In my experience, one of the biggest reasons that a lot of people struggle to write their web copy is because they are not even sure who they are actually talking to. They’re trying to be everything to everybody – but not being true to themselves in the process.
Believe me, I understand it’s hard – think of my role as a copywriter: my interested audience is broad, and I could pretty much consider every business as a potential customer, so how do I speak to my customers in a way that compels them to use my services?
The way that I overcame this myself, was deciding that actually, I don’t want to serve everyone. And by this, I don’t mean that I didn’t want to work with certain industries or types of businesses. I wanted to work with businesses whose values or objectives aligned with my own.
You could be freaking out a little right now – especially if you’re new to business – at the thought of turning away customers. But trust me, it’s actually kinda liberating, and will benefit your business in the long run.
You can’t write to ‘Everybody’
The moment that I let go of pleasing “everybody” was a turning point in my business. I changed the copy on my own website to be a closer reflection of how I liked to work and the kind of work I liked to do. It allowed me to let much more of my personality – and therefore my point of difference – come through.
Using language that would likely resonate closely with some, and not at all with others, was a risk. I knew that people could land on my site and be turned off, but I also knew that being clear with my messaging from the start would help set clearer expectations on outcomes. If my style or approach didn’t align with the style or approach of the customer, they could simply click away to find another business who did. I became more confident with my writing, didn’t second-guess my approach, and started receiving more good feedback and referrals than ever. I was gaining a reputation as the go-to in my niche.
Almost straight away, I started getting enquiries with comments like, “I really feel like you’re the right person for this job…”, “I’m struggling to write my web copy in a way that I’m happy with, I came across your website and I know that you’ll be able to communicate my message…”. What I had written was getting through to the people who I really wanted to work with.
So, how did I make this change?
Here are my 7 recommended steps to defining your ideal customer and refining your web copy:
1. Reflect a bit
Start by simply asking yourself: who do I LOVE to work with? When do you feel most inspired / motivated / excited? Note down all the customers/clients who you look forward to working with, and why.
2. Build out a complete and detailed persona of this customer:
- their goals or what they value most
- their obstacles or pain points
- what are they hoping to achieve through working with you/buying from you
- what common objections do they have to your product or service
- how do they seek out information
3. Bring them to life
Even consider giving them a name to help you identify them when you’re creating your marketing material.
4. Find common ground
It’s likely that you might have more than one target persona. For example, if you’re nutritionist, you might have:
- Athena the Athlete (a customer who wants detailed sports nutrition advice)
- Healthy Heather (high-income mother who wants to create healthy meals for her family)
- Overweight Oliver (middle-aged, struggled to lose weight through fad dieting, family man)
You get the idea?
Although these personas are all quite different with what they want to achieve, they should all have values or visions that align with your own. Find what that is for you.
5. Write from the heart
Think of the language your ideal personas use, as well as the language you use when speaking with them about helping them achieve their objective. What’s important to them – but also, what’s important to you? You’re always told that your web copy should focus on the customer – which is right – but keeping your best interests in mind is important, too. Don’t promise something that doesn’t fit well with you.
6. Let your personality shine
Are you a bit kooky? Do you like to have a laugh? Are you very spiritual or are you a straight-shooting, no-BS-er? Don’t be afraid to let your true self come through in your copy. Write as though you are speaking, just with good grammar and a professional tone! Consider setting your smartphone or video recorder up and just sitting in front of it and recording yourself, as though you were speaking to your ideal personas. It can help you to get an understanding of your natural style and the language that you use.
7. Refine your message
If you’re struggling to get your message across while still keeping your copy succinct, enlist the help of another set of eyes, or a professional copywriter. A different perspective can help you shape and refine your message a little more to give it the biggest impact.
“Yes, you get to choose them, not the other way around. You choose them with your pricing, your content, your promotion, your outreach, and your product line.” – Seth Godin
As a business owner, you’re lucky enough to have the power to choose who you work with. These days, your website is so often your first point of contact with a new customer, so getting your messaging right is critical for standing out in a crowded marketplace.