How do you find your ideal customer? In the ideal world, you would conduct extensive research.

You would learn about your target customer’s likes, their interests and occupation.

In the real world, you may only know what pain point your product or service addresses. From that though, you can figure out what features would be attractive, and write about the benefits of buying your product or service.

Often, you need to go mass market, and spray and pray, which isn’t ideal, but it does work on volume.

A real example would be 23andme, a genetic testing service, which I signed up to a few years ago. Why? It promised to give insight into what health conditions may affect me in later life. Plus it was on a special offer.

The company tested my DNA sample, and I got to look at the findings by logging onto their website.

There was little to keep me going back. After all, there’s only so many times you want to read about an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

I quickly forgot about 23andme (no pun intended).

Until, 23andme started to send emails about finding my DNA relatives around the world, and exploring my DNA family history:

“The story of your maternal and paternal ancestors is the story of two extraordinary migrations converging on a single point – you.

At 23andMe, we recently completed a major update of our haplogroups reports that will enable you to retrace the footsteps of your maternal and paternal lines with the latest science.* Along the way, you may discover you share a common ancestor with some pretty monumental figures (Genghis Khan? Marie Antoinette? Benjamin Franklin?). You can also gain insights into fascinating and unusual details about your genome, details that set your story apart.”

They clearly hadn’t done their research, or they’d know I wouldn’t be interested.

My focus is firmly on the future, not the past, and the copy doesn’t push any emotional buttons. I can watch ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ without shedding tears over a celebrity’s family tree.

So, I’m not the best match for their product, but there will be hundreds of people who are. After all, DNA profiling to find out about your ancestors works as well for a teenager in Finland as it works for a veteran in the States.

When writing copy, knowing everything about your audience is desirable, but it’s not necessary for most products. Unless it’s a truly niche market when you need a specialist writer – like me. I write about the specialist nature of one product, high speed lighting ballasts, for Power Gems, a company with a niche market spread thinly around the globe.

The rest of the time, I find that it’s better to write the copy for marketing material and send it out for testing. You’ll learn more by split A/B testing than can be gained by the endless refinement of consumer profiles.