Let’s talk about how to write text content for your small business — because lately I’ve been designing a lot of print ads and websites and I see the struggle. In fact, I know the struggle. I’ve been there personally, staring at the blinking cursor on my blank word document when it was time to write content for my website. I had no idea where to start. And I wasted so. much. time.
As business owners, we tend to freeze up when it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) and write the words. It’s understandable. Most of us aren’t experienced writers yet we are the ones who know our business best. When we are just starting out, we might not have room in our budget to hire a copywriter (although if you can swing this, I highly recommend it!). So there we are struggling to cram every bit of awesomeness about our business into a few measly words.
Want to write copy for your business in half the time and get your life back?
Create an Ideal Customer Profile.
What is an Ideal Customer Profile?
It is a detailed description of your audience written in a way that allows you to imagine it as a real person (you might actually base it on a real person). But before you click away thinking this is some type of silly business plan target audience exercise, hear me out. Think about how easy it would be to write about your business, special offers, events, etc when writing to one specific person. Imagine you are writing an email just to them. You would be aware of your tone, you would describe your product/service/offer in a way that would appeal to them and you might even address their concerns. These are the exact things you need to consider when writing copy for your business. If you’re anything like me, it is much more difficult to write to the abyss than it is to write to a specific person.
It Takes Ten Minutes
Do you have a loyal customer who fits the description of your target audience? If so, turn this person into your customer profile. If you don’t know a specific person – you can generalize based on your target audience. If you don’t have access to analytics on your website, email marketing or social media – now is a great time to get that set up. I also challenge you to observe some of your current customers and perhaps even reach out to them with a few questions so you can get to know them better.
There are several areas you should consider as you write out your customer profile. For the purposes of explaining this fully, we are going to pretend that you create and sell creatively designed cakes and cookies.
Is your customer male or female? Where do they live? Do they work? Are they married/do they have children?
Example: My customer is a Female who lives in Southern Pines, North Carolina. She has 2 children under the age of 6 and is married to a businessman. She works as a receptionist at a local doctors office.
What is their name? (you can make one up!)
What is your customer’s goal – as it relates to your business?
Example: My customer wants to create Pinterest-worthy celebrations for her friends and family.
Are there particular challenges your customer faces when it comes to reaching their goal?Example: Jessica is a busy mom. Working and caring for her children takes up most of her time. She has a vision in mind for celebrating birthdays and holidays but any other ounce of creativity is dedicated to getting her children to actually eat dinner. She wants to impress her friends and family with a thoughtful and beautiful celebration but doesn’t have time to figure out how to make that adorable dinosaur cake. Professional catering is not in the budget. Not all of her family lives in the area so she wants to share photos of the event online – even more of a reason Jessica wants someone else to do the cake.
How your business can overcome their challenges:
How does your business address those challenges and help your customer reach their goal?Example: We bake delicious cakes/cookies that are customized to any theme. This means that Jessica can have the perfect birthday party for her little three-year-old without stressing over finding the time to prepare the main event – the cake.
What type of concern might your customer have in regards to your products/services?Example: Because professional catering is not an option for Jessica, she is concerned about the price point. She will spend money on the cake because she can buy some affordable finger foods that all of the kids and parents can snack on.
Where they spend time? What types of marketing mediums do they see?
Example: Jessica spends time on social media when she gets an occasional break at work. She also likes to ask other moms about their recommendations.
When it is time to write the text content for your new website, you simply need to sit down with your Ideal Customer Profile and write to your “Jessica”. You can address her concerns directly and offer specific information about your product/service that solves her problem.
Bonus tip: As you are doing this, keep your medium in mind. Social media posts should be kept short and sweet and paired with an image. Magazine ads have limited space and need to leave room for eye-catching graphics. Web page content does best when it has headings and lists. In the majority of circumstances, it’s best to be short and succinct while including a clear call-to-action.