Who’s your audience

Recently I was reading an article talking about a new online web service I was interested in buying. Because it was something I hadn’t used before, I clicked over to the Demo page to see the demonstration of the service. I stared at the page for about a minute before I decided to navigate away.

The reason?

The first step told me how to log in to the product. It presented me with a generic login screen, and told me to enter my username and password.

This might not seem like such a terrible mistake, but what bothered me was that they had included the information in the first place. It’s 2012, and it’s reasonable to assume that most people looking at this product have logged in to something (a website, an application) on their computer before. If this were 1998, I would understand including this step, as it was a new thing for users, but today?

Think about your audience

That page highlighted one of the biggest rules in writing: know your audience. And it’s one of the first things you should communicate to any copywriter you work with. Who are you speaking to? Existing customers or prospects?

If it’s prospects, are they familiar with your company? What about your basic products and services?

Are they savvy developers or busy product managers?

Not only do you need to figure this out, but you also need to tell your copywriter. A copywriter needs to visualize the person they’re writing to, and in some detail. It can’t be some generic “Software purchasing manager” type of title.

Getting to know this audience helps copywriters do their work. Knowing how they speak, what they are like, and what the care about. All of this (and more) help the copywriter choose the right words and tone to speak to them. Their copy will truly “sing”, and that means more business for you.

How do I figure out who my audience is?

  • Look at your current customers. What type of technology user are they?
  • Read trade publications, letters, etc. to find out what potential customers are struggling with.
  • Talk to people through social media and in-person at trade shows and conferences.

These are only three ways to research your audience, there are more out there available to you. Chris Brogan took a survey of his readers to find out why they read his blog [chrisbrogan.com].  Copywriter Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero of Red Hot Copy developed a whole new marketing term for this: TARKET (target + market). She uses it to explain how to “collect research and refine it to speak to a single person in your demographic.”

There is no right or wrong way to find out who your audience is for your product. Or your marketing campaign. Or your next email. What other ways have you been using to find your audience?