Understanding who you’re talking to


When you settle down to start writing your marketing content, who or what are you thinking about?

Allowing spurious thoughts to enter your head while writing (such as what’s for tea tonight, or did you feed the cat this morning?), will lead to disjointed thoughts that have no focus

There should only be one thing on your mind when crafting your message: your audience.

Not only will that help you focus your writing on their needs, but it will also help you adopt the right approach. The tone (or voice) that you use in your content has a considerable impact on its success. The best way to make sure you hit the right note it to imagine you’re speaking with a customer and use the same structure and language in your written communications.

I am a great advocate of the natural/conversational approach – regardless of the industry you’re in. Some feel it’s too casual for their customers, but done well, a chatty, informal style can enhance every company’s marketing literature.

It works because it not only talks to the reader on an even level, it also doesn’t come across as an in your face sales pitch.

But there is something else you have to consider, how many people you are talking to?

How many people are in your audience?

Depending on the size of your company, you could be addressing hundreds, thousands or even millions of customers. That’s a lot of people with different needs, so how do you write one piece of text that keeps everyone happy?

The simple answer is that you can’t, which is why you have to develop a typical customer persona.

That customer has a problem. Your company provides the solution they need. That means to convince them you’re the perfect fit, you have to highlight the benefits of your solution and how it’s going to make their life easier.

Why only one person?

Well, if you try to talk to everyone your message will be confused, lengthy and probably very boring.

By focusing in on that one person, you will be able to have a one to one conversation as you would if they walked into your shop.

Just about every article you read on this subject will tell you to write in the second person, and I’m not going to contradict that. Filling your content with ‘you’ and ‘your’ helps improve engagement and make your content more relevant to the person who is reading it.

The result is content that ‘speaks’ to the reader, conveys the personality of your company and shows them how you are going to improve their life. All of that is far more powerful than: “We produce widgets in a variety of colours.”

Next time you start to write some content for your marketing strategy remember:

  • Focus in on your typical customers
  • Identify the need they have and how you will help them
  • Show them the benefits you offer
  • Use a conversational style that addresses them directly

Any copywriter will tell you, you can’t be all things to all people. The service or product you sell exists to solve specific issues your customers are facing so it’s important to focus on that. The benefits will be universal, regardless of the specific background of individual customers. As soon as you try to satisfy everyone, your message will be lost in pile of boring fluff and bluster. Keeping to specifics will help  you focus your message to the benefits you bring to your customers’ lives.