It happens all too frequently with novice copywriters. In fact, many pros also make the same mistake. Telling your site visitors what you want them to know instead of what they want to hear is never a good idea. And, the fact that this happens so regularly truly confuses me because every day - all day long - we tailor our communication to those around us. For some unknown reason, we start telling instead of sharing when we write copy.

In order to convey our marketing message effectively to those we are trying to persuade, we have to know who they are and what they want. Then we must communicate in such a way that we motivate them to take action. But, how?


The first step is always to think about your target customer. Aside from market research and target audience analyses, just simply think about who your customers are and what they want. Let me give you a very basic example.

Let's say you bought a car. You'd want to share that bit of good news with the important people in your life. So, you decide to write an email to your best friend. You tell him that this hotrod will go from zero to sixty in three-quarters of a second, that you crank the stereo up so loud it can be heard for blocks around, that all the guys are winking at you at the stoplights and that - even if it means taking money from your kids' college funds - you've finally gotten the car you've always wanted. Your best friend is sure to be green with envy. But, let's say you wrote another letter to your… mom.

Now, which of the things on the list above do you think your mother would be thrilled to hear? Not many! Of course not: she's a mom. What do moms want to know? That the car has the highest safety rating, that it ranked high in Consumer Reports, that you got a great deal and you bought the extended warranty, etc., etc.

The core message stays the same: "I bought a new car." But, the way you tailor the details changes to fit your audience. It's really just common sense.


There are lots of ways to find out what's on the minds of your target customers. You can visit online forums, read blogs or pick up industry-related magazines. You'll want to be sure to read the comments on blogs and forums, not just posts or articles. You'll find out specifically what your target market has on its mind when you read the comments.


If applicable, visit sites that post product or service reviews and read those. For every complaint, think of ways you can construct your copy to show your offer as the solution to the problem. For every compliment, think of ways to align your product or service with the best benefits named by the reviewers.

Survey and other similar-type websites offer web-based software. Most allow you to use their product free if you do small surveys (10 questions or less). And 10 is plenty to start with. Put a link to your survey on your website where visitors can easily see it. You'll usually get a better response if you allow the answers to be anonymous and also if you offer a chance to register to win something. Twenty-five dollar or $50 Amazon gift certificates, a gift certificate for your products or services and other such things make good prizes.

Whatever method(s) you use, don't guess! Take the time to actually find out who you're communicating with before you begin to write. Your effort will be rewarded with higher conversion rates and a greater sense of satisfaction in your copywriting abilities.

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