Are You Speaking Your Target Customers’ Language?

speak-their-languageJust recently, I started finished teaching a 6-week copywriting series via webinar.  During the first session, we began the copywriting process by looking at our target audiences.  This seems to be one of the issues that most people have a great deal of trouble with so I thought I’d shed a little light on how to communicate directly with your target customers in their language.

I’ve taught this same process for years in other sessions I’ve done at conferences and seminars around the country.  It seems the example I’m about to give works pretty well at getting the point across.

Speaking Your Company’s Language

Years ago, I worked with a company that developed software for small personal dating sites.  They had a typical problem of speaking their company’s language instead of their customers’.  Here’s a snippet of copy from their old site.

AE Webworks

Dating software quality is one of the main factors influencing your online dating business success.  We are the ONLY software development company specializing solely on dating software and our specialists are devoted to bringing the best product possible. Dating, personals and matchmaking sites powered by our software really do work.

This is a classic case of telling your target customers what you want to say instead of what they want to hear.  But, after doing some research, I quickly found out that the software quality was *not* one of the main factors influencing customers’ buying decisions.

I found lots of forums that catered to online dating website owners.  In those forums were post after post filled with complaints.  These website owners had tried various dating scripts and software and were still unhappy.  Why?

It had nothing to do with the quality of the product.  They weren’t complaining about the software not working.  What *did* they want?  Here’s the list:

  • customizable
  • lots of features
  • free installation
  • lifetime upgrades
  • outstanding support

<Do you see where I’m going with this?>

What do you think I did once I had this wish list?  I turned it into the copy for the website’s Home page.  Here’s a snippet from the rewrite.

Customizable, Full-Featured Dating Software Complete with
Free Installation, Lifetime Upgrades & Outstanding Support

When it comes to online dating software, you have a world of options to choose from.  Whether it’s a basic dating script or full-featured, professionally developed dating software package, the choices can make your head spin. How do you know which one is right for your dating site’s needs?  When will you find dating software you can be confident in?

Welcome to AE Webworks.  What do you get?  In addition to some of the most advanced features found anywhere, you also get free installation, lifetime upgrades and outstanding support.

I used the wish list of this client’s target audience and turned it around to speak their exact language.  They couldn’t help but connect with this copy because it gave them exactly what they said they wanted.

Did it work?  You bet it did!  Here’s what my client had to say

“Overall, running our site got much easier after adding your copy because people ask fewer questions about where to find information… they are able to sort it out for themselves from the site copy. We previously had about 5-10 e-mails a day on average from prospective customers; now we get AT LEAST 15 A DAY! WOW!! So, in short, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GREAT WORK!”

Do the research.  Find out what your target customers want, need, hate and get frustrated with.  Then use their own words in your copy to make a firm connection.  When you do you’ll see an almost immediate, positive reaction from your site visitors.

Want to learn more about writing to your specific target audience, in their language?  Get Karon’s popular web / SEO copywriting course, now available with a payment plan.

(c) 2011, Karon Thackston, All Rights Reserved

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About Karon Thackston

For over 25 years, web & SEO copywriter Karon Thackston has created optimized copy and content that has increased conversions & search rankings. Find out more about Karon on Google+.


  1. Excellent article, and you’re right – it speaks volumes and is crystal clear to me. A perfect example at why it’s so important to speak to your audience colloquially. I’m a huge fan of plain language – it works every time.

  2. Great article Karon! The perfect example that I need. Looking forward on our next class. 🙂

  3. Mike Robinson says:

    Absolutely spot on. There are very few times you would want to talk down to your customers and you almost need to appear like them and talk like them to gain their trust. After all, politicians do this for a reason!

  4. What I really liked, Karon, is the fact that you put all those wish-list features right there in the headline.

    That way, prospective clients get the most important message straight away and are far less tempted to click away in search of another possible solution.

    I’m sure having words such as ‘customizable’ and ‘dating software’ in the heading were a real SEO winner too.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted..Two crafty conversion tricks copywriters can learn from eCommerceMy Profile

  5. Great reminder to research your target market to uncover their needs instead of guessing them then writing your sales copy based on your guesses.
    Herman recently posted..Google Keyword Tool Changes and What To Do About It!My Profile

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