How many times have you landed on a web page, read the first two lines, and clicked off immediately?
More times than you could count probably, right?
And while there could be a number of reasons for you to bounce from that page, lots of times it’s because the copy… well, sucks.
You know what I mean. Nebulous “we believe in your dreams” fluff, or boring technobabble that makes your eyes cross.
Or even worse, a confusing and nonsensical corporate mishmash of words that no human alive has ever uttered in that combination.
No one. Not ever.
Maybe in the future, that’s how robot lawyers speak, but definitely not your target customer, that’s for sure.
You see, here’s where so many companies shoot themselves in the foot and ruin their chances of grabbing a potential customer’s attention right from the start.
In order to write an effective sales page, it’s absolutely crucial to speak the language of your target market.
If you can manage this, your words will resonate with your audience. They’ll read their own thoughts and feelings in your copy and they’ll listen to your message.
If you write using the wrong language, your audience will be turned off and click away. That means no robot lawyer-speak (unless of course your target market is robot lawyers.)
Write how you speak
How you should write for your audience depends on who they are and how they communicate.
There’s only one truly universal rule, and that’s you need to write in a conversational tone.
Remember the robots?
If your writing is stiff, formal, or overly technical, no one will want to read it. It should read like a good friend talking to you.
By the same token, be careful that you don’t sound too casual for your audience if that’s not their style.
Depending on the audience, this could mean using slang, using too many idioms, writing in language that might be offensive or inappropriate, or using Internet abbreviations like “lol.”
And while grammar isn’t the most important thing in the world (sorry, Mrs. P.), you should at least make sure you don’t have any horribly off-putting spelling, grammar, or usage mistakes.
Learn your audience’s language
You know what I mean!
Not like finding out if they speak French or German, but rather how they use their language, what words they use, what topics they talk about, how they describe their struggles, etc.
Of course, if you don’t know who your target audience is – or worse, think that it’s anyone and everyone – you’ll need to take a few steps back.
Because the first step in learning your audience’s language is to know exactly who your audience is.
You really need to take the time to research your target market and create a customer persona or avatar that includes whatever data you can discover about them, their problems, and their desires.
And don’t be shy!
One of the best ways to learn your audience’s language is to genuinely connect with them and listen to them.
Be real. Be authentic.
And for the love of all that’s good in this world, DON’T GO getting so excited about how your product or service can help them that you make the grave mistake of TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF!
Make it all about them.
Pay especially close attention to the words they use that could be related to your offer or the problem your offer solves.
Make sure you’re using the same “lingo” as they are.
For example, if you’re using the word “online entrepreneur” but your audience generally says “digital marketer,” you need to adjust your language to match. Try to imitate the cadence, phrasing, word choice, and dialect they use.
Oh, and avoid industry blogs and company websites. They’re usually rife with that boring corporate babble that will end up hurting you rather than helping.
Look for the voices of your genuine audience members speaking.
Where, you ask? Read on…
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Find your target audience on social
Social media is probably the best way to passively learn your audience’s language.
Look at what your audience posts on social media. Join Facebook groups where your audience is talking. Search hashtags related to your business on Instagram and Twitter.
Read the comments on your competitors’ feeds and engage with your audience there.
Start discussions in Facebook groups or on Reddit (in subreddits related to your niche, of course).
Asking an open-ended question, sharing something you learned, putting a call out for suggestions and ideas can all be great ways of opening up a dialogue.
Just remember not to be salesy. People can smell that from a mile away and it’ll kill most conversations dead in their tracks.
If you’re genuinely curious and helpful, though, this can be a great way to form real relationships with your target audience.
And the best part is it costs nothing more than your time and your funny cat meme prowess!
Sharpen your message with interviews
Sounds like pretty self-explanatory stuff here – conduct interviews with your target market.
Check. Got it. Next. Right? Wrong.
Good interviewing is easier said than done.
There’s the building rapport. The knowing what to ask and when. The whole not-sounding-like-you’re-in-an-interrogation-room thing.
Here’s is why having a strategy when interviewing is crucial…
If you ask the wrong questions or (gasp!) make the mistake of mentioning your product, you can pretty much flush any info you got down the toilet.
But on the other hand, an interview can be incredibly valuable if done right.
With the right strategy and plan, you can learn so much more than in a limited social media interaction.
You can speak with them real-time about the problems they’re facing and ask follow up questions. You can discuss common goals and barriers to their progress. You can even get feedback on a competitor’s product that they might be using currently.
And even though it may not be the main purpose of your interview, a personal conversation is a great way to build rapport and trust quickly. This can be the winning card for a lot of startups and small businesses, so don’t discount how valuable this practice can be.
Get out and mingle
Take advantage of any face-to-face encounters you have with your target market and listen to how they talk.
Maybe this is a trade show, a convention, or just some random dude wearing a FunnelHackers t-shirt at Starbucks. 🤷♀️
After the conversation, reflect back on it and jot down some notes on anything in particular that you remember.
Spy on the competition
Last but not least, check out your competitors’ sales pages to see how they talk to your audience.
Obviously, only do this if the particular competitor is successful (duh!). Make sure they’re actually selling their product and that they have an engaged audience.
Don’t be afraid to follow them on social and sign up for their mailing lists. Get on their Facebook pages and click around to see if you get retargeted with ads.
Or use the Facebook ad library to see what type of copy they’re using in their ads. Chances are, a successful company isn’t going to waste money running an ad for very long if it’s not resonating with the audience.
You might already have an idea about how your audience speaks, but using objective data and research can help identify holes in your language and messaging.
Even if you think that you’ve got your message pretty solid, take some time to get a fresh perspective from someone new.
You might learn something surprising.
Did this blog post help? Let me know in the comments below 👇