Whether I’ve set my brain’s filter to notice every mention of targeting your marketing and writing, or it actually is coming up in everything I read, it seems to be a popular topic at the moment. And rightly so, it’s important to tailor your writing for your ideal client.
Copywriting isn’t about you
When people write for their businesses they often fall into two camps:
1. Those who imagine themselves sitting in a café in Paris wearing a black polo neck smoking Gauloise cigarettes while sipping a tiny but very strong espresso spilling their thoughts onto the page in a tumultuous act of self-expression.
2. And those who go by the simple mantra: speak to others the way you like to be spoken to.
Neither of these works in copywriting.
You have to both conceal your tortured soul and speak to others the way THEY want to be spoken to.
It’s not about being manipulative, it’s about writing in a way that engages with the people you’re speaking to, tells them what they want to know and starts or builds an honest relationship with them.
OK, enough theory, so how do you do it? (go and get yourself a pen and paper)
1. Think about who your ideal client is.
Depending on what you do, you may want to think about:
- marital status
- where do they live?
- do they have children?
- where do they go on holiday?
- how much do they earn?
- what are their interests?
- which newspaper would they read?
Build up a really well-drawn idea of who your ideal client is. Perhaps it’s a single man in his 40s who cares about his appearance, or a busy family with children in school who have a high income but little time, or a 20-year old student with limited income and a technology addiction.
2. What motivates them?
Some people call them “pain-points”, I’m not a big fan of that phrase but that’s what we’re talking about:
- why are they coming to you?
- what problem are you solving?
- what value are you adding?
- are you giving them something they want?
- or taking away something they don’t want / fear?
To find out more about our two main motivators – desire and fear – have a look at my earlier post The Way to Someone’s Heart (and Wallet!).
Imagine you’re talking to your ideal client (whether real or fictitious) and what questions they would ask. Do they want an in-depth explanation of every tiny detail of what you offer or broad brushstrokes? Are they on a budget? Are they time-poor? How do they like to be addressed?
3. Write with your ideal client in mind
Just as if you were speaking to them, write with that person in your mind’s eye. That may feel a bit weird or stalky but if you tailor your writing to one person it will sound much more authentic and be more engaging. People will feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
I love reading your blogs and I have never read one I didn’t enjoy or that wasn’t of some help. I love your style of being friendly, informative and to the point so that they are a joy to read whatever the subject. It’s as if you are talking to me personally.
– BarbaraG commenting on my blog
Language, tone and format
In terms of the language you use, unless you already work with your ideal client, you’re going to have to make a few assumptions. An older person is probably more formal than a younger one and won’t want to be called dude or mate or possibly not even by their first name. Don’t try to outfox people with your vocab unless your target clients have Doctorates in English (or they’re Will Self). Avoid using lots of business speak or technical language and no %^*£ing swearing.
By using longer words you can make your writing more formal and longer sentences s-l-o-w writing down. Check out this sentence as an example of how a long sentence slows down the pace at which you read and digest the words, and how you can bring together different ideas using commas and use longer sentences to explain complex ideas where a short one wouldn’t work.
Short sentences add emphasis. But don’t over-use them. Or they’ll lose their effect. Got it?
- and numbered lists are easy to read
Sub-headings stand out
as do italics and bold.
Next time you sit down to write something for your business – whether it’s a letter, an email, web page, blog or brochure – go through this simple process and you’ll find that your readers are more engaged, you’ll build stronger relationships – and your company will see the benefits.
Thanks for reading.
Please feel free to leave me a Comment and I’m always happy to help if you need help with tailoring your writing.