“Trick or treat!” That’s what adorable kid-size witches and goblins say every Halloween when they land on your doorstep. But they don’t really mean it. They mean treat. And treat alone. Try tricking some sugar-starved 6 year-old instead and see what happens. Talk about scary. The point is you need to know your audience. The more you know, the more you can complete a smooth, successful and tear-less transaction. This is also true in marketing communications.
As a copywriter, I think it’s important to treat my readers like sophisticated business people, not simple folks. Tricking them into opening an e-mail or brochure with a clever line is one thing (see opening line of this blog). But when it comes to getting them to take the next step—to attend, exhibit, join, donate, read—I need to know what matters to them.
Are they more concerned about going broke than going green? Would heartfelt testimonials inform their opinion or are they more apt to respond to facts and figures? My writing should appeal not repel. Spending a little extra time conducting phone interviews, attending events, reading trade magazines or all of the above really goes a long way in developing copy that speaks directly to the audience I’m trying to reach. When they respond with a click-through to register, well, that’s like giving candy to a copywriter; in other words, it’s a real treat.
In the spirit of the season, here are pictures of me from Halloween 2008. I went as the Grammar Police. This year, I’m thinking of going as Grammar Queen. Anyone have a tiara I can borrow? And please share your costume and copywriting strategies as well!