Every copywriter, designer and advertiser; every great book on marketing will tell you to focus your communications on a single segment of the audience in order to get maximum conversion and ‘buy in’.

Every client I speak to knows that focussing on a single audience segment is the right thing to do, but…

Despite all the research and experience marketers have had with direct mail targeting and media buying by audience segment; for some reason there is anxiety about writing for a single target audience on the website.

“But if you focus on segment A, won’t B and C be left out?”

No.

Focussing is not ignoring

I often use the example of the American Diabetes Association website (diabetes.org) in my web copywriter training courses.

They are an excellent example of how to write to a single audience segment foremost, and how to include secondary and tertiary audience segments.

If you look at the home page, you can see three types of content streams: one for the person diagnosed with diabetes (or their parents), one for donors and fund-raisers and one for medical types.

The main audience is those diagnosed with diabetes. You can tell because the majority of the content speaks to them: Diabetes Basics, Living With Diabetes, Food & Fitness – those content categories are all for the primary audience segment.

That content is the focus and it is totally irrelevant to donors (who are hugely important to the financial success of ADA).

But donors get their own audience-specific content too because the ADA has planned that into their web copywriting.

Each segment gets relevant content written with a focus on their needs.

People seek out the information they want to read

Remember this, because understanding the behaviour of your readers will make your web copywriting more powerful.

By focussing on each segment, you create pathways of information for each type of user. They will instinctively seek out the information relevant to them at the exclusion of all others.

This is a good thing. You WANT your audiences to do this. You want them to be engaged and following a path through the site.

But.

Most websites don’t work this way. They generically list all the information in a generic one-size-fits-all structure. (e.g. ‘Services’)

This makes for boring content and boring content doesn’t convert as well as targeted, relevant and interesting content.

For an extreme example of this, check out this post by Copyblogger recommending building unique websites for each segment! Notice the real-world data: specific converts better, every time.

It is possible to stop being a generic web copywriter by understanding the audience segment you need to write for foremost and then following through with supporting messages for the other audiences and their unique pathways through the site.

by Steve Kellas

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