The No-Fail Tactic to Keep Them Reading

Copywriting is a team sport. There is you (the writer) and the reader. But the reader has all the power. She gets to decide when the game’s over. As soon as the reader is gone, no one is there to read the copy! So anticipate what’s going to keep her interested and intrigued ahead of time. Here’s how it’s done.

Pick a primary target market. (Yes you can have more than one, but the more specific you make your target market, the easier it will be to sell to them. So let’s go with ONE.) Now let’s narrow it even further. I coined a term called “tarket” which is a combination of Target + Market = Tarket.

See, “tarket” is a singular way to look at writing to one person rather than a mob. Get this one concept down and your copy will bond effortlessly with the reader. Because it’s just you and her in the room. (Oops – I let out another of my secrets. We’re limited in the English language when it comes to identifying rather than “he” I suggest if you use the pronoun “she” instead. Your copy will go through a subtle filter that you may find is more palatable to more of your audience than you imagined. Of course, it depends on who your target market or “tarket” is.)

Here’s a million dollar tip for your copy. In general, even educated people don’t mind reading simple words. Simple means clear. If you use high falutin’ language, you risk pulling the reader out of the reading experience…maybe fast enough to click away forever. But there’s a fine line between talking down to your market. Don’t go there. For the most part, Americans read between the 11th and 12th grade levels. Did you know that best-selling books are written for the 8th to 10th grade level? “Reader’s Digest” aims for the 10th grade level, while “Time” and “The Wall Street Journal” reach for the 11th. So Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

Prepare a Fact Sheet for your target market. Write down all the facts and demographic information you know about them. Here are a few categories to get you started;

Age
Gender
Education
Family status
Socioeconomic status
Profession/occupation
Hobbies
Geographic location
Media they consume (including Web sites, blogs, magazines, television shows)

Next find a picture of your newly born “tarket”. Make him or her as real as possible. I have a picture of my tarket I got from clip art. (In fact, he or she can BE real. If you would like to focus on a client or friend that fits the bill, that’s fine too. Just do the brain work.)

Finally give your tarket a name. That helps solidify EXACTLY who it is you’re speaking to in your writing. Here is MY tarket:

Nikki Stanton, a 37 year old divorced entrepreneur with a web conferencing business. She’s Internet and business savvy. Invests most of her profit back into the business. Lives in San Diego in a gated community with her 10 year old daughter, Madison. Involved in daughter’s school and drives her to dance classes. Has a home office making approximately $117,000 per year. Jogs 3 times a week in the neighborhood. She loves to find bargains on designer clothes. And dreams of visiting Italy with her daughter someday.

When I’m writing my copy, I have Nikki pull up a chair and I tell her what’s on my mind in a way she can hear me. Then I write it out.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have male clients or women who are either older or younger than Nikki. It’s just a powerful trick to get me to focus on marketing to ONE person – MY tarket.

Putting yourself in the shoes of your client is the best thing you can ever do. When you start thinking and anticipating what’s going on in their minds, that’s when your copy’s going to start connecting. And that’s what we do as copywriters and business folks.

Article by:

Copywriting guru Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been helping entrepreneurs and copywriters get their marketing messages razor sharp since 1999. Get free access to 5 tips to turn your “blah” sales message into red-hot copy that ROCKS… at www.redhotcopy.com

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