know your customer

know your customer


KYC (know your customer) guidelines in the world of finance help banks and other institutions verify the identity, suitability, and risks involved in maintaining a business relationship. In other words, it prevents businesses from being used by criminal elements for money laundering.

So how does KYC help in the world of copywriting?

Well, one of the most common mistakes I see in marketing content is the apparent disregard for who is going to read it.

Knowing your customer and what makes them tick will help you make sure your content is on target for the needs of your audience.

Writing for a large audience

Companies must sell to survive. Even though they know the type of person who makes up their ideal audience, they completely ignore them when writing their content.

If you are to sell, you must write what your audience wants to know (not what you want to say). However, it doesn’t matter if that’s one person or a thousand; every word you write must resonate with them.

That’s a daunting prospect; how can you create something relevant to everyone?

For starters, most of your readers will have similar problems – which is why they have landed on your website. However, it’s still important you make them feel as though you are there to help them, and only them.

It is that personal connection will make all the difference when it comes to them choosing you as their service provider.

The trick is to think carefully about what they want to know. They don’t care where your HQ is based or how many staff you have; they want to see how you will make their life easier by solving the problem they are facing.

Know your customer helps you sell

Let’s imagine for a moment you are selling burglar alarms.

Yes, you’re experts, yes you’ve been selling and installing them for years, blah, blah, blah. No one cares.

Before you start writing anything, forget about your company and put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

What’s important to them?

Let’s go back a step.

Why are they looking at getting a burglar alarm?

  • The one they have is broken or needs updating
  • There’s been a spate of break-ins in their area
  • Their neighbours have one

All valid reasons, but I want you to think harder: think about how your product benefits them.

  • It gives peace of mind that their possessions will remain safe
  • Deters would-be burglars from breaking into their home
  • They won’t have to endure the agony of the loss of sentimental or valuable items
  • Stops them from experiencing the violation of having someone break into their home

That’s more like it. Now you have identified the pain points, you have something to work with.

Writing in their language

When I talk about language, I mean the style and vocabulary you use.

In my experience, it doesn’t matter how educated your audience, they are still people who experience real emotions.

That’s why you should write naturally (no jargon or buzzwords), using simple language.

Talk to them conversationally using the second person. Talk about their problems and fears and show them how you’re going to make their life better by removing them.

You will help them sleep better at night and enjoy their holiday safe in the knowledge that their home and possession are protected.

Knowing your customer will help you focus on what’s important to them. It’s something many companies fail to do, so if you get it right, you’ll stand out from the crowd.


Sally Ormond is a freelance copywriter who has helped countless businesses find their authentic voice. Call her on +44(0)1449 779605 and book her now.