So, you still don’t know who the heck you are writing to? Don’t know how to connect or create that personal image of your ideal customer? That’s okay. We have the perfect tips for you on writing a killer email, and targeting it to the right customers.
There are two golden rules to good writing. (Well, three, but one of them is set in controversial language and doesn’t apply here that much. More about #3 at the end of this article if you’re still curious.)
Creating a personal image of your ideal customer
Rule #1: Write what you know.
The first rule is one that’s pretty familiar to most folks. There’s a reason that Stephen King’s books are usually set in his home state of Maine, and why ex-lawyer John Grisham’s novels usually centers around court cases.
This rule is more focused on fiction writing than, say, business or copywriting — but it still applies, and trying to ‘fake’ your way through a topic is rarely a good idea. Readers will smell a rat and no one hands over their credit card to a rat.
Want to keep your readers coming back for more? Then be sure to read this article with tips on writing a killer blog post.
Rule #2: Know your reader.
The second rule is the one that really, truly applies to all kinds of business and copywriting, and that is — in order to communicate effectively with your readers and customers in general, you really must know what makes them tick.
You should have a firm grasp of their likes, dislikes, habits and behaviors. You literally should have a picture in your head of what that personally actually looks like.
Seems silly and maybe even a bit creepy, but the more you zero in on what your perfect customer looks and acts like, the better you’ll be able to communicate with them. Once you are really communicating, then you have opened the door to transacting with them, selling to them.
Knowing who your customer really is will also help you to generate better quality emails. These 9 tips can put you in the right direction.
So how to conjure up this image of your ideal customer? Where do you begin? I’ll walk you through a sample set of questions, creating a sample persona or “avatar” as I go. You’ll see what I end up with.
Who is Your Customer?
- Is your ideal prospect male or female?Male
- How old is he? In his 20s? 30s? 70s? 30s
- Are they computer savvy? Yes
- Where do they live? Seattle
- Married or Single? Married
- Kids or no kids? Kids
- If kids, do they stay at home with them or work outside the home? Work
- Regular paycheck job or entrepreneur? Entrepreneur
- White collar or blue collar? White
- What is his or her ethnicity? Asian
- Any specific lifestyle or special indicator? Gay
- Handicapped? No
- How much education have they achieved? BA in Sports Medicine
- What is his or her religious preference? Episcopalian
- Does he or she own a pet? Dog
- What does he or she do in their free time? Hike, bike
- Any big dreams or goals? Owning a company that provides tours for mountain bikers
- What is his or her annual income? Less than $30k
- What does he or she worry about the most? Being a success for his family
- Who else has influence on his or her purchases? Wife
- What does he or she care more about – being on trend or saving money? Saving money
- What does he or she know/think about buying your product? He’s intrigued by what others have said about your program but still not sure it’s worth the money
So there are the 22 questions to get you started. Now — what to do with that information? You take those answers and weave them into a real ‘person.’
So — let’s create a Doug . . .
Doug is 32. His family is originally from Korea but they moved to the United States before Doug was born. He grew up in New York City, where he eventually became a successful accountant. It’s also where he met his wife, a special needs teacher.
When his then fiancée was offered the chance to teach in a coveted Seattle school, they jumped at the chance to move to a more “nature focused” city. They sold their pricey NYC apartment, moved, got married and became pregnant, all within one year.
Now he stays home during the school year with the baby while she teaches. In her summers off, she stays home with the baby while he works at various Seattle-area mountain biking camps and touring companies.
Doug’s dream is to open his own tour guide company for tourists who are interested in exploring Washington’s various trails. He’s got some savings from his NYC days and is careful with it, but he’s looking for ways to jump start opening his business, while balancing time raising his son.
There you go — progressive, athletic, passionate Doug! Can’t you just see him? Now I bet you if I asked you to pull up the last email you wrote to your audience, and charged you with tweaking it so it was tailor-made to Doug, you ’d have a very different email by the end of the exercise., and that’s what we’re going for here.
This is profiling, but the good kind. The kind that is going to make writing to them easier (and dare I say, even more fun?) and the kind that’s going to make your future business decisions even simpler to make.
First, by knowing your reader, you’ll know how to sell to your reader and how to talk to him or her. You’ll know what buttons to push and how to push them and when to push them. Let me show you a before and after so you can really see the difference between ‘writing blind’ and writing with a “Doug” in mind.
General Audience Email:
Fall is in the air and so are the savings. How’s your business faring? If it’s not yet booming, ask yourself why! Today I’m offering a once in a lifetime new bundle of products that will save you 40%. Why work for someone else when you can build your own business at home? My award winning workbook and webinar package can take you to the next level! Click here to
take advantage of this offer today!
If you’re anything like me, you probably have 14 seconds to read this email before you have to get back to that thing you call life. You know, the thing that makes you juggle something new and be somewhere else every hour. Heck, every half hour. But I promise I’ll be fast. You can read this new (limited time, though!) offer and still have time to knock off the rest of the stuff on today’s To Do list. Promise.
What if you could finally make that jump and hire someone to help you with everything else you have going on, so you can finally focus on building your business? I’ve got something for you that can speed this process up and slow your life down a bit.
My award-winning system has proven to work with my other clients and taken them from cramming their dream businesses on nights and weekends (sound familiar?) to being able to immerse themselves as much as they want to during the day, while still finding time for their families. Click here now to read their stories.
See the difference? In the first email you can almost hear how much the writer is forcing themselves to think of something to say. That email all but creaks with effort. The second one flows and is far more persuasive. That’s because it’s far more personal. By keeping Doug’s family, priorities, and passions in mind, it’s easier to connect your product with their needs and wants.
The other thing that a customer persona can do is help you make some decisions about what to offer your customers. Should you drop the price or add more features? Try dropping the price first. Doug is watching his wallet more closely than he is chasing bells and whistles.
So go ahead and start thinking of your own customer persona. Remember, make him or her specific but also ‘iconic’. You want to be talking to a specific person but reaching a real demographic. Also, don’t be afraid to put negative stuff in the subject line of your email. Knowing what your person dislikes or bad habits they themselves have is every bit as useful as figuring out what they like!
Once you have your proverbial arms around what your ideal customer is like, communicating and selling to them will become easier and more fun.
P.S. – Still wondering what that third rule of writing is?
It’s “Kill Your Babies.” Ouch, right? It’s just a dramatic way for writing teachers to show their students that they must be ruthless when editing. No matter how much one loves a specific turn of phrase in something one has written, if it doesn’t serve the rest of the piece, you must delete it. No matter how ‘cute’.
So — who is your ideal customer? What is your favorite marketing or writing rule of thumb?
Tell us in the comments below.
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Nthateng Kunutu says
it is important to always know the customer in any business, i have learned that business exist because of a built relationship with customers & clients. Thank you for this article it is truly relevant .
Thanks for the kind words. Glad you liked it.