Tell Them What They Want To Hear


A big part of producing copy that sells is understanding what your reader wants to hear.

The problem is everyone is different. We all have different dreams, wants and goals, so how can you produce a piece of sales writing that is going to appeal to everyone?

You can’t please all of the people all of the time

You really can’t.

If you try to perform this particular miracle your writing will become confused and unfocused.

My elder son recently returned from a school French exchange trip. Before he left, he was busy practicing a few phrases. His great plan (and that of most of his class mates) was to come up with a conversation that would take place once they met their French families. It went something like this:

Robert: Bonjour

French family: Bonjour, avez-vous fait bon voyage?

Robert: Oui mercie. Êtes-vous bien?

French family: Oui, et vous?

Robert: Très bien, merci, mais je suis un peu fatigué

(Please excuse my French, it’s been a number of years since I studied the language.)

In his mind this was perfect; it would work like a dream and get his exchange trip off to a flying start.

Sadly, I did have to point out that, although it was a great idea to be thinking along the lines of what he was going to say to the family, as being as no one has told them of this cunning plan, the likelihood of the conversation panning out like that was remote.

As predicted, after practicing said conversation with his friends prior to arriving in Arras, once they got off the coach and met their families, one of two things happened: they either totally forgot what they were going to say, or the family threw in a curved ball and asked them something they hadn’t practiced.

The one way conversation

As a copywriter, I find the most effective way to write is conversationally. But that doesn’t mean like the example above. I don’t have a two way conversation going on in my head as I write.

It is rather the style that is conversational. In other words the language that I use is informal, my vocabulary is simple to understand and my sentence construction simple to follow.

Using this style helps build rapport with the reader; it makes the information I am giving them accessible. If you think about it, what would you rather read? Something that is easy to grasp or something that you have to go over several times to understand the gist of what’s being said?

Of course, there are some occasions when a slightly more formal approach is called for, but again by using language that is accessible to all, you are increasing the chances of your copy having the desired affect.

So if you want your copy to hit the spot every time, remember:

  • Write to your audience
  • Talk to them – use ‘you’ and ‘your’
  • Keep your language simple
  • Don’t use jargon
  • Make sure your sentence construction is easy to follow
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Keep it conversational
  • Use story telling techniques
  • Ask questions

Why do you need to know this?

If your sales copy is going to sell, it has to make a connection with your reader.

Over my career as a freelance copywriter, I have written for numerous industries and audiences. The one common factor in all of my writing is keeping it simple.

A frequent conversation I have with clients involves this exact feature. Often they believe that a copywriter is there to make them sound very grand and impressive.


Your copywriter is there to sell your products and services. And the best way to do that is by keeping the copy simple, strong and striking.

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