Ask any copywriter what the first commandment of copywriting is and they’ll quickly tell you “Know Thy Target Audience.” In order to write effectively you have to know this one group of people and know them well. I guess that’s why many people get so frustrated when it seems they have more than one preferred customer base. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “What if I have more than one target audience?” In all actuality, you probably don’t. You just have different segments of the same audience.
Segmenting your target audience is a very common practice… almost expected even. Let me explain. Perhaps you sell a nutritional supplement. Think of all the people who might use your nutritional supplement. There are adults, pregnant women, growing teenagers, children, senior citizens, athletes, and many others. While all of these may seem to be entirely different target markets, they are actually just segments of the same nutritional supplement market. These people all have a need and an interest in nutritional supplements, but for very different reasons.
While some of the information you provide to each segment will be general and apply to everyone, other information will be specific to that particular segment.
Information Specific To Each Segment
For instance, everyone will want to know the overall benefits of taking the nutritional supplement you offer. Perhaps they can expect to have more energy, lose a little weight, or prevent or cure certain diseases. Everyone cares about these benefits. But your nutritional supplement may offer other benefits that only certain customers would have a need/want for.
Pregnant women want a nutritional supplement that has high levels of folic acid and other nutrients that will aid their developing babies. Senior citizens may have a need for supplements that contain higher levels of calcium (and in a more readily absorbable form). Athletes burn a lot of nutrients and have a higher chance of getting injured so those things are important to them.
Make the information about your product or service specific to whatever the needs of each segment are. You can do this in specific ways through a variety of different advertising mediums.
Segmenting In Brochures
Create one brochure with the general information laid out within its panels. Then create a separate, single panel addressing the needs/wants of one specific segment of your market (seniors, athletes, etc.). When you mail or give out your brochures, simply slip the correct insert into the regular brochure, and you have a custom-designed marketing piece.
Segmenting On The Web
Web sites are also an excellent place to make use of segmenting. Starting with your home page, give general information that is applicable to all your site visitors. Then break out the information specific to each segment of your market. Give a brief description of the details that this segment can expect to find and a link to the page where they’ll find them.
When your customers click to the various pages, they’ll find specifics on how your product will benefit them and their special needs.
NOTE: When you segment on the Web, you also have a great opportunity for search engine optimization. Many excellent keyphrases come from highly specific phrases. So, instead of “nutritional supplements,” you might find that “nutritional supplements for seniors” or “nutritional supplements for athletes” will give you the high rankings you want.
Segmenting In Print
Are you running newspaper ads? If so, ask about multiple placement discounts. Many papers will give you discounts for running ads in various sections of the paper at the same time. This gives you greater exposure and also allows you to segment your market through the use of the different sections.
Before you lump all your customers into one category, take a good hard look. Do they have different needs? Do you see various groups immerging from the crowd? Is there a way to segment your market? If your market is already broken into various segments, what is the best way to reach each group?
Once you determine the needs and wants of each segment of your target audience, you’ll be better equipped to write copy that appeals to them. When you accomplish this through your copywriting, you’ll find yourself with higher conversion ratios and more sales.
by Karon Thackston © 2004
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