Think about the last time you saw something that truly spoke to you. Like actually, directly, spoke to you.
For me, it was when I was looking for a news app. I was on the lookout for one that would be good for spending five minutes waiting for the light rail or before a meeting to catch up on the latest biz and marketing news.
After a few minutes of searching, I couldn’t find anything that caught my attention. Then, the next day, an ad pops up in my Instagram Stories: “The news app for busy creative professionals”. My face brightens, “I’m a busy creative professional!”
You know what I did next? I downloaded the app.
The copy was so simple, so clear that it seems so obvious in retrospect. But it wasn’t just the simplicity of the ad, the timing, or even the on-point targeting; it was the fact it was speaking directly to me, almost as if it understood my challenges right in that moment.
This style of writing is so powerful it can turn complete strangers into customers. But it doesn’t just come out of a hat; there’s a bit of work involved to get there. So, let’s take a look at the steps required to write personalized, compelling copy that converts.
1. Understand Your Audience
What does your reader want? What does she need? What’s on her mind right this moment?
When you understand your audience – like truly, completely understand them – you know their daily challenges, what they do for a living, and what they’re doing to make a great life for themselves.
The person you’ve imagined in your head doesn’t exist either, of course. But writing for a human being instead of a demographic lets you think and write in new ways.Copyblogger
To do this, however, requires a good deal of work. You’ll want to come up with a buyer persona: someone who resembles your ideal client or dream customer.
Give them a name. Create them in the Sims if that makes it more realistic to you. Get to know them like you would your daughter or your best friend.
Once this is done, keep them at the top of mind every time you (or your copywriter) sit down to update a web page, write a blog post, or publish on social media.
2. Choose the Right Tone
Have you ever found yourself on a website, skimming through their homepage, and realized you are so bored that you just can’t keep reading anymore?
This is what a lot of businesses, especially in the B2B space, like to call a “formal tone.” The idea is they get their information across kind of like they’re speaking to robots instead of actual human beings. They don’t use “you” and their acronyms and business lingo are all over the place.
The good thing is, once you know your persona like she’s your best friend, you’ll know how she likes to talk. You’ll know if she responds well to GIFs and emojis, or would rather just get straight to the point.
As your picking your tone, ask yourself: is this something my persona would relate to? Speak to them as you would a friend or, if it is B2B, then at least as a close colleague. No matter who it is, keep your language clear, simple (free of business jargon), and human.
3. Speak Directly to Your Reader
Speaking of writing for humans, would you go up to someone and speak about yourself – and them – in the third person? No, because that would be a little weird, unnatural, and just plain awkward.
Address your audience directly by using the words “you” and “your”, a lot like how I’m doing in this blog post and the other ones I write.
Take it one step further and describe this person in your content. For example, you can title your blog post specifically for that audience: “The Female Entrepreneurs’ Basic Guide to Google Analytics”
By personalizing your content, you’re demonstrating to your ideal customer you’re exactly the person they need. You’re also going to push away anyone who isn’t your ideal customer – but that’s okay. You want more of your ideal client and less of those who won’t respect you.
4. Put the Spotlight on Your Customer
I’ve been reviewing a good number of websites recently, and one of the biggest things I noticed was, as business owners, we really like to talk about ourselves.
On one videographer’s website, the entire home page was filled with “this is what we do, this is who we are, this is why we’re so awesome, etc.”
There was no mention of the audience, their specific challenges, and why they should even hire this videographer in the first place (other than “we create whatever you need using whatever materials we have” …okay.).
On your homepage, About page, or any page, make sure the spotlight is on the person reading it and their specific challenges, rather than on your business and how you’re the greatest.
For example, you could say, “Looking to increase your customer engagement? Create a two-minute video to show them your process” instead of “We create videos for businesses.”
5. Address Their Specific Challenges
Are you seeing a trend yet? The key to great copy is to speak directly to your audience and provide value by helping them with their challenges.
Essentially, you want to show your audience that solving their problem will cost them less (time, money, frustration, etc.) than simply ignoring it. Emphasize the negative emotions and feelings that come with not solving it – just for a minute. Then, contrast that with your product or service’s major benefits.
Remember, to address your customer’s challenges, you first need to understand who they are as a living, breathing, human. Don’t just make up challenges because they sound good to you. Have conversations with your customers and people who resemble your ideal market. Ask them questions like, “What is your biggest challenge right now?”
You might be surprised how much people love to talk about what they’re struggling with. If you can find the answer for them, they’re sure to be a great fit.