What do you think is the most important element of your copywriting? The headline? The benefits? Or the product itself?
Well, this was the topic of Eric Graham’s (aka The Conversion Doctor) recent video – ‘My #1 Conversion Boosting Secret Revealed’ – and I don’t think I’ll be sending any shockwaves by revealing that it’s understanding your reader.
In the rush to get websites live, emails sent and direct mail in the post, assumptions are often made about the target audience’s hopes and fears. But this can be a mistake because the copy is read by individuals, not a homogeneous group. And making assumptions about your reader could mean missing a lesser known critical pain point that triggers them into buying.
So how can you build a better understanding of your readers as individuals, and avoid lazy stereotyping?
Eric’s video is packed with useful advice, so I’d recommend sitting down with a notepad and watching it all the way through.
But if you’d like a quick overview, here are a few tips you might find useful:
1. Read the magazines and blogs your target is likely to read. This will help you get inside their head and build your knowledge of the issues they’re dealing with, as well as identify what type of language to use.
2. Visit the forums frequented by your readers. Note down any questions, comments or complaints on common problems they need solving.
3. Interview at least 10 people from your target market. Prompt the interviewee with a few questions and then just let them talk. Record the calls and get them transcribed. You should then use THEIR EXACT WORDS in your copy so you can reflect back at your readers their language and mental dialogue so it engages on a deeper level (watch Eric’s video for an example).
4. Create a customer profile of 1-3 paragraphs based on your research. Your profile should describe an imaginary person matching some of the typical characteristics you’ve discovered. This could include their family, education, income, occupation, and hobbies. Then imagine you’re addressing this fictional person when you’re writing.
It’s easy to make assumptions about target readers. But often the key to effective copywriting is finding that hidden pain point or desire which unlocks people’s resistance to buying.
The best way of discovering what keeps your target reader awake at night is to actually talk to them, which is why I think tip 3, in particular, could make a big improvement to conversion rates.