Getting to “Who” – Why the Person You’re Writing for is the Key to Copy that Converts

Getting to “Who” – Why the Person You’re Writing for is the Key to Copy that Converts
Kate Headen Waddell - Thu Mar 22, 2012 @ 08:22AM
Comments: 14

MaskedBusinessman.jpgWhen you write B2B marketing collateral, one of the most important pieces of background information is the “who.”  Knowing who you are writing for is the secret to writing copy that converts lookers into buyers.  That’s because knowing who the “who” is leads you to answer all sorts of questions that in turn lead to copy that is compelling for that person. 

Let’s take a look at some of these questions and how the answer helps you shape your copy.

Who is the prospect?

Let’s start with the basics. In order to speak to a prospect’s needs, you need to know what their function is within the company. Here, you need to be as specific as possible. Understanding the prospect’s major job responsibilities gives you the insight to focus on how your solution helps them do their job more effectively.

What do they care about?

People are motivated by all kinds of factors – but at work performance metrics are often the biggest factor. Your prospect may have several less than ideal systems to deal with during the day, but if they don’t care about it and aren’t measured on it, that makes it a “small fire” that is unlikely to lead to a sale.

What problems are keeping them up at night?

This is the heart of the matter. Folks will pay lots of money for a good night’s sleep. And what’s keeping your prospect up at night might not be what you think it is. Yes, revenue and profits are important, but if the staff is constantly kvetching about slow systems and outdated software that is the kind of daily grind that leads to sales.

How can you solve these for them?

Now that you know who your prospect is and what he or she cares about, it’s time to lay out your argument. This is often the hardest part for a lot of copywriters, but only because they jump into it in the middle without looking at the preceding points. Now that you know your prospect, this part should write itself.

What factors go into making a purchasing decision?

Of course you are going to finish off your super-effective copy with a powerful call to action. Here you need to understand what your prospect needs in order to go ahead with a purchase. If you have a short sales cycle, you may invite them to give you a call for more information or make a purchase right on the spot. If it is a longer sales cycle with more people who need to get involved, make sure you have white papers, case studies and other collateral for them to download and share with colleagues.

About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, blogging and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at

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