocation and you don’t have any more. When you’re working with a bigger company, we have more test dollars to do more split testing.

When your dollars are smaller, it’s more critical that you pay close, close attention to this. Get out there, ask lots of questions of your ideal clients (WOW clients), and be very, very diligent about the words that they say.

Because as I’ve often said, there’s only two things that can go wrong in your advertising:

  1. You’re talking to the wrong person.
  2. You’re saying the wrong thing.

I’d love to hear what you have to say, ask questions, let me know how I can help you further.

Until the next post …

Choose Gratitude Create Freedom

Steve Napolitan

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