Good Copywriting: Finding Your Target Audience

August 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Good copywriting doesn’t happen spontaneously. Like any skill, it takes time and practice to master. That being said, if you don’t know the process for creating good web copy, you can practice for years and never get it right. This article was written with the sole purpose of teaching you that process so that you can practice and actually gain something for your effort.

This is the second article in a series on writing good web copy. If you have not yet read the first article, I suggest you take a few minutes to go back and read it first so that you don’t start off with some of the bad habits that contribute to bad web copy. Then we can begin this week’s discussion of good web copy on the same page (pun intended).

The most important place to start with writing good web copy is with your target audience. In order to write good copy, you need to know who you are selling your product or service to. As we saw in last week’s example, one well written piece of copy is not going to work for every audience. That brings me to our second big taboo in copywriting.

Never try to write beyond your target audience!

Another way to say that is, Don’t try to write copy for everyone at once! If you try to write to more than one specific, targeted audience, your message gets so diluted that it doesn’t appeal to anyone. Better to write 12 pages of copy to 12 different audiences than to try to write one page of copy for all of them. The proof is in the profits. You can experiment a bit on your own if you don’t believe me. For now, let’s talk about how to connect with your target audience.

First you have to find your target audience. Who are you trying to sell your product or service to? Are they male or female? About how old are they? Where do they live? What is their quality of life? Do they work in a certain industry? Do they have specific hobbies or interests? Do they have kids? Do they own pets? What kind?

Do you get the idea yet? You’re envisioning your ideal customer, the person most likely to give you that click that means money in the bank for you. Don’t worry about getting too specific. There are roughly 7 billion people on the planet at the time of this writing and most of them are online. You would have to work really hard to find a target market that’s too small.

Got your ideal customer now? Your target market? Good.

Now imagine that you are that hypothetical customer. What motivates you? What kinds of products and services do you need in your life? What do you want? Are you having trouble answering that? Well, here’s your first homework assignment.

Write a list of all the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly things your target audience needs to buy. Start with the basics of food, shelter and clothing. Be specific. Then branch out into things they need for their families, careers, recreation, and so on. Stop groaning. I told you good copywriting doesn’t happen spontaneously. That’s especially true in the beginning. You won’t always have to do this the long way, but it’s important to do it right when you’re first learning. Now get to work and come back next week for the next step in the process.

Jeffrey Rupe is a life-long student of business and economy. For him, economic issues like “The Great Recession” present a unique opportunity to learn and experiment with ideas in business, marketing, and psychology. Visit his site at and sign up for his e-zine in order to stay current with trends in online business and marketing!

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