Denver editing
Who We Are
What We Do
Book Editor
Business Editor
Services & Rates
Payment Policies
Work Samples
Get a Free Estimate
Contact Us


Writing Customer-Centric Sales Copy

When it comes to professional writing and editing, experts will tell you that preparing effective, customer-oriented sales copy is dependent almost entirely upon knowing your target market.  The bottom line is that it really is all about your potential customers—they are the drivers—and everything revolves around them.


So, knowing exactly who those customers are—how they think, what they want, what they’re worried about, what their hopes are, how they feel—helps you understand how to reach them.  As a business owner, you must get to know who they are—their average age, their psychology, their fears, their aspirations, their socio-economic status—because “all of the above” is what it takes to connect with them—and motivate them with good copywriting.


You’ll understand not only what they need, but why—and you’ll also learn how much they can realistically pay for it.  Once you’ve accomplished this, you can offer them a product that is exactly what they want—and you’ll then find that they’ll be happy to pay for it!

So, your goal when writing and editing your sales copy is to always keep your customers—and everything you know about them—in mind.  For example, the copy you would write to sell affordable, skimpy swimwear to 14-year-old girls is not going to be the same copy that you would write to promote expensive, anti-aging creams to wealthy, older women.  No-brainer, right?


But how to get there?  Here’s a list of some of the more important points to consider when wrapping your mind around who your customers really are and how to sell to them effectively:


Learn about their most serious, recurring worries—the ones that keep them from sleeping at night.  If your customers fall into an older age bracket, this may be such things as elderly care or affordable special equipment for dealing with handicaps.

Identify your target market’s problems, their frustrations, the challenges they have to face on a daily basis.  If you’re selling software, for instance, this could be ease of use, price, cost of updates, installation problems, and—last but not least—the learning curve involved.


Dig deep.  Find out what your customers’ un-voiced desires are. Sometimes you can gain this kind of knowledge through focus groups.  Another way is to simply socialize—either in person or online—with people who could be your potential customers, getting to know them on a deeper level.

Pay attention to tendencies or biases that are ingrained in the way particular groups of people tend to think and feel.  For instance, male athletes usually don’t make decisions in the same way that single mothers do.  Decisions made by teenage girls are based on an entirely different way of thinking than those made by ambitious, adult engineers.  Worlds of differences here.


Don’t underestimate the importance of language.  You need to understand colloquialisms and jargon that are common to your target audience.  And naturally, if a portion of your market is comprised of a specific ethnic group, cater to the way they think and the way they express themselves—their use of English may be different than you expect it to be.


Next, segment your target market to make your copywriting customer-centric.

As you can see, there’s more to understanding your customers than it would seem at first.  One of the most important things to consider is just how many different categories comprise your target market.  What are these categories—and what are their demographics and the characteristics of the people within them?

Your target-market audience is probably not completely homogeneous, so you need to identify and catalogue each segment of your market—because the pitch to each one will be different, depending upon what resonates with each particular segment. 

For instance, if you sell shoes, do you sell to children, which means you sell to their parents (they make the decisions)?  Do you sell to teenagers, which means they make their own decisions, but are heavily peer-influenced?  Do you sell to adults—and if so, which adults—those who wear typical “workplace” shoes or those who are in recreation mode (or both)?  Do you sell specialty shoes, such as work boots with reinforced steel toes?

Each one of these possible market segments has a different profile, so before you begin to even think about how to sell to them, you need to separate them and define their characteristics along these lines.  This may sound like a lot of unnecessary work, but remember—you’re selling the benefits of your product first, so you have to know what those benefits are for the audience you’re targeting.  You’re selling the features, the “reinforced steel toes” second.

Okay, now how do you get inside their heads? 

You ask questions!  Customer surveys and focus groups are the perfect way to find out what people are thinking.  They can give you invaluable feedback—and uncover information that you haven’t even thought about asking.  Both surveys and focus groups are relatively inexpensive ways of collecting data that you can use immediately to build your target-market profiles—and then guide your copywriting so that it hits the nail on the head each and every time.

Here are some benefits you will reap from this customer intelligence-gathering—in whatever form you wish to pursue it, surveys or focus groups:

First of all, you will find yourself amazed at the number of new things you will discover by just asking people about themselves—and asking for their opinions!  What they like.  What they don’t like.  And why.

Your customers may have discovered uses for your product that you don’t even know about.  For example, it may turn out that thrifty housewives are using the vinegar you sell (for salad dressings) to clean kitchen counter tops and glass surfaces because it’s cheaper than the usual household cleaning product.  Maybe they like to use it to eliminate the odor of chopped garlic from their hands.  Good grief!  Who knew?

Market surveys can also show you what’s wrong with your present product mix or your marketing efforts—so you can apply a fix ASAP.


Perhaps you will discover that many of your customers find your online ordering process to be confusing or too time-consuming.  Or maybe quite a few of them just don’t understand how your product applies to them because the language you’re using and the assumptions you have made about them are all wrong.

You’ll also quickly find out if your product is too highly priced for the socio-economic group you are targeting.  Or you may discover that because your vinegar, for instance, costs so much less than similar products on the market, people assume that it is a low-quality product.


Learning why your marketing strategy is not working may not be a pleasant experience.  But you can’t fix a problem until you know what it is.  And this is all about maximizing your sales potential, so what’s a little unpleasantness along the way?

Your questions should also revolve around what else your target-market wants or needs.  What improvements would they suggest.  People generally love to offer their opinions, so always give them plenty of room to do so.


The answers you get to this “what else” question will not only allow you to modify your present offering to better fit your market’s needs, but those answers may even inspire you to develop a brand new product or service—or packaging—that you had not foreseen.


Word to the wise:  Be sure to provide people with an incentive to answer your questions—something with absolutely no strings attached.  Rather than offering a discount on future purchases, give them a free sample of your product now.  Or it can be another freebie of some kind—something appealing.


This type of bonus will increase participation, while at the same time, provide you with an excellent opportunity to enhance your business credibility and develop long-term relationships with your customer base.  


So, let’s recap...


Knowing exactly who your target audience is will enable you to laser-focus your copywriting.  And it will also help you select the types of ads and placements that will reach them—since you’ve learned precisely what it will take to get their attention.

People usually turn to the internet to solve a problem or to locate information about something.  Your job is to guide them and assure them that you  have the solution to their problem—and the information they seek.

This means that your sales copy must be totally customer-centric and compelling enough that your visitors will go ahead and make the decision to buy from you.  And this is where the strength of your copywriting, your expert proofreading, and your laser-like editing skills come into play. 

Writing great sales copy is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but when it’s done right, the results are amazing.


Denver Business Editor | Boulder Business Editor