What do you think is the the most important element of your copywriting? The headline? The benefits? Or the product itself?
Well, this was the topic of Eric Grahamâ€™s (aka The Conversion Doctor) recent video â€“ â€˜My #1 Conversion Boosting Secret Revealedâ€™ – and I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll be sending any shockwaves by revealingÂ that itâ€™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 audienceâ€™s hopes and fears. But this can be a mistake, because copy is read by individuals, not a homogeneous group. And making assumptions about your reader could meanÂ missing a lesser knownÂ 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?
Ericâ€™s video is packed with useful advice, so Iâ€™d recommend sitting down with a notepad and watching it all the way through.
But if youâ€™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 theyâ€™re dealing with, as well as identifyÂ 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 justÂ let them talk. Record the calls (this free Skype recorder will do the job) 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 Ericâ€™s video for an example).
4. Create a customer profile of 1-3 paragraphs based on your research. Your profile should describe an imaginary personÂ matchingÂ some of the typical characteristics youâ€™ve discovered. This could include their family, education, income, occupation and hobbies. Then imagine youâ€™re addressing this fictional person when youâ€™re writing.
Itâ€™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 peopleâ€™s resistance to buying.
The best way of discovering what keeps your target reader awake at night is toÂ actually talk to them, which is why I think tip 3, in particular, could make a big improvement to conversion rates.