In a post I wrote back in February, I included “using the same language your readers do” as one of the 5 keys to making your copy more engaging.
In that post, I went into a little detail about why it’s so important to speak the same language as your clients. If you’re not up for reading the whole post now, the Cliff’s notes version is that doing so helps you build rapport and credibility with your reader.
However, what I didn’t talk about in the post was exactly how to figure out the exact language your ideal clients use.
So you could think of this post as picking up where the February one left off.
Something I regularly hear back from new copywriting clients (at least, before we start working together, anyway 😉 ) is that they’re not sure what language their perfect people use.
If that’s the case for you, I have good news: finding out is generally fairly simple. It might take a little extra work, but that work shouldn’t be too complicated.
That’s because it basically involves listening, paying attention and perhaps taking the odd note here and there if you see the same phrases cropping up repeatedly.
Here are three techniques you can use to do this.
This technique generally works best if you’re in a service industry (sorry, product peeps!) It involves going back through the various communications you’ve had with previous clients, checking what they said to you and how, exactly, they said it.
In particular, look at the words they used when they first got in touch with you. Why did they say they wanted to work with you? What were they dealing with that they needed your help with? And what did they want instead?
If you keep notes of your client sessions, look through those too. And of course, if you get your clients to fill out feedback forms as part of your closeout procedure, check the language they’ve used in those as well.
This is ideal if you’re active on social media, and your ideal people are too. Make a point of hanging out in the same groups they do, and pay attention to the conversations they have there.
In particular, listen when they talk about problems that relate to whatever you offer. Keep an ear out for the specific words, phrases and terms they use, and make notes of anything you hear more than once from different people.
Additionally, if the groups you take part in allow question days, actually ask other members their what their biggest frustrations are. And pay attention not just to the content of any answers, but the specific wording that folks use in their replies.
This technique is the most active of the three, and it requires talking to people one-to-one (which means actually setting up some interviews).
To do this, start by figuring out what you most want to know and writing down a list of questions. If you’re not sure what to ask, I’d suggest starting with the first six questions in my Sales Page Planning Template.
Next, reach out to people who are a close match to your ideal clients. These might be folks on your list already, or simply people you share groups with. Ask if they’d be willing to spend 15-20 minutes on a call with you so that you can pick their brains.
(Handy hint: you’ll probably get more people saying “yes” if you offer some kind of incentive: a voucher, freebie, complimentary session with you or similar.)
Then hold your interview. And again, pay just as much attention to the specific words people use to answer your questions as you do to the underlying content of their answers.
I’m seriously about this: don’t try to force your clients to speak your preferred language.
That’s especially true if you’ve created specialised terms specifically for your work. Or, for that matter if you’ve taken terms that already exist in the English language, and given them a different meaning.
Trust me: either way, it can backfire horribly. Let me give you an example – one that makes me twitch EVERY time I hear it…
I’m not sure why coaches keep doing this. Maybe they want to make their programme sound easy and fun. Maybe they believe that their clients are lazy and won’t do anything that sounds like work. Maybe they just want to appear lighthearted and playful themselves.
Regardless, they end up with terms in their copy like:
I’ve asked several non-coaches about their reactions to the terms above; and almost universally, they responded with derision. Here are just some comments I’ve heard:
In other words: that “lighthearted, fun, creative” term really didn’t have the effect the coach who used it was probably hoping for.
So please, please don’t do this, folks. Use the same language as your clients: it’s the least you can do to show them you care about them!
Sometimes, you can have a bunch of terms and phrases that your ideal clients use, and of no idea how to incorporate it into your sales page copy.
You know you need help… but you don’t want to pay a copywriter to write the whole thing for you from scratch. (Plus? You KNOW you need to learn to do this stuff yourself for next time!)
A DIY Sales Page Planning + Review consult is the perfect blend of DIY and professional help. In it, you’ll get:
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