How to Appeal to Your Target Audience
Les Mills, the New Zealand fitness group, has led the way in transforming their exercise classes from a physical to a digital experience. Now, they’ve responded to the challenge of limited travel during COVID-19 by using holograms to bring together their global team of instructors.
The effort was enormous; film shoots in different cities amid the pandemic involving many people, programme directors, trainers, film crew, directors etc.
But, it was a worthwhile activity to keep their global brand alive by continuing to put their trainers on one stage. For a company with the mission to make the planet fitter, nothing less than an international team would do.
Holograms are no less effective for digital fitness than watching a trainer on your screen; the purpose is to show and not tell. It’s a one-way transaction.
It got me thinking about one-way transactions in the world of business content and the blogs, posts and website pages that seem to be projecting a message rather than leading a conversation.
There’s a nice analogy between a hologram and business content that doesn’t hit the mark. It might show you a picture, but it’s not engaging with you in the way that businesses need to engage with their audience.
Whether it’s in fictional form or business content, the endpoint of all writing is the same; engagement and the fruit of engagement in action.
Finishing a short story, signing up to a newsletter, contributing finances to a project, recommending services, buying a bulk order of a product; whatever that desired action is, it starts with appealing to your customers.
Appealing to Humans
The most uncomplicated mindset to take when appealing to your audience is to see them as the same kind of soul-searching, fallible, curious, eager to learn, yearning to be listened to and hungry for the right type of connection person you are.
When you don’t take this approach, you may be transmitting a hologram; something nice to look at, but doesn’t elicit engagement, much less drive an action.
When you throw highly technical and unpronounceable industry jargon, you’re not appealing to human qualities; you’re presenting a hologram.
Or if you condescendingly explain every tiny nuance and detail, or if you’re only talking about your business, you’re presenting a hologram.
Words without emotional arrangement are just pieces of information, and none of us has a shortage of that at our keyboard.
So to make more of an impact with your writing to market your business, I have assembled some practical tips to help you appeal and connect with your fellow humans.
1. Include the big picture
The quest for connectivity in the multiverse of society and business is the most common human trait. Can you include a piece of the big picture in everything you write?
Does your product fill a void in the marketplace that was inspired by a bigger picture view? Sometimes the impact of focusing on what gets in the way of seeing the why.
Companies like, Oddbox keep their mission embedded in all of their content, all of the time. Others, like Les Mills, are on a mission to create a fitter planet. Mine is to use content and storytelling to make an impression on the world.
Can you spare some space in your writing or communication to give a glimmer of your version of the bigger picture? Is it simply a visual theme? An image that does tell a story and evoke a response.
It could be your tagline, the entire theme of your blog; it could be an introductory paragraph. Wherever you put it, it’s a symbol to your audience that you are also a part of this world. It’s a message that you’re not just interested in sales or profit but something more significant.
2. Understand who you are writing for
Don’t we all love generic advice about what to create in the marketing sphere? Five must-have things on your website or a list of high-value SEO words to focus on.
Firstly, the problem is advice changes and should never be implemented without translating it for your specific target market. To create generic content is to bypass the whole ‘audience’ element. If your audience doesn’t respond to video, then creating 100 YouTube ads in thirty days isn’t going to hit the mark — despite what the blogs say.
Also, by the time you’re the hundredth business to start creating the five things you should have on your website, everyone else is doing the same. If your content is the hundredth version of something everyone else is doing, your audience may have seen it already and be less likely to engage.
Taking the time to identify who your audience is and, more importantly, what they need (may be different to what they want) will increase your chances of making a connection.
The purpose of the structure is to present your reader with a map through your work.
You’d be surprised by the results you get with your content by taking a moment to clarify the following:
What’s the purpose of the content you are creating, seeking investment, convincing someone to sign up for a newsletter, or inspiring healthy living? You don’t need to state it, but you need to understand it.
Why is the reader there? Have you introduced your topic correctly?
In a blog or book, this could be the title
On a website, it is the home page
In a business plan, it is the executive summary.
Does the content, at all times, relate to the promise, or have you started a little story about Jedi Knights halfway through your blog. It happens, I know.
And finally, have you delivered on your promise?
Getting this flow into your writing takes two easy to implement ingredients; practice and awareness.
Readability is EVERYTHING because if someone can’t read what you’ve written, then they can’t engage. If you’ve created a 100-page investment report that is weighed down with highly technical terms, you’ve lost your reader.
In a generous screenwriting competition, the judges will read the first ten pages of a one hundred page screenplay and discard it if it’s not appealing. Others will read the first two pages.
These are judges that are obliged to read the work; most potential leads or investors are not obliged, so readability from page one is essential.
Readability is flow, and the easiest way to test this out is to read it out loud. If you’re too bored to do this, then a reader probably won’t find it engaging.
Things that slow readability are:
Too many words with too many syllables
Too many long sentences
Repetition; labouring the point in more than one sentence.
As a fellow fallible human, I’ve made many of these mistakes, and I continue to see others doing the same. Most people aren’t obliged to read your work, it’s up to you to engage.
Ff you consider the points above with everything you create, you’re more likely to elicit an emotional reaction, and we know what our customers want; they want to be engaged by humans.
Don’t be a hologram; be a human enterprise evoking conversations with your fellow humans.
Thanks for reading.
I’m a copywriter and storyteller helping my clients get creative with their content. If you want a professional pair of hands to help create your story, drop me a line here.
Or, if you’re interested in similar articles check out this one on Articulating Your Business On An Emotional and Functional Level.