Which Customer Are You Writing For?

Among the questions I ask potential customers of TWP Marketing & Technical Communications, the following ranks highest: Who is your customer? Which customer are you writing for?

All too often a company owner has thought only about what to say in marketing or technical copy, not who is going to read it. In addition, the company owner might have several potential customers in mind (“people who install our software and people who want us to manage their computers”) or, even worse, aims for the elusive and nonexistent “everybody.”

To determine which customer you are writing for:

  1. Identify and separate customers who will spend money, use the product/service, and operate/service the product. Sometimes the spender will also be either the user or the operator/service technician but very rarely are all three functions performed by one person. For example, people who install your software will often have different priorities from people who use the program–and different levels of fluency in computer jargon.
  2. Speak to the real issue each customer faces: how will you solve my problem? In our example, installers and users face different problems; different users also face different problems. Your job is to cater to those differences. Yes, your product or service may solve multiple problems for multiple customers. But no customer wants to search through pages and pages to find the solution to their problem. Think, instead, of how a car dealership website separates new car buyers from used car buyers and also has separate brochures for each car; or consider an online retailer with separate areas for books, computers, and file cabinets.
  3. Ask your customers. Interview your current or past customers to determine what they were looking for when they chose your company; why they chose your company rather than a competitor; and what you achieved for them. Do not assume you know the answers to these questions from the customer’s perspective. Information from your current customers allows you to more precisely target future customers. Plus you gain some great material for testimonials and case studies.
  4. Ask the publication. If you are writing for a publication, make sure you know who the publication’s customers are. The publication will expect you to follow their guidelines on content, style, and length and will reject any article that refuses to conform.

Once you know your audience–once you know which customer you are writing for–each marketing and technical writing project becomes easier because your writing is focused.

Need help in identifying and focusing your writing on your true audience? Contact TWP Marketing & Technical Relations.

Is This Writing Necessary?

Before you start any writing project, whether marketing or technical, you should ask yourself the following four questions:

First, do you have the time and resources to complete the writing project? You should not hand a brochure to your web designers and expect them to write your website content for you. You should not add another half-finished press release to the pile on your desk. You should not abandon your blog after three posts in 2012. Before you start your writing project, make sure you can finish.

Second, have you chosen the right way–and considered different ways–to reach your audience? You want to connect with your audience where they are most likely to see your message, whether on social media, at events or at their mailbox. If you keep tweeting and no one responds, maybe you need to shift your efforts to Facebook or to paper. Make sure your writing project is the right project to reach your audience.

Third, how well do you know your audience? Note that the question is not “how well does your audience know you?” You must understand the pain points of potential customers and how you can relieve them. Your current customers come to you because you help them. Do you understand exactly why and how?

Fourth, are you a writer? You rightly feel that no one understands your company as well as you do; but your potential customers must understand it, too, or they won’t become customers. You rightly feel that no one takes care of your customers as well you do; but to carry your personal touch over into print, you need great writing.

Sometimes the hunt for resources, ideas, customer pain points and exact words is too great a distraction from your core business. Contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications and let us help with your writing project.