When it comes to writing a direct mail piece, print ad, email promotion or other marketing piece, the key to success is speaking directly to your target audience. And while you probably have a pretty good idea of who they are — demographics, buying habits and other basic attributes — they may still be a faceless entity. And this can be your first roadblock to writing.
So how do you overcome the barrier and get your writing on track? Give them a familiar face, someone you're used to talking to in everyday life. Here are just a few of the people I imagine when writing for Modern. You may have other characters or a different narrative, but this will show you how to take the people you know and turn them into the people you want as customers.
Dear Old Dad — My dad was in the hotel business. Bigwig with a fancy office, suit and tie, the guy who called all the shots, from marketing campaigns to room decor. If my target audience is a manager or executive level decision maker of a larger company, I think about how I would sell to my dad. He didn't want any fluff, just the facts — the dollars and cents. My writing cuts to the chase, states the benefits, keeps things lean and to the point. He was a busy guy, so he needs bullet points to skim and an offer that can't be refused. Done and done.
Okay, Mom — Next up is my mom. She worked at a variety of jobs, from a jewelry wholesale business to a travel agency. She took care of us kids and ran a very tight ship at home. Mom was smart, but not a marketing expert. So, if I'm speaking to an audience that may include novice marketers, I break things down like I would for her. I keep it simple but personal, benefits forward without using a lot of jargon. It's about making more money, not increasing ROI. I also provide reassurance that we'll take on the bulk of the work and provide help at every step.
Brad, the Guru — Modern specializes in high quality paper, printing and spot-on color reproduction. When we reach out to graphic designers, photographers, artists or other people that these benefits would appeal to, I think about my friend Brad. He's a talented art director, photography enthusiast and very detail-oriented. After many years in the advertising business, he has a lot of vendors at his beck and call. When I write, I think about all the points I would need to hit to convince Brad to choose Modern. I get right to the meat, differentiate us from his other options and seal the deal with a great offer to get him in the door.
Another tip is to not just write to these people, but write like you're having a face-to-face conversation. Your first draft might be extremely informal. Imagine what you would say and write it down, just go with the flow. Then you can go back and edit things down, break up paragraphs into bite-sized pieces, even bullet points.
And don't forget that offer! My dad might want a basic, but healthy discount on a campaign. A small business owner who's just getting into marketing might be swayed with free business cards. Take a minute to think about the person and how far you would go with an offer to close the sale. Would you skimp on giving a good deal to your mom? Then don't hold back with a potential customer. Their lifetime value will certainly be worth it.
Good luck and get writing!