Talk to your customers, not at them

talk to your customers not at themAs a freelance copywriter, I can’t say this often enough: We must talk to customers, not at them. And that means knowing how they think about a problem (“how they see it”), as well as the words they use (“what they call it”). 

First the problem: Many companies fill their Web sites and marketing collateral with copywriting about all their features and benefits from their own point of view. And who can blame them? After all, these people are living, breathing, eating, sleeping these products and/or services every day. Of course that’s their focus.  

But first you have to know what your prospect sees as the problem. If you sell mattresses, but your customer sees the problem as being tired all day—not as a need for a new mattress—then don’t have your copywriter fill the white space with talk about your great mattress. Instead, use marketing messages about how a mattress can improve sleep. 

Then there are the words they use. A former We Know Words client was an office furniture manufacturer. They wanted their Web site optimized for search engines, and they wanted to call their products work stations and panel systems and to use those terms in the Web writing. But guess what their customers called these same products? Yep, cubicles. In the company’s opinion, a cubicle was a derogatory term, one made fun of in Dilbert cartoons. But that’s the word customers used…and searched on.  

Talking their talk isn’t just for search engine optimization. You have to use your customer’s words in all your copywriting or you won’t connect with them: your ads, email marketing, brochures, you name it. And if you don’t know what words they use, ask your sales force. They’ll know.  

Until next blog!

Category: Compassionate Copy, Copywriting · Tags:

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