Are You Truly Focused on Your Audience?

Focus

Or is it still really all about you?

If there’s one thing that gets repeated at Copyblogger over and over, it’s that the key to effective blogging and online marketing is a relentless focus on the needs of the people you are trying to reach. I often wonder if the next time I mention it, I’ll get an angry slew of comments saying:

OK, OK, we get it already!

Unfortunately, I can think of two prime examples of ways in which many are not getting it. The funny thing about these two things is that they are both aspects of what makes the Internet truly unique as a marketing platform, and yet we often fail to take advantage of them.

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Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques

Want to convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view?

OK, that was a silly question. Of course you do.

Persuasion is generally an exercise in creating a win-win situation. You present a case that others find beneficial to agree with. You make them an offer they can’t refuse, but not in the manipulative Godfather sense.

It’s simply a good deal or a position that makes sense to that particular person.

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How to Get Past the “Don’t Buy” Button

Buy Now

When it comes to selling online, getting someone to take action right now is often the key to success. Many people get excited about copywriting because they believe great copy has the ability to tap into a prospect’s brain and push a “buy now” button that magically produces the sale.

It doesn’t really work that way.

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The Best of Copyblogger (According to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year)

That’s you, remember?

Since the Holiday Season is upon us, and we all have better things to do than read blogs, I thought I would go ahead and shut things down for the year. And what better way to go out than with a recap of what you found notable in 2006?

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3 Coercive Copywriting Techniques

I spent some time recently talking about manipulation and lies.

I told you those two stories so you could see where I think the line gets crossed by marketers, but also so I could tell you this story.

In 1999 Douglas Rushkoff published a book called Coercion, which essentially tracks the evolution of marketing into a branch of psychology. He illustrates exactly how marketers try to influence and persuade you in various media, and outlines the history of marketing as a measured science.

It all started with a copywriter named Claude Hopkins who first applied empirical testing to advertising elements back in the 1920s, and of course things have only become more sophisticated. Massive database profiles, television “programming,” contextual web ads, sophisticated algorithms that make recommendations based on past behaviors—these are some of the ways marketers are trying to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

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Telling People a Story They Want to Hear

I really enjoyed Hugh MacLeod’s interview with Seth Godin (two great reads who read great together). And it was especially interesting to hear about the frustration Seth feels when people sometimes don’t get what he means.

This reminds me of some of the flack he caught when his book All Marketers Are Liars was released. Now, I’m quite sure Seth knew exactly what he was doing when he titled the book (students of headlines take note). But I think he might have been caught off guard when some people didn’t get the real points within the pages (like the reviewer from Publisher’s Weekly).

Good marketers aren’t liars, except to the extent all people are—because we all lie to ourselves constantly. We want to hear stories that fit our existing world views, whether those views are accurate or not. And we want to primarily satisfy emotional needs, because ultimately that’s where we all seek happiness and contentment.

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