Targeting Your Audience With the Right Terms

One of the first things that I often speak about when working with clients in order to figure out how to get business conversions is the target audience.  Most of the time, the client’s first response to “Who is your target audience?” is the ubiquitous “Everybody.”

While it would be nice to think that everybody everywhere is interested in your product or service, the truth of the matter is that this is generally not the case. 

If you sell commercial air compressors, it’s unlikely that elementary school teachers are going to be overly interested in your product no matter how good your pitch is.  If you sell baby buggies, the childless probably aren’t going to be attracted.

Even if you sell something as generic as apples, your real target audience is people who want to buy apples.  People who are interested in oranges are going to be looking elsewhere.

It’s important to take the time to sit down and figure out who the ideal audience is when building an editorial calendar and attracting clients.  This can often be done by going through questions on a voice document – which is a questionnaire that both allows you to figure out your particular “voice” as a company as well as determine who your actual target clientele is.

Many clients are surprised to learn that the group they’re targeting is much more specific than they originally thought!

But once you figure out who your audience is… then what? 

There are some cursory decisions that can be made about your content marketing strategy from it: for example, if your audience is males under the age of 25, having a strong social media presence is going to be more vital than if you’re targeting those who are 75+.  However, there is also a lot of information to be gained regarding your copy from this document – you can write in a way that helps you prequalify your leads.


For example, in the above instance of a baby buggy company, you’ll need to prequalify your leads so that you’re working with individuals that are actually interested in the product.  You wouldn’t want to waste your time advertising on a “childless couples” website, for example, as that audience is well outside the realm of who you’re trying to attract.  Obviously, you wouldn’t put ads on that site since it likely wouldn’t get you much in way of returns.

You can do the same thing with content marketing by targeting your particular “voice” and vocabulary so that your blog shows up on the search engine results for the right people.  Words have more than a literal definition, of course – there is also a connotation that goes along with those words.

Ron A. Welsh has a very interesting piece on the subject, regarding how cultural differences affect a marketing message.  A great example is the color white – in most western countries it’s a color that is associated with purity and marriage, but in Indian culture it’s associated with death.  The color green represents jealousy, envy, and growth in Western culture – but in countries with a heavy Muslim population, it is the color of Mohammad.

You want to make sure that your words mean what you are actually trying to say when targeting your audience.  The Scandinavian company Electrolux came out with the amusing slogan “Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux,” being somewhat unfamiliar with the finer points of English slang.  Whoops.

To bring it back to local copywriting, you need to think hard about the kinds of words that target your audience.  This isn’t just so that you can avoid embarrassing blunders (apparently, Pepsi had to change the slogan “Pepsi Brings You Back To Life” when it was released in China, as the translation turned out to be “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From The Grave“), but also so that you know that you’re targeting the right people.

For example, if you’re looking to target young girls, using the word “cute” to describe your products is probably going to be more effective than if you were targeting lumberjacks.  The word “chicks” is likely to reverberate better with 20-something men than 20-something females.  Sounds a little, uh, sexist, but there has been considerable research done on the subject: check out this interesting article on gender and the use of exclamation marks for a taste.

It’s not just important to define your audience; it’s important to use the right vocabulary to attract them.

Blogging for business isn’t just about putting the words on the page – it’s using the right words to attract the right people at the right time so that they convert.

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Laura Hancock is a co-owner of She has also been a long time writer for us. She writes with a passion for accuracy and flow. While her administrative duties have grown, she is a still a big piece of our content writing services team! Currently pursuing a certification in Technical Writing at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle. +Laura Hancock

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