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  • Sam Schofield

Why comedians and copywriters need to know their audience

A comic walks onto a stage and begins their set. They start with a greeting: "it's great to be here in Austin, Texas... how are y'all doing tonight?". The audience applauds and whoops. They're happy the comedian named their town and addressed them directly. He begins his set and immediately the audience responds, laughing, clapping, cheering, and enjoying the show they paid good money to see.


Take the same comic, fly them to an unknown town and push them out on stage. Now they're in Marseille, France, and they walk out looking like a lost child. "How are y'all doing tonight?" is met with silence. The comic starts his set and his jokes just aren't landing. You can hear a pin drop. There's a cough at the back, then someone puts their drink down a little too heavily and it thuds the table, then the squeak of a chair as someone pushes it back and heads for the restroom. The comedian is bombing.


Knowing your audience is essential to all public facing endeavours. Whether you're a comic or Coca Cola, trying to sell your products to different audiences the world over takes different approaches. What works in California is most likely not going to work in Berlin. What people in Manchester find funny is very different to what someone in Kyoto is going to laugh at. Similarly, if a company is trying to sell a random product through their website - let's say house insurance - they're probably not going to use the same language as the company selling kids' toys, because they are targeting very different audiences.


These are very broad examples, simply to make a point, but knowing your audience, especially when it comes to marketing, can get very nuanced. And when it comes to marketing projects, copywriters hold a special responsibility. Their words have the power to captivate, persuade, and ultimately drive conversions. However, to truly excel in their craft, copywriters must recognise the importance of understanding the audience.


Defining the target audience

The first step in any copywriting project is, of course, to understand the client and what it is they're selling. Without this, it's impossible to define their audience, and this is essential to understanding and effectively communicating with them. This involves comprehensive market research and analysis and gaining insights into their preferences and motivations. By creating buyer personas, a clear picture of the audience can be developed and messaging tailored accordingly.


Tailoring the message

Once there is a solid understanding of the audience, messages can be crafted that truly resonate with them, addressing their specific challenges and offering solutions. A compelling value proposition should be at the core, highlighting the unique benefits the product or service brings to the table. Additionally, the tone, style and language employed should align with the preferences and communication style of the target audience.


Brand perception and loyalty

Consistency in messaging and brand voice is key to establishing a strong brand identity. Understanding the audience means messaging can be aligned with their preferences, values, and aspirations. By evoking the desired emotions and values in the copy, a deeper emotional connection with the audience can be forged. This connection not only enhances brand perception but also cultivates loyalty, encouraging repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.


Enhancing engagement and conversion rates

Understanding the audience enables the creation of content that captures their attention and keeps them engaged, as well as building trust and credibility. There are various techniques that can be employed to elicit different reactions and responses, and appeal to differing audiences, such storytelling and testimonials. This can further enhance the influence on their decision-making process, ultimately driving higher conversion rates.


Avoiding miscommunication and misunderstanding

A professional copywriter will also ensure there is no miscommunication or misunderstanding in the copy they produce. This will avoid confusion and offense, which could potentially lead to losing a customer forever. One thing to consider (again, depending on the audience and material format) is steering clear of jargon and technical language that may alienate segments of the audience. Copy should be adapted to different levels of product knowledge to ensure it's inclusive and accessible to all.


Audience response

Going back to our analogy about the comedian, gauging the audience's response to their jokes plays a crucial role in how they progress through their set. If they're absolutely bombing on stage, only a fool would carry on with the same jokes, and the comedian should consider switching to crowd work. This obviously has the added advantage of the comic getting to know their audience better. Similarly, with any copywriting, gauging the audience's response through the measurement of engagement and conversions, for example, can help inform adjustments and optimisations to further improve the messaging and drive better results.


By prioritising audience understanding, copywriters can create compelling messages that resonate, drive conversions, and foster brand loyalty. The ability to communicate effectively with the target audience sets the foundation for marketing success. So it's vital to embrace the power of understanding our audience and craft copy that connects, inspires, and drives results.


If you're looking for a professional copywriter for your next project, get in touch with us today via the contact details below.

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