Writing persuasive copy is any copywriter’s number one goal. But what does this actually mean? How does persuasion work? Here is a simple example. You try to recommend a film to two persons: one is your friend, the other a complete stranger browsing the list of screenings. Whom do you have higher chances to persuade?
The answer is simple: the friend. You know what kind of films he likes, you know his favourite actors and directors so you are convinced that this is the right movie for him. You have the right arguments to convince the friend to watch the film with you. This is exactly how persuasive copywriting works: you must sound as if you are talking to a friend, whose tastes and preferences you know.
Buyer Personas – the Invisible Friend of the Marketing World
Of course, it is highly unlikely that you will be writing copy only for your actual friends – that’s a very small percentage of your target customers, no matter how popular you are. What all copywriters do is create buyer personas, treat them as friends and write copy having them in mind.
What is a buyer persona? A simple definition is that a buyer persona represents the prototype of your ideal customer for the product or service you are promoting. However, the real definition of a buyer persona is that you create a semi-fictional person, like an invisible friend. You give them a name, create their personal and professional background, define their likes, interests and pain points and the problems they need to solve and wants they seek to fulfil.
How Does This Fictional Persona Help Your Copywriting?
Let us see now the ways in which having the buyer persona in mind helps you create more persuasive copy when you start writing.
1. You Speak Their Own Language
No, we don’t mean English, French, German or Chinese. We mean the way they speak – formal or friendly, extremely careful with grammar or somewhat lax and spiked with original phrases. Every age group, professional group, demographic group has their own way of speaking. They are not aware of it themselves, but they do notice when someone addresses them in an unfamiliar tone of voice.
Knowing your buyer persona will teach you that you should not recommend a product as being “cool” to a 45-year old, and that the latest gadget is not going to get many sales from the under-20 years group if you describe it as “a jewel of engineering”.
2. You Stop Sounding Salesy
When you talk to a friend and recommend them a product, you are not trying to push a sale. Instead, you actually believe that the product will help them and solve their problems. Once you have a buyer persona, you will stop writing sales copy. Instead, you will focus on the person and their needs and pain points, and you will find the right arguments to convince them to try the product.
3. You Develop an Understanding of True Benefits as Opposed to Features
When you are telling your friend how great your new video camera is, you don’t tell them how many frames per second it has, and what pixel resolution it is capable of and what capacity the battery has. You simply tell them that you got a great holiday film made with it, with crystal clear image even on a windy and cloudy day and that you could film for a whole day before you needed to recharge the battery.
These are the benefits a customer is looking for. But you need to imagine that you are talking to a friend in order to make these benefits surface in your copy.
4. You Add a Personal Touch to Your Copy
A little joke here, an anecdote there – your copy comes alive and it is actually interesting to read. But only if you write the right joke and anecdote. Every person has a different sense of humour, true. However, a group of similar personalities and backgrounds will respond to the story in a similar way.
Adding a genuinely personal touch to your copy is difficult if you don’t know your audience well. So fire up your web browser and start working on some badass market research before actually writing a line. Or better yet, pick up the phone and start talking to your target audience.