STOP Writing To… “The Target Market”

Filed under: Copywriting — Shaune on Saturday, April 14, 2007

Old Copywriting Truisms are becoming less and less valid.

We must become increasingly aware of simple distinctions that can make our copy more appealing.

Here’s one such distinction…

You are NOT writing to the market, at large. 

You are NOT writing to the target audience.

You ARE writing to “The REAL Target Audience.”

Here’s what I mean…

As copywriters we all know that to get a 1% response rate is excellent — 2% is extraordinary.

What that means is that of 100 people who would visit our online sales letter or ad, 99 of them aren’t likely to buy… regardless of how great the copy is. An inconvenient truth, I know.  : )

Think about it…

We place an Adwords ad — Of all the Target Market who see the ad, only a small portion will actually click on it.

These are people who have the problem — were interested enough to see what was offered – yet, when they get to the sales copy, only 1 or 2 of them will buy.

Those that buy are the REAL Target Audience. As copywriters we can’t concern ourselves with the 99 who won’t buy.

Doing so will bore our real potential customer with verbiage and information they aren’t interested in and don’t resonate with.

We must speak directly to those who are most likely to buy.

Here’s a great example…

I just finished a piece for an advanced natural Arthritis product.
(I say advanced as it had multiple natural ingredients that aren’t often used. It wasn’t typical.)

Through “Intimate Interviews,” here’s what I found about The Real Target Audience.

1) They are “past” using drugs. They actually have resentment for traditional medicine.

- They don’t need to be told that drugs are bad we can “assume” they already know that and speak to them from that place.

- We will drop real-life tidbits of their dislike for traditional medicine but we won’t “labour” explaining how bad drugs are, the side effects, etc.

For those that are most likely to buy this would be boring reading for them – stuff the already know – they will “feel” that you aren’t talking to them and click off.

That’s not to say we won’t mention it but we won’t explain of it. Many copywriters do this. They get to explanatory. This bores the reader and “slows the speed of the read.”

Even two or three extra lines could be enough take the reader from attentive to ”Outta Here.”

2) Those that were most likely to buy had already bought simple natural health solutions such as Glucosamine. More importantly, they had also tried at least one other advanced natural health product.

They wanted something beyond typical.

- That meant we should be “early in the copy” with the unique ingredients offered.

- We can speak from a more natural perspective — in fact we should use wording that is more “health food store” vs. traditional medicine.

Again, we’re not going to labour it, merely build resonance and connection with appropriate tone and terminology.

Here’s the kicker…

3) Of those that actually bought an estimated 30% were living alone. They had an even stronger need/desire to be self-reliant. They were more motivated to “try something new.”

Simply adding a testimonial that included the words, living alone, would really help the Real Target Audience connect with what was being said. Add a few resonating points, regarding self-reliance, in the copy…even better!
They’d better see and feel themselves in the writing…in being a customer. BIG!
Knowing who the real target audience is helps us connect, hold attention and increase the… “speed of the read.”


5 Comments - I want to hear your opinion. Click here to leave a comment. »

Comment by Robert

April 16, 2007 @ 11:13 am


I hope others reading this were paying attention to this…

“Of those that actually bought an estimated 30% were living alone.”

That little factoid uncovered by your intimate interview process is a potential goldmine.

Comment by Walter Friedman

October 6, 2007 @ 3:42 pm


The KEY you present here is the “intimate interview”, which now becomes an indispensable part of any copywriting effort.

So- to learn to produce great copywriting I must learn to do great interviews!
Show me how!

Comment by Maria Cintas

November 29, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

I have really begun to test nearly every sentence of my copy. Tedious, but nobody said this was going to be easy!

Comment by Bernie Mac

December 7, 2007 @ 10:23 am

Hello everyone..

In reference to Maria Cintas comment on testing every sentence of her copy:

I have found a tool from James Brausch that imporves the profitability of your ad copy. The tool called Glyphius is used score my copy.

One point about writing ad copy for the “target” audience unless we have narrowed and made our target real specific we can often miss the mark. As you Shaune so aptly stated knowing your audience and giving them new facts rather than reiterating what they already know can indeed speed the read.

Comment by Ad Copywriting

February 26, 2008 @ 1:43 am

i very much agree with you shaune.. especially with the first distinction (which states that we must not target the market as a whole but fine tune it to the real target market). great article!!
thanks for this!

– stephen

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