Ok people, I am glad you’re back.
As promised in my last post, we’re kicking off a three-part series that’ll help you (particularly if you’re not a copywriter) learn how to write that classy copy that’ll have your site readers open-mouthed and drooling.
Or, you know, just really interested in what you’ve got to say. Same thing.
All three posts will be about reverse-engineering what your readers really want to see on your website and figuring out how to put that into words.
And today we’re talking about EMOTION.
But first, science.
To quote Wikipedia:
“When a relatively complete profile of a person or group’s psychographic make-up is constructed, this is called a ‘psychographic profile.’ Psychographic profiles are used in market segmentation as well as in advertising. Some categories of psychographic factors in market segmentation include:
- activity, interest, opinion (AIOs)
So here’s the first distinction between tacky and classy copywriting: Most of the time, tacky copywriting is based on demographic factors, while classy copywriting is based on psychology.
Raise your hands. How many of you work in a company that just preaches the use of buyer personas for marketing and sales?
I mean, I think if they really worked as much as we wanted them to we’d all be marketing and sales geniuses, closing deals like crazy at this point, wouldn’t we?
But they don’t work.
Because Suzie doesn’t really care that you’ve labeled her as a 40-year old business executive mother of two with a household income of $150k to $200k and who likes to vacation in the mountains. She couldn’t give a rat’s ass.
What she cares about is what she spends her mornings, days, and nights doing, and why she does those things.
What your ideal customers do and why they do it.
That’s what you’re after here in this first step of writing classy copy: the emotion behind the why.
And while a word like “emotion” feels like a bunch of whiny woo-woo, it’s actually just straight-up science. Psychology.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you sell yoga mats and you’ve decided that you want to target 25-30 year old women who do yoga religiously at sunrise every morning. You know they all make approximately $50k per year, live within city limits, take public transport to work, and work in marketing.
Let me give you the scenarios of three different women who do this:
1. Girl #1 wakes up, rolls out her mat, and starts things off with the Ashtanga Opening Mantra before she salutes the sun at the exact moment that it’s rising and continues on with the rest of the twists, turns, ups, downs, and upside-downs of the entire primary series before she finally lays down in savasana. She does this because she has a deep longing to feel at one and connected with the universe, and knows that yoga is really just an exercise in mending your body and your spirit together. It’s an act of devotion to the universe and herself, and she savors those moments, every single morning. It’s religious, cathartic, even.
2. Girl #2 wakes up, rolls out her mat, and pops in a power yoga DVD. It might start out with a few easy sun salutations, but soon enough she’s dripping sweat and moaning her way through those super difficult balancing poses and one-armed planks until the instructor finally gives her permission to plop down into that puddle of sweat on her mat for savasana. She does this because she’s discovered what it feels like to have a really nice body and wants to maintain that feeling of confidence so she can strut around wherever she wants wearing whatever she likes. She does yoga because it also keeps her flexible, and since time in the afternoon and evening to go to the gym is hard to come by, she just does it at home in the mornings. (That, and Crossfit just was not her thing.)
3. Girl #3 wakes up, rolls out her mat, and picks up whatever yoga DVD she’s vibing with at the moment. She’s got about five different ones, each with multiple workouts on it. She chooses two or three of the 15-20 minute routines to go though and gets going. They might be sweaty, and they might not. But it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that she’s moving, getting her blood flowing, and feeling good. She does this because she’s seen a handful of people who are very close to her suffer from health problems related to obesity and an inactive lifestyle. She knows that she sits at a desk all day, but still really wants to take care of herself, and she’s found this is the most sustainable way for her to do so.
Suddenly that copy you were going to write for a 25-30 year old girl who makes $50k per year, has a job in marketing, and likes to do yoga at home seems completely irrelevant, doesn’t it?
Chances are, if you do have a company selling yoga products, your brand will already vibe more heavily with one of the descriptions of these three girls, so that’s the one you’ll set out to write the copy for.
Because your customer isn’t the only one in the equation here. It’s you + them = sale.
So, why did you start your company? To help people feel spiritually connected? To help them sweat their way through a tough class to have a nice ass? Or for sustainable health?
You see what I’m getting at, don’t you?
Yea… but I don’t sell yoga mats. Soo…. where do I start?
For an example on how to construct one of these psychographic profiles, we’ll pretend you work in a B2B company that sells something to other businesses. (Real stretch of the imagination there, huh?)
First of all, start with your company. Why did your founder start the company? Why does s/he show up every day to do what s/he does?
Then, think about yourself.
What do you do when you wake up every single morning before coming to work? Why do you do those things? Why did you seek out this company for a job? Why is it, exactly, that you love what you do?
Write these things down, you’ll come back to them later.
Then move onto your ideal customers and answer the same questions about them.
Why are they in business doing what they do? What makes them excited about showing up to work everyday, beyond the promise of a pay check?
Write these things down, too.
If it helps, use the paragraphs about girls 1, 2, and 3 above as a guideline and fill in the blanks with information relevant to your ideal customer.
“She goes into the office, turns on her computer, and….. She does this because…..”
Use as many details as possible—especially in the “why” section.
Don’t get caught up in the demographics of your buyer personas. You aren’t really all that concerned about irrelevant parts of their lives, only about what they do as it relates to what you sell, and why they do it.
Note down those things Wikipedia mentions, particularly opinions, attitudes, values, and behavior.
Because in the example of girls 1, 2, and 3? The fact that they worked in marketing or their annual income had absolutely nothing to do with their psychographic profile or their reasons behind rolling out their yoga mats at the crack of dawn.
So only bring those buyer personas in if absolutely necessary to keep your boss happy.
Now It’s Time to Start Engineering Some Classy Copy
With your who does what and why information written out, take a highlighter and mark the similarities you see between what you & your company do and what your ideal customers and their companies do.
These will be the emotional pieces that you use in the beginning, middle, and end of your on-site copy that hook your visitors, keep them engaged, and encourage them to convert.
Note: they might not be phrases of literary mastery quite yet, but don’t worry, that’s where step 3 of this classy copy process comes in. In the mean time, you can play around with them on the pages you’ve already got up and experiment with ways to word headings, sub-headings, and call to action text that will make your readers really feel what you’re saying.
Would you like some examples of things that exit on the web?