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Getting to Know Your Ideal CustomersA crucial part of establishing the right message lies in who your ideal customers are. Never just assume who your likely audience is. You need to do some sort of market and competitor research so you don’t have to go through numerous trial and errors. Don’t waste your time doing guesswork when it comes to your message. Follow the steps outlined below to make sure your message resonates with your dream clients!
Discover and Understand Who Your Dream Audience IsOne of the secrets of winning over your ideal customers is all about getting clear on the type of people best suited to you. That’s why finding your best and true customers starts with what you like. The best person to work with is someone who won’t just pay you handsomely (although that would be awesome as well), he or she should be a joy to work with as well. Once you know who exactly to look for, everything else just falls into place. But first, you have to start by being clear on who your dream audience is. This could either be a company or person you’ve worked with in the past, or even a fictitious persona you’ve just drawn up. Start by asking yourself: what kind of people do (or would) you enjoy working with? List out a number of traits or look back at past clients who you liked. Let me give you an example of one of my dream client profiles: My first deal client is a small to medium-size company looking to grow their sales. My person of contact wields a significant amount of decision-making weight. He (or she) can decide on copy matters without having to consult with a reviewing panel. He’s not afraid to try new things and knows what he’s looking for, which he makes sure to communicate clearly to me. Moreover, he values me as a crucial member of the team so my rates aren’t an issue. He knows the value of my work and frequently contacts me for any project he might need help in. Once he sees the results of the past projects, he continues to send work my way. The more detailed your customer profile is, the better. More than just adding a significant amount of details, you can also create more than one ideal customer profile. You can develop an ideal client profile similar to the above with just three steps. Here’s how: 1. Define yourself first to establish the attributes that make them ideal. If you know who you are as a person, you’ll most likely know the type of person you’d love to work with. Start with the usual key traits that show up whenever you’re working with a client or interacting with customers and base off from that. For instance, if you’re the independent type when working, you might prefer someone who lets you do your thing and won’t micromanage you. If you’re the kind of person who likes being heard, include in your customer profile that they need to be open to feedback and suggestions. If you have a non-negotiable stance on your rates, you can include that he or she is the type who won’t lowball your rates. 2. Define your customers’ basic details. Now that you’ve established the part about what makes them your dream customers, it’s time to determine the other details. You can start with the following details:
- Company size
- Location (local or anywhere)
- Work role
- Online hangout places
- What do they like?
- What does he or she value the most when it comes to choosing someone to work with?
- What are their struggles?
- What are their most prominent beliefs and opinions?
- What do they aspire to in their life and business?
- What keeps them interested?
Determine What Their Pain Points AreNow that you have a complete overview of your ideal customer, it’s time to zero in on their pain points. This is a particularly important part because crafting the kind of marketing copy that attracts your dream audience is all about knowing their problems and needs. However, it’s important that you don’t make any assumptions about your audience during this process or your message won’t likely resonate with them. That’s why you should start by asking the right questions. Use focused and open-ended questions that will allow you to learn more about your prospects and their struggles. For example, if your target is small business owners looking to expand, you may ask them questions like:
- What has stopped you from growing your business so far? Why?
- What aspect of your business has taken the most time and money? Why?
- What’s your number one complaint about running your business? Why do you think it’s happening?
- What do they frequently ask about or discuss with others?
- What kind of information are they consuming? Are they frequent readers of marketing blogs or news sites?
- What can you glean from their online behavior? Do they spend more time on social media than any other platform? Why could this be so?
Position Your Offer as the Answer to Their Pain PointsThis takes us to the next step which is to position your offer as the solution to their problems. You have to be able to convey how you can provide value in their lives and how you can help solve any of their particular pain points. You can include any of the following to position your offer:
- Name your target audience. It’s important that it’s clear to your ideal customers that your business is geared toward them. You can do this by naming them directly or characterizing them in your message. Here’s a great example by Lever:
- Show them that you understand them. This is where your research comes in. Mention a specific issue they’re likely still struggling with and include that in your message. This conveys that you know them and are intimately familiar with what they’re facing.
- State your key benefit. For this part, make sure you include the most compelling reason why they should do business with you. Buffer does this below by stating that they can help you save time when it comes to managing your social media.
- Provide a context on how you can help them. To make your message more powerful, it’s not enough to mention a specific benefit. Take it a step further and provide an instance when your product or service can be valuable. This makes it easier for them to understand how your offer fits in with their needs or problems.
- Add your most compelling differentiator. It’s not enough to offer them the solutions they need, you also have to let them know what makes you different from your competitors. You can do this by mentioning a USP that fulfills a specific problem for your core audience. Dreamland does this perfectly by stating that they’re “The only brand with the rights to use the patented Miracoil™ springs - the world's most advanced spring system to date.”
Crafting Copy That Your Audience Can Connect WithNow that you’ve got their attention, it’s time to craft your marketing copy in a way that your audience can resonate with. No matter how well you’ve positioned yourself, it won’t mean a thing if you can’t properly translate that into your message. That’s something you can accomplish through the below tips.
Create the Perfect Hook Through Social ListeningLeading with the right hook allows you to build on the interest of your prospects and encourage them to read more about your message. To craft the kind of hook that will win over your audience, it has to first speak to what they’re going through—specifically their wants and fears. You’ll know what those are by doing social listening research that involves:
- Tracking mentions of your brand or business on social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)
- Checking out review sites on what customers are saying about your products or services (e.g. Amazon, Yelp)
- Analyzing your online metrics to see if there are any patterns or trends you should take advantage or steer clear of (e.g. increased traffic from Instagram, backlinks from bad sites)
Craft Boredom-Free Messages That Stick to MindIf you haven’t noticed, today’s web readers get bored fast. And bored people hop on to the next thing that will catch their attention. So once you catch your ideal customers’ attention, you need to be able to keep it with a boredom-free marketing copy that will stick to their mind even after they’ve finished checking you out. One of the ways you can do that is by writing conversationally. Why? Because people won’t be able to connect with your brand or business if you’re always talking jargon or doing a lot of “business speak.” That’s why it’s important to craft your marketing copy like how you talk. Use “you” a lot and don’t make the mistake of only talking about yourself or your business. Just like in real life, no one likes people or businesses that are always full of themselves. Your message should be about them and what they could get from you. Another way to keep your readers from being bored is to avoid marketing buzzwords. Using marketing drivel doesn’t add any value to your message and will only serve to make you sound hollow. Moreover, it makes you sound like everybody else which is the surest way to be thrown into the “businesses no one really remembers” category. The key thing to remember here is to just make sure your brand sounds real. If your brand is a reflection of yourself, incorporate parts of yourself that you want to show. Maybe you have a straightforward, no-BS approach way of communication, then make sure it’s evident in your copy. One particular example of a business that does this well is Firebox. It’s a fun, humorous brand that likes incorporating amusing takes on gift-giving. Check out their latest homepage copy: They tweaked their site’s headline in light of the Christmas season to let people know (cheekily) that the holidays are really all about the gifts. You don’t always have to use humor to make your message interesting. Just do most, if not all, of the above tips and you can make your brand appear more accessible and easier to connect to!
Sell Without Using HypeHype-based selling is all about using exaggerated tactics to fire up readers so they would be more compelled to buy. Although it’s common to see this type of tactic used on today’s marketing copy, it can easily backfire since you’re trading your credibility for short-term returns. It’s much better to go for a method that’s much more viable to use for the long run because it’ll help build loyalty toward your brand. A good example of a hyped up claim is, “If You Know How to Write, You Can Be a Published Book Author in 2 Weeks – Guaranteed!” As a writer myself, I know that it takes more than just knowing how to write to be a published book author. You have to have specific knowledge of what you’re writing about and be able to self-publish and market it or get a publishing outfit to help you distribute your book. More than just that, it would take more than two weeks to publish a book. The only way that kind of claim would be valid is if they’re churning out ready-made books for people to publish. This type of implausible claims can only appeal to those who are impatient for results and such people would likely drop you the second you fail to live up to your claims. If you’re looking for long-term customers who will stick with you, that isn’t the way to go. Even without hype, you can write powerfully persuasive marketing copy by tailoring your message to resonate with your ideal customers’ needs and wants. Because at the end of the day, conveying your value is still what seals the deal.
Write With SpecificityIncluding specific details in your message is another remarkable way to increase your credibility. It’s not only more believable but it also positions you as a knowledgeable source when it comes to that topic. Sharing specific data means you did your due diligence in advance so you can provide your prospects the right information to aid in their buying decision. Rev does this by sharing a statistic on their ad that they can tie in with their services. In their caption, they provide a specific turnaround time (24 hours), their accuracy rate (99%), and their price per minute ($1). This goes beyond your standard spiels like “quick service” and “accurate work.” After all, people will have different definitions of what fast or accurate is so it’s better to be specific on the exact meanings of your claims. You can also apply the concept of specificity when it comes to your benefits. Just choose one specific benefit that has the most advantage for your target market. This helps your message to immediately resonate with them. TransferWise uses this method to make their home page’s web copy more compelling. They start out by stating how much exactly do banks typically charge when sending money (up to 5% in hidden costs) and that they’re actually “8x cheaper,” which means more savings for its users. By using the above tactics, your target prospects will be going, “This is for me!” in their heads long before they’re finished reading what you have to say!
Converting Your Best Prospects to Lifelong CustomersNow that you’ve managed to grab their attention and attract them to your brand, it’s time to convert them as lifelong customers. Once you’ve got good people looking at you, it only makes sense to have them on your team—for good (or as long as possible).
Overcome Barriers to PurchaseMost people don’t just buy on a whim. If it’s an especially big purchase, you can bet that your customers will likely take their sweet time thinking about whether to buy it or not. Converting your target prospects into actual paying customers means you have to be able to pre-empt any concerns they may have about buying from you. A good way to do this is to reframe the cost of your offering especially if the product or service you’re offering is expensive. Cast your pricing in a different light by positioning the cost as an investment for them. Let them know that they’d only need to pay a high fee once and that they’ll be able to reap the returns repeatedly in the future. Or you can also break down the total cost to a much more digestible amount. For instance, if you’re offering a $30 monthly membership course, let them know that they’ll get to learn from your expertise for just $1 a day or for less than the cost of one Starbucks coffee. Whatever paints a better picture for your audience. Another way to make the buying process easier is to offer different price tiers such as the one below: This is because not all costs can be reframed. That’s why in such cases, it’s better to just have a variety of pricing points that your audience can choose from. Lastly, take away the risks of buying from you. Offer a free trial or a money-back guarantee for a specific period of time. Using the above tips will definitely ensure a much smoother buying process to help your prospects become your lifelong customers.
Get People to Act on Your Message with a Strong Call-to-Action CopyWhat’s a superbly crafted message if it doesn’t compel your target audience to act? Now that all the other elements are in place, the next logical step is to move them toward a specific action. For that, you’ll need a call-to-action or CTA to end your message. Compelling calls-to-action prompts your prospects into engaging with your brand or website in some way. And for that you’ll need two things: a compelling button copy and a striking visual presentation. Here’s an amazing example by HubSpot: In the above example, they ditched the standard “Sign Up” and “Free Trial” CTA copy for a more benefit-oriented one: ”Convert More Visitors.” Moreover, they made sure the CTA button popped out by using the color green to contrast with the orange background. To craft a compelling call-to-action button, you can do any of the following things:
- Benefit-oriented (as shown in the above example)
- Drives readers toward a specific action (e.g. “Get Your Free Quote,” “Download Our Ultimate Guide”)
- Conveys a sense of urgency (e.g. “Register Now and Get 50% Off,” “Free Access for a Limited Time Only”)
- Use a color that contrasts with the background so it’s easily visible (Use a color wheel to know which colors are opposite to each other).
- If you have a white background and there’s a wide range of colors to pick from, choose one that stands out. (Have you ever seen a black or white CTA button? I, for one, haven’t.)
- Add shadows or gradients to make it look three-dimensional.
- If you want to use icons with your CTA button, just keep it simple. You don’t want to distract them from the button’s message.
- Make it decently sized. Don’t make it too small that the text is unreadable or too large that it overwhelms every other element near it.
Bonus: 8 More Awesome Copywriting TipsNow that you’ve learned how to write content that appeals to your target audience, you can use the eight copywriting tips below to make sure all your marketing copy is optimized to drive traffic and conversions.
1. Write as a Conversation.People prefer conversations rather than lectures. Lectures talk down to them, while conversations speak with them on the same level. How do you write conversationally? There's a Real Human Here. When I write, I have a specific person in mind as I write. I need a face to write to, or I write generic, faceless posts. This approach keeps me from acting as if I am lording over a reader, but sitting next to her and having a conversation about something. Perhaps it is a fan on Twitter or a reader who left a comment who I am thinking of when writing. This is made easier when you listen to your audience's feedback and write posts that they request or suggest. Second Person Over There. When you illustrate with a real-life example, it's OK to use the first-person (I, me, we). For the rest of your post, use second person (you, yours). Grammar says no, don't mix the two, but think of how you carry on a conversation. "You should stay away from skunks." "Why?" "I had a bad experience once. Thought it was a cat. You really want to avoid that." You can mix the two in your blog copy if you reserve "I" for your examples and stories, and "you" for the rest. The point is to be conscious of it, and not sloppily mix "we" and "you" from one paragraph to the next when no illustration or personal story is involved.
2. Don't Fall in Love with Your Pets. Kill them.You have pet phrases that you love. These are the ways of handling words and ideas that you return to again and again. Maybe you are like Ronald Reagan, and prefer to start everything with a "well,..." Your pets have been loyal and served you well and you don't even notice them anymore, but not everyone who visits your blog appreciates your dog jumping up on them and slobbering all over their face every paragraph or so. During the edit process, look for the "so, but, well, therefore" that don't need to be there. You'll often see them at the start of a sentence. Look for the larger phrases, too. At the end of the day, to make matters worse, if you can believe it, they aren't necessary. They are pets, not work horses. You want words that do work, not look cute.
3. Make Friends with Simplicity.Simple is good. If churning out copy is what you do all day, you'll find it easy to bloat your writing. Words are what you think of and write all day long, and when weariness seeps in, your copy starts to bloat because it is more difficult to write simple sentences than it is to write long sentences. You are free to start complicated, as long as you end up simple. That's part of the blog writing system we use here. What is simple copy?
- Speaks plainly and directly. Says what it means to say.
- Not laden with gimmicks, either in words or ideas.
- Has breathing room, both in white space on the page and the sound of the sentences (mix short with long sentences).
- Clear ideas. No meandering around.
- Skips jargon and impossible words that make readers feel stupid when they don't understand.
4. Write to Sell.All writing is selling. It pains me to say that out of fear of being crass, but even fiction writing is selling. It sells an ideology, a philosophy, a fantasy, a hope, a chance. You have to know what you are selling with your copy before you can write the copy. When writing, you are almost always selling ideology. When you sell an idea to people, you are both collecting and creating people who are attracted to them. Fans! Followers! Fanatics! These are the people who, if you've sold the idea well, become part of your army. They share your content on social media, talk about it on their own blogs, promote what you're doing–all because they want to. This is because you sold the idea well. Your idea has become their idea. Sell Tangibles for Those Who Want to Give You Money. "Here! Take my money!" You might be selling a product or service. You might have done it so well that people are eager to buy. You'll do best if you also sell the ideology behind the product first, showing people why they need what you're selling. Build the buzz, convince the world. It's easier to sell something tangible when your audience believes they need it. Sell Identity for People Wanting to Belong. People want to be part of groups, they want to belong to something bigger than themselves. They might be behind your idea, they might buy your product, but more than that, they want to be part of something with other people. Maybe you're cementing their identity as a mom, as someone into frugal living, as a coupon clipper, as a baker. Your writing can sell an identity that people latch onto. Take heart, non-niche bloggers. You may feel pressured to start a niche blog in this day and age, but if you've resisted, consider that your Everything Blog might not have a tidy topic but still has something to offer: identity. You aren't selling a topic with your blog, you are selling your personality, your lifestyle.
5. Know the Difference Between Features and Benefits.You can think of this as knowing your value proposition, but terminology like that buzzes right by me. (Avoid buzzwords wherever possible.) Are you selling a beverage or are you selling a lifestyle? Are you selling ebooks on entrepreneurship or are you selling hope? Are you selling watches or are you selling an identity? It's easy to mistake selling widgets as being about the widget itself instead of what it does in the life of the person using it. The Features Might Not be the Point. Let's say you are selling shoes. Your latest creation makes people appear taller because of ingenious heel design, while still allowing them to easily run and not lose balance despite the boost. This is great news for shorter people everywhere. When you talk about this shoe in your copy, you discuss these traits. Our shoe uses a patented heel design that gives you additional height while keeping you firmly gripped to the ground. Unfortunately, you missed an important selling point. The added height without damage to mobility makes wearers of the shoe more confident and in control. They don't care about the heel design, or that they won't fall. They want to hear about the new-found confidence the shoe will give them at their job and in life. Stand tall. Run if you need to. Your shoes give you permission. Step Back from Familiarity. Understanding the difference between features and benefits was (and is) a struggle for us here at CoSchedule. It is easy for us to get carried up into a listing of powerful features rather than writing about what really attracts people. I still slip into the habit of feature listing. "We connect to your WordPress blog, publish to social media, and it's all easy to see and plan on a calendar," I say. "So you'll give me back more time in the day, then?" you say. When you are so close to the product, it is difficult to see what it really offers to an outsider who sees it for the first time. One of the most valuable sources of understanding what we are really offering is listening to our customers and what they tell us. If you aren't sure what your product or service is other than the features it has, let people try it out and ask them questions. Listen for key phrases or ideas that come through. "How does wearing our shoes make you feel?" you might ask your customer. Because without asking, would you ever find out that a shoe wasn't about a shoe, but was about confidence instead?
6. Find an Angle that Works.From which direction will you approach what you are writing about? What will be your angle of attack? There are two ways to think of this idea of finding an angle. Writing from Different Directions. It's what I call "prepositional phrase" thinking. Here sits your topic in the middle of the room. Will you write about it from above? From the inside? On it? Next to it? Around it? A practical application of this might be whether you write about your widget as an industry insider, a newbie experiencing it from the outside for the first time, or as a patient teacher there to broaden readers' horizons. Who you are selling to will determine the direction you choose to write from. If you're writing to industry insiders, you won't write as if for newbies. Your language and depth will reflect this. Choose How You Will Appeal. At the end of your writing, you are expecting the reader to do something. You are making an argument with your copy, and should therefore consider which argumentative appeal you will use to get readers to act. Your appeals will either use ethos, pathos, logos, or kairos.
- Ethos: Appeal to the reader by establishing your credibility. Your writing shows you can be trusted, and are an authority.
- Pathos: Appeal to reader emotions. Capitalize on their sensitivities. Make them laugh, cry, or feel outrage. Use sensory details. Make them feel something, anything.
- Logos: Appeal to the reader's logical side. Show you have facts and logic on your side. Present the data and statistics that shows you have proven your idea.
- Kairos: Appeal to the reader's sense of time. Show that now is the time to act.
7. Don't Slap Your Audience With Your Copy.There is something called the "SLAP rule", which stands for: Stop, Look, Act, Purchase. Yes, but. There is no need to abuse your audience. No one really wants to be slapped, which is what you do if you get people to stop and look by using shock or trickery. You are vying for the attention of an audience already being bombarded by blog posts, email newsletters, "sign up now!", and everything under the sun. They are being SLAPped left and right. Readers and copy shock tactics are like bacteria and antibiotics. A certain level of resistance and desensitization happens. You keep upping the ante in your copy, and you soon won't have anything left. What works are the basic, most simple motivations:
- The psychology of exclusivity.
- Being genuinely honest. It's so rare, it's almost shocking. People are attracted to it.
- Genuine persuasion that has the courage to stand behind and make promises about a product or service that actually works.
8. Stop When You Need To.Quotas are dangerous to writing. If you don't have enough information to share to fill the quota, what happens? You'll break every commandment here in order to fulfill a too-big quota, in order to hit a word count, a page count, a list count. You'll write bloated copy, mushy phrases, meandering ideas, and attack from multiple angles all in one chunk of copy. How do you know when to stop?
- When you're only writing to meet word counts.
- When you've said all you need to say.
- When your writing is tight and direct.