Are You Writing To Your Target Market?

March 23, 2009

One of the most important aspects of copywriting is to reach your target audience and compel them to take action. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as we would like. Many people make the mistake of thinking that because they are part of the target audience, they can simply write in their own voice and everything will be fine. (I know – I’m guilty of it too.) But to truly reach the target audience and actually compel them to take action, you have to know a little something about them. In particular, you need to know what gives them pain.

It is proven that people will go to great lengths to alleviate their pain – much further than to support their happiness. A good target market profile will help you with understanding what compels these people to take action. The profile should include:

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What magazines might they read?
  • What types of hobbies do they engage in (golf, tennis, reading)?
  • How do they research their buying decisions (all Internet, ask friends, combination)?
  • What is their home life like (married, kids, pets, single)?
  • What are their motivators (spouse, work, children)?

You need to have a detailed profile of who you are writing to, and a clear understanding of how your product or service can help them. Make sure you are providing them with benefits, not features.  Features are what you or your product does for your customer; benefits are how your customer is helped. Remember, they want to know how you can help them, not only what you can do.

I like questions as a way of breaking through – Do you feel, or Aren’t you tired of, or Would you like to have x,y, and z again.  It’s easy to scan a bulleted list of questions, and it lets the person know you already understand their pain points.  Then simple answer each one in your copy, again making sure to discuss how the target is being served. I’m sure you are great at what you do, and the product is the best ever, but people want to know how it helps them, not what it does.

If you can, use a group to review your copy. Maybe not all of it, but try to get someone who either really understands your business OR better yet, your target market, to review what you have written. Ask them to be brutal. I know it hurts (my review team is tough!) but it will make your copy better.

Once you have finalized the copy, sleep on it. Always give it another review with fresh eyes, and read it out loud. You will catch a lot of mistakes by taking the time to read your copy outloud. And it will have a more polished feel.

Hours of research and a lot of work go into writing to your target market. But it will pay off in the long run!

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