OK – I’m not asking you to get down on one knee and propose to your clients. But I am asking you to think about them as people, rather than names on a list or numbers on a chart.
Who are they?
What kind(s) of business are they in?
What interests them? And what doesn’t?
And what tone of voice is appropriate when you’re talking to them?
Think about it. You wouldn’t approach the CEO of a major global corporation in the same way you’d approach, say, the owner of your local convenience store. (Or perhaps you would…?) They have very different types of business, very different concerns and (probably) very different interests.
More importantly – in the context of sending them an email newsletter or a promotional video – they need very different types of information if you want their engagement.
Put yourself in their shoes
As a copywriter with 30 years’ experience I’ve learned a lot about the marketing tactics involved in writing for different audiences (sometimes the hard way), but, in a nutshell, it’s about putting yourself in their shoes – about seeing things from their perspective.
For example, in these interesting times that convenience store owner may have very serious concerns about security. What can s/he do to deter shoplifters (or better yet, catch them before they leave the shop)?
The CEO may also have security concerns, but they are more likely to be centred on the company’s IT systems. Are they vulnerable to hacking? To cyber attack? To loss or theft of sensitive data?
Thinking in this way can help you to identify which part of your service or product offering is most relevant to your audience – and, perhaps more importantly, how you can best present it to get their interest and attention.
Of course you can do this yourself (in fact you’re probably the person best equipped to do it), but it can help to have a ‘sounding board’ – someone with whom you can share ideas, discuss different approaches, and nail down the right one for the job.
And to get you started…
…here are five ways to ensure engagement.
- Think about a problem your target audience may have – one that you can solve. Describe the problem (in loving detail). Then explain how your product or service can remove it.
- ‘Talk’ to your recipient as an individual – avoid phrases like ‘some of you may know’ or ‘thanks to all of you’
- Avoid using the words ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘I’ and ‘my’ as much as possible. Instead you need to be using the word ‘you’ – as often as you (sensibly) can.
- Keep sentences short and uncomplicated. It’s actually more engaging to write in a ‘conversational’ style. The way you might speak, in fact. Even if it’s not what your English teacher taught you..
- Build each newsletter like a story – with a hooking opening, an intriguing development, and a logical call to action at the end..
Over the next few weeks we’ll look at all these ideas in much more detail, giving you a ‘virtual toolkit’ for writing polished, effective and successful scripts and newsletters.
Scripts and newsletters that will deliver on the level of engagement you’re looking for…
Or – if this simply isn’t something you find easy or comfortable to do – you can hire a professional copywriter. They do it every day, they’re good at it, and it’ll be a year or three before you can get professional results as quickly as they do.
But if you hire a copywriter, do listen to what they tell you. From (long) experience I know that clients don’t always want to hear what their copywriters are saying. But a good one is always worth hearing out.
After all, isn’t their expertise what you’re paying them for…?