How to Write Copy For Your Target Audience
“What are crisps?” asked the barman with a confused look on his face….
“Crisps, you know, Salt & Vinegar, Cheese and Onion, Smoky Bacon, Ready Salted”, I replied!
“Oh”, the barman laughed, “you mean potato chips!”
I can still picture the scene! It was my first trip to New York (I’m from the UK) and I was in a bar ordering a beer and asked the barman what flavour crisps they sold...
Even though we both spoke English, there was a breakdown in communication because I was using language that he couldn’t understand. If I had known the American word for crisps I would have saved myself some embarrassment!
One of the most important aspects of copywriting is to make sure you know who your target audience is. If you don’t know who they are, your message is going to be lost. We certainly won’t be creating “Words That Win!”
So, before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), ask yourself one simple question: " Who am I writing this for?"
Later on, I’ll show you a simple 5-step, target audience analysis you can use to ensure your copy is written with a specific reader in mind.
Identifying your target audience is going to determine the tone and style of
Failing to do so could mean 3 things:
it won’t be understood as it’s not relevant to the readers
your copy won’t be effective
because of 1 and 2, you won’t achieve your objective
Ultimately, you’ll end up wasting valuable time and money. It could even create bad word of mouth for your brand.
Let’s consider the following example.....
Imagine you have to write promotional copy for a ‘Study in the UK’ course to foreign students.
Question #1- “Who is it for?”
It’s probably aimed at teenagers or young adults living outside of the UK, which is going to impact the style of our copywriting:
It must use simple language which is easy to understand for non-English speaking students
It must be easy-to-read with bullet points to highlight the benefits
It will provide key information about pricing and dates
It will include a call-to-action such as online booking or a website to visit
5-Step Target Audience Analysis
To identify your target audience and copywriting style required, here’s a list of 5 questions to ask:
1. Where are they from?
Are your readers local, national or global?
For example, a direct mail campaign promoting a new restaurant will be aimed at local people, whereas a social media post about studying in the UK will be aimed to non-native English speakers.
The copywriting should be appropriate to the English skill of the intended reader.
2. Are they male or female?
An advertorial for shampoo will primarily attract women. However, a leaflet about a new razor is likely to have men as the intended audience.
Aim to use language that resonates with the gender you’re writing for
3. How old are they?
Kids, teenagers, adults or elderly people. Think carefully about the style of words and sentences these different age groups use.
A competition with Doraemon is going to be targeted at children, whereas an email promoting a new “Financial Freedom” book is aimed at adults.
4. What is their knowledge of the subject?
What do your readers know already?
An advertorial to be published in a business magazine could be written in technical language or in a more common style, depending on the target audience.
5. What is their job?
A brochure promoting a 3-day seminar on leadership skills is probably aimed at company directors, whereas a post on Facebook about a 1-hour webinar on job interview skills is likely aimed at recent graduates.
Tailoring your language with these 5-steps in mind will avoid miscommunication with consumers and ultimately lead to you reaching the whole target audience effectively
Copywriting without a distinct target audience is kind of like taking a trip to New York without a map. You’ll spend a lot of time wandering around and getting lost
Don’t let your copy end up like this!
Need help writing for your target audience?
Our team of certified and experienced copywriters at James G Media can craft compelling copy for your target audience.
James G Media is a copywriting and content writing agency based in Bangkok, Thailand. It's our mission to support your business growth by turning your vision into the Words that Win through copywriting for sales and advertising, social media marketing, SEO content writing, and website design.