Are You Talking To Me?


define your target audience

Here’s a little exercise for you and your marketing team. Ask each member of your team to describe your target audience. Not the demographics stuff. Go deeper. What do they do for fun? What keeps them up at night? Why do they love your product? What keeps them from telling others about you? Now, share what’ve heard. Are they close or a million miles away?

Copywriting is a skill that involves understanding the aspiration, desires, fears, and anxieties of a customer and responding with the solution your product uniquely provides. Selling through the power of persuasion, but how can you persuade if you don’t know who you’re talking to and how they talk about what they need. Here are five practical ways to get more out of your copy, content, and design.

Five Ways To Define Your Target Audience

1. Ditch the Hunch

analytics, beats your hunch

One of the biggest mistakes marketing makes is assuming the faulty assumption they know why users love their stuff. They are almost always wrong. Reasons for using a product, loving or despising its benefits and features are as varied as human beings. I’m not suggesting you ignore your educated guesses or that you solely rely on analytics but a combination of the two puts you on the best path. 

Every effort at messaging strategy should start with, “Our users have told us…”

A terrific article about why analytics beats a hunch: Data over hunches

2. Talk Less, Listen More

copywriting audiences audience surveys

Not everyone can afford costly persona work but everyone who has a user base can reach out to ask questions and use those answers to better the user experience.

The best user surveys are brief, north of 10 questions and you’ve lost user interest, contain questions that are user-centric, “How has product X made your life easier?” followed by choices. No boring survey questions like, “How likely are you to recommend the product?” “How would you rate your overall experience?” “How could we improve your overall experience?” is a much better question. Don’t be afraid to ask negative questions. “How many emails are too many emails?” “Why?”

You can see how these questions tailored to your product can give you insight into your user’s likes and dislikes. Once you have the answers use them, share them, talk about them, let them inform your copy, content, and overall marketing strategy. Using surveys to confirm a hutch is a big fat waste of time. 

Two great articles about persona work even on a budget:

3. Stop Following the Herd

social media copy

Facebook has 2 billion active users, but that doesn’t mean your audience is among of them. Stop throwing everything at the social media wall. Asking is the best way to find out then follow them and they will follow you.

Choosing the right social platform 

4. Test, Test, Test

copywriting a/b testing

Nothing should leave your shop without having been tested. Even if you aren’t testing entire emails you should start by having a clear understanding of how your unique selling proposition (USP) tests. Is there a way to better to state your bottom-line message?

And no CTR, click-through rates are not a stand-in for A/B testing. Sounds nuts but I’ve seen this happen. Relying on how well an ad runs is no substitute for testing before it leaves your control. 

Here’s a great article about A/B testing.

5. Rinse, Wash, and Repeat

copywriting repeat cycle

Too often marketing strategies are too often born out of panic, a need to improve results right away and just as often they fail. Developing effective messaging takes time and attention. Perfecting a process that works for your team will really help when times are tight. 

Clearly defining your target audience takes time but it can yield profitable results and deepen your relationship with your users.