Copywriting Dilemma – Who is Your Reader?

May 20th 2010       Sally Ormond       copywriter, copywriting tips, freelance copywriter

copywriter

Wouldn’t your life be much simpler if you knew exactly who you were writing for?

You’d know their likes and dislikes and could tailor your sales message to be directly relevant to them.

But life’s not meant to be that simple.

Do you remember the Tom Hanks film Forest Gump? There was a great scene in it where Forest is sat on a park bench. He begins to tell anyone who is willing to listen that “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Well, copywriting is just like that.

Are you a soft centre or a peanut brittle?

Your readers are a bit like Forest’s box of chocolates. They’re all different – they have different needs and different aspirations. But the one thing they have in common is that they’re all covered in chocolate – figuratively speaking. In this case, the chocolate represents the solution they are searching for.

Everyone of your readers has a problem – if they didn’t they wouldn’t be reading your sales copy trying to find a solution to it.

The copywriter has the cure

When I write copy for my clients – whether it’s a newsletter, website copy, direct mail etc., – my main focus is that, no matter who my readers are, they all have a problem they want to solve. Therefore it is my job to create copy that will convince them that my client’s product or service is the solution they’ve been searching for.

It all boils down to knowing how to make the reader buy. How do you do that? You focus on the benefits of what you are selling. Ask yourself “what is this going to do for them?” – will it:

  • save them money
  • save them time
  • make them more successful
  • give them the lifestyle they’ve always wanted
  • make them high achievers

Don’t fall into the trap of listing the features of the product. If you were selling a pair of football boots and your sales copy told your reader:

  • They are made from a unique leather
  • Their studs are tipped with titanium
  • They come in a vast array of colours
  • They are designed to mould to your foot

Your reader will probably say “So what?”, turn the page and start reading about the latest news in the world of celebrity.

But, if your copy told your reader that these amazing, cutting-edge, scientifically designed football boots would guarantee to make them a better football player – that is a benefit that would make them sit up and listen, and grab for their wallet.

Of course, as a copywriter, you must only write about actual benefits. Make sure what you are selling ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’.

So, if you want your copy to be persuasive, get to know your reader and what they are looking for. Make sure your copy focuses on the benefits of the product and that it talks directly to the reader.

Tags: copywriter, copywriting tips, freelance copywriter
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