One of the comments I hear most often when talking to clients about their writing projects is this: "Well, my product appeals to all age groups so let's just do one sales letter and send it to everyone. That'll keep my costs down. After all it's the same product."
NO! NO! and again NO!
The core information and features of your product or service will be the same for everyone, BUT:
Each group of people has a special focus that you need to address if you want to be successful in selling to them.
Let's take seniors and teenagers as an example and let's suppose you're selling jewelry boxes.
Even though the jewelry boxes may look the same, each group speaks a different language.
Now I'm not familiar with the language of teenagers these days but I know they have their own jargon. To get their attention and make them feel that you understand them, it's important to use the language they speak every day.
Just imagine what will happen if you use that same language in your letter to seniors: it will sound like gobbledygook to them and they just flat out won't have a clue what you're talking about.
And vice versa. If you try to target teenagers using language that's appropriate to seniors, they won't relate and you'll literally have talked (or written) yourself out of yet another bunch of sales.
Emotional hot buttons
Everyone has an emotional hot button that you have to push when you write. Each market has different needs for the same product or service and the emotional pull to buy is different.
That means if you're selling jewelry boxes, a teenager's hot button will be different from that of a senior citizen.
Your 65-year old Aunt Ermintrude may not care so much about the appearance of the box and may just want a place to keep her antique jewelry safe, tidy and organized, so your copy should focus on the features and benefits that speak to that need and the emotion underneath it.
On the other hand, your 16-year old daughter may be more interested in how pretty it will look in her bedroom, whether the color matches her furniture and other knick-knacks, how she'll be the envy of her friends because she has something they don't, or how she'll be one of the crowd because all her friends have the same jewelry box. So you see, to get her attention, the focus of your content will have to be very different. (Her jewelry may not even find its way into the box!)
So take the time to figure out how to communicate precisely with your target market. If your information is too general, neither Aunt Ermintrude nor your daughter will feel spoken to and you'll have wasted your time, effort and maybe a bunch of money as well.
Now it's your turn: Review the content of your marketing materials and ask yourself "Is this piece trying to be all things to all people?"
Copyright 2006 Maggie Dennison