Because why not have it all? ;-)
The first rule of writing marketing copy and content is to speak to your customers’ or clients’ needs instead of your own.
Instead of focusing your copy on your product or service – what it does, what it’s made of, its super-cool bells and whistles – focus on what your customers or clients are going to get out of the experience.
It’s the whole benefits vs. features thing: rather than talking about how many amps of power that air conditioner has, emphasize how gloriously cool and refreshedyour customers will feel when they use it.
But speaking effectively to your customers’ needs is more than just “selling the sizzle, not the steak.”
You’ve got to establish a meaningful connection with them and give them a reason to WANT to do business with you that goes way beyond the benefits they’ll receive from your product or service.
(Which they could most likely get from at least one of your competitors – right? You’re probably not the only person out there doing what you do.)
So how do you write copy and content in a way that makes it all about them – and also forges a lasting connection and inspires them to support your business?
Here are 7 tips:
1. Have a crystal-clear understanding of who your ideal customers and clients are
In order to make sure your message comes through loud and clear, you need to know exactly who you’re speaking to.
How old are they? Where do they live? What are their jobs? What do they like to do in their free time? What inspires them and makes them happy? What makes them laugh?
The clearer you get on who they are, the easier it will be to write copy and content that appeals to them.
2. Speak their language
As you can imagine, different target audiences have very different ways of expressing themselves. For example, jewelry artists who sell their wares primarily at music festivals are going to have a very different communication style than senior corporate executives or self-employed plumbers.
If you’re not familiar with the specific ways in which your ideal clients or customers communicate, discover where they hang out online (Facebook? LinkedIn Groups? A website or blog that’s popular in your industry?) and carefully take note of the way they express themselves – so you can speak to them in their own language and develop a stronger connection with them.
3. Focus on what matters to THEM
I know it’s tempting to talk about all the aspects of your product or service that mean the most to you. But you’ll be able to spark far more interest if you keep the conversation focused on what matters most to THEM.
For example – instead of saying:
“I am a compassionate, spiritual, and deeply dedicated personal coach with 20 years of experiencing helping clients transition successfully through major life changes.”
“Cultivate the serenity and wisdom to handle anything life throws at you – with grace, ease, and humour.”
Or some such thing… the point, again, is to focus your writing on what THEY’RE looking for, not on what YOU want to tell them.
4. Give selflessly
One of the best ways to make people love you is to go out of their way to give them something that benefits them in a real and significant way – without any thought of reciprocation.
The easiest way to do this is to share a lot of valuable content via your email, website, and social media. Limit your actual marketing messages to just one out of every ten or so you put out there. By emphasizing the fact that you’re genuinely trying to help people, you’ll earn their appreciation and trust.
5. Don’t just educate
This is especially true if you hope to grow a following by sharing content on social media. People don’t go online just to learn stuff. They also want to be entertained, amused, shocked, and inspired. “How-to” info is great and can be very useful… but it can also get boring after a while. Try to offer content that speaks to people’s emotions even as it informs and educates them.
6. Offer them something they won’t find anywhere else
Don’t blend in with the crowd by offering content that’s similar to everything else out there. Go the extra distance and offer people something they aren’t likely to find anywhere else – original artwork, thought-provoking articles, inspiring music, your quirky sense of humour – whatever will make you stand out and earn their gratitude for the spark of inspiration, beauty, or entertainment you added to their day.
7. Show them how you’re making THEIR world a better place
This one goes beyond the scope of most copywriting and content – yet I believe it’s an important piece of the “anti-marketing marketing” puzzle and will become increasingly important as more globally conscious consumers choose to do business with companies that are working to improve the world around us in some way.
This could be as simple as being a strong advocate for social causes and not being afraid to speak out for what you believe in. Or you could sponsor an event or donate a portion of every dollar earned to your favourite social or environmental cause.
You could even tweak or reframe your products, service, or business to have a greater positive impact on the world. (E.g., offer more sustainable products, gear your services specifically toward empowering women, or run a family-friendly office.)
When people see that you share their values and are making an effort to improve people’s lives or the environment, they will be even more motivated to support your business.
So those are my 7 tips on how to write copy and content that focuses on your customers’ wants and needs. The more you make it all about THEM instead of you,the more devotion you’ll inspire. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to make the world a better place at the same time!
About the author: Erin Whalen
I’m Erin Whalen, owner of Made You Look Online Marketing Services on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, BC. I offer copywriting, content development, and Internet communications strategy to local artists and business owners.
In my free time, I write YA fiction and love hanging out with my husband and two wonderful boys.