The first rule of copywriting
The first rule of copywriting is to write for your audience.
Everything you write should be focused on the people you want to read it.
So if your copy is all about you, what you do and how amazing you are, you might want to rethink that.
Because what your ideal customers really want to read about is what’s in it for them.
And that’s what this article is about — making your copy more customer-focused and giving your ideal customers exactly what they need.
10 Tips to make your copy more customer-focused
1. Get to know your ideal customers
Who are your ideal customers?
You probably already have some ideas about who’s going to buy what you’re offering and why, but those ideas are just a starting point.
To write effective copy that’s going to speak to them and influence their purchasing decisions, you need to understand them on a deeper level.
Here are some simple questions you might think about to help you get started:
- How old are they?
- What jobs do they have?
- What spending power do they have?
- What kind of lifestyle do they have?
- What interests them?
- What’s valuable to them?
- What problems/challenges do they have?
- What do they most want/need?
- What’s motivating them?
- What’s holding them back?
You’ll probably use different questions for B2B and B2C customers. If it’s B2B — which means you’re selling to other businesses — the purchasing decisions will likely be more logical and economical, with an emphasis on ROI. If it’s B2C — which means you’re selling to consumers — then, depending on what you’re selling, those decisions might be more emotional, aspirational and driven by want rather than need.
When you’ve gathered the relevant information, you need to understand where you fit in and how you can help them, you can create a profile of your ideal customer.
2. Focus on your customers’ needs
What do your ideal customers need from you that will convince them to buy?
Some things to think about:
- The product information they’re going to need — and include it
- The questions they’re likely to have — and answer them
- Why they should buy from you — and show them the benefits of doing so
- What will change when they buy from you — and paint them a picture
- The objections they might have — and counter them.
3. Use the right tone
You need to make sure the tone of your copy is right for the audience you’re talking to.
Tone is less about what you say and more about how you say it.
For example, the way you talk to your 80-year-old grandma will be different to the way you talk to your best friend.
To establish the right tone for your copy, you need to go back to those customer personas you created and imagine yourself talking to those people.
You need copy that:
- Will resonate with and appeal to them
- Describes their problem with a clear understanding of how it affects them
- Has the right personality and ‘voice’
- Will stimulate, inspire and motivate them.
4. Use the right language
You need to use language your ideal customers can identify with and understand.
For the best results:
- Use the kind of language your customers are using themselves
- Avoid using ‘inside’ words and jargon
- Explain any industry terminology that may be unfamiliar to them
- Write out the full versions of any acronyms you use.
5. Write with emotion
In this interview, Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman tells us that 95% of our purchasing decisions take place in the subconscious mind.
And that the best way to reach the subconscious minds of your ideal customers is by writing with more emotion.
- Be clear about the emotional response you want to create
- Include more emotive words in your copy
- Use the same language your customers are using when you talk about their problem and your solution
- Talk about things your ideal customers care about and are emotionally attached to.
6. Counter their objections
Your ideal customers may have reservations about buying what you’re offering. The trick is to intercept those reservations before they take hold by countering them with the benefits that outweigh them.
Forbes identifies four types of sales objections:
- Lack of need
- Lack of urgency
- Lack of trust
- Lack of money
Let’s look at each of those in a little more detail.
Lack of need
Your ideal customer has to need what you’re offering.
To convince them, you need to focus on:
- Your value proposition
- The benefits for them
- Outcomes and results.
Lack of urgency
Your ideal customer has to need what you’re offering right now. Not in three months’ time when they think they might be ready.
To convince them, you need to show them:
- What they’re missing out on if they wait
- How their competitors are getting ahead by acting now
- What the near future could look like for them if they act now.
Lack of trust
Your ideal customer has to trust you can do what you say.
To convince them, you need to show them:
- Stories of how you’ve helped other businesses
- A thorough understanding of their business and their problems
- Social proof, such as client interviews, testimonials and reviews.
Lack of money
Your ideal customer has to be able to afford what you’re offering.
Lack of money is one of the biggest and most common objections you’ll face — and it can also be the objection that’s most difficult to counter.
It might not be clear if your prospect doesn’t have the money or just doesn’t want to spend it, so you could try negotiating by showing them how the:
- Benefits will outweigh the cost
- Results/returns will be quick enough to offset the outlay.
You can also have some entry level or reduced scope options in your offering for those with smaller budgets.
7. Show them some proof
One of the best ways to convince your ideal customer that what you’re offering is perfect for them is to show them social proof.
Depending on your offering, this could be in the form of:
- Testimonials or reviews
- Case studies
- Customer interviews
- Product demonstrations.
8. Make it easy to consume
Your copy should be easy to digest. And, by that, I mean easy to read and easy to understand. Because your ideal customers don’t want to have to read something ten times when once should be enough.
To do this:
- Break your copy into short manageable paragraphs
- Use short simple sentences that make clear points
- Phrase your sentences plainly and articulately
- Be clear and specific — avoid ambiguity
- Be concise — avoid wordiness and waffle.
9. Change ‘we’ and ‘our’ to ‘you’ and ‘your’
Customer-focused copy talks more about you and your and less about we and our.
If your website has too much we and our in its copy, it can sound self-centred.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to tell.
How customer-focused is your copy?
You can check how customer-focused your website copy is by using the Customer Focus Calculator.
When you arrive on the site, enter your website URL and company name.
The tool will do its thing, then give you a percentage breakdown of how much you focus on your customer versus how much you focus on yourself and your business.
If you have it right, your customer focus should outweigh your self focus by a huge margin.
How to fix self-centred copy
If your copy contains more we and our than you and your, it’s often easy to turn it around.
Here are just a few examples of how you might reword some sentences for the better:
❌ We’re a professional company with expertise in online communications.
✅ To enhance your online presence you need a professional company with expertise in online communications.
❌ We sell a wide range of quality, cut-price, kitchen and bathroom tiles from our showroom in Nottingham.
✅ When you visit our Nottingham showroom you’ll find a wide range of quality, cut-price tiles for your kitchen or bathroom.
❌ We promise that our mobile phone offers are exclusive to us and are not available anywhere else.
✅ If you buy your mobile phone from us, you’re guaranteed an exclusive deal that you won’t find available anywhere else.
❌ We’re pleased to offer membership to our gym, which features some of the best health and fitness facilities in the area.
✅ When you become a member of the gym, you’ll have access to some of the best health and fitness facilities in the area.
10. Make them feel good about it
Finally, if your ideal customer going to say yes to buying from you or working with you, make them feel good about their decision.
Don’t make them feel like they’re coming to you because they’ve failed or that they don’t know what they’re doing. Nobody wants to feel like that.
Use positive, inspiring and energising language, then finish with an empowering call to action.
Do you need help with copywriting?
If you’re struggling to find your customer focus, you’re not alone — and it’s probably because you’re too close to your business.
Seeing things from your customers’ point of view requires a level of objectivity that many business owners find difficult to achieve.
This is where hiring a professional copywriter can help.
I’m Jenny Lucas, a freelance copywriter based in Leicester, at the heart of the UK.
I’ve been writing customer-focused copy for businesses since 2011 and I know how to research exactly what your customers need.
If you’d like to find out more about working with me: