My name grabs my attention…but don’t abuse the privilege!

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I hate people using my name. Hate it with a passion.

Or rather…I hate people overusing it.

(Do you know what I mean? Or is it just me? Am I crazy?)

Maybe it harks back to childhood? Because back then, when you heard your name on the lips of an adult, you knew trouble was a-comin’. A parent, a teacher…any authority figure could use your name to scare you. Remember?

If I heard, “James, get in here!” – Yikes! I was in for a rollicking.

If it was, “James Daniel, get in here!” – Double Yikes! I was grounded.

Thank God, I don’t have a middle name! If they’d used the whole lot, who knows what would follow? A death sentence, at least.

So – this is all deeply ingrained. Say my name and it “triggers” me. I’ll get a cold shiver…and that grating, nails-on-a-blackboard feeling. Eurgh.

How about you? Are you with me on this?

Do you hate it when a stranger tags you in a Facebook thread? Or when some muppet who’s read up on “people skills” throws your name into every sentence? (While nodding with a head tilt and touching your elbow!)

SIDE NOTE: Everyone knows the elbow trick. It’s not clever any more. I’ve been to networking events where they’re all touching each other’s elbows, like some weird game of tag. Guys, enough with the elbows!

Anyway. I digress…

The “say my name” thing:

The point is, I might not like you calling me out. But I can’t ignore it.

And if you only do it once, I will get over it.

Meaning – if you want to sell me something, my name is the most powerful word you can drop into your copy.

Because I’m wired…programmed…to respond.

And like it or loath it – so are you.

If you’re in a bar, a shop, whatever…and someone calls out your name…you instantly turn round. Yes?

We all do it. We can’t help it. Our names hijack our attention, pulling us away from whatever we’re doing.

So use it to draw your customers into your copy.

Sure, it’ll only give you a few seconds’ grace, while they check to see what’s what. But that’s enough to have them read the first few lines…

…Which can draw them into the next few…and so on, to the end…and the sale.

It works. As long as you don’t overdo it and come off as a smarmy git.

Go try it. Suck and see. You’ll need some clever merging techy wizbits, for print or digital media. But with the right tools, you can name-check in pretty much any message.

An email subject…a sales letter headline…a web page URL…a newsletter…a brochure…anywhere their name can grab them and snap them out of whatever they’re doing.

It’s the oldest trick in the book, this. Still effective, though. For now. One day soon, it’ll be overused and meaningless. But IMO, not yet.

UK Copywriter James Daniel

James Daniel

You might not know who I am, but no doubt you've read my copy. If you've ever bought a hearing aid, a pizza oven, flat roof or vacuum cleaner. If you've hired a will writer, an IT guy or accountant. If you've been to events on marketing, acting or how to buy a business. There's every chance it started with a bit of my copy - a few simple, chatty, gently persuasive words. Ring any bells?

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