High fives!

You’ve taken that brave leap, narrowed your audience down to one soulmate customer, and all your copy and communications is talking just to her.

Well done, you’ve overcome your fear of niching. And you’re so clear on your target customer that you even know her middle name and how she takes her coffee at Saturday morning brunch. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out my post on the No.1 Reason you can’t find your Tribe).

But hang on…

Even though you know exactly who you’re talking to, and all those little things that give your dream customer Sunday night insomnia, and what they wish for every time they blow out their birthday candles…

Despite the fact you’ve slogged away for hours on your copy, speaking about pain points and desires until your mouse hand has begun to resemble some kind of claw…


It hasn’t made a blind bit of a difference.

What more do these people want from you?!

Don’t worry. I actually see this problem a lot. In fact, in nearly every single piece of raw copy that lands on my desk. These are the typical symptoms of what we’re going to call Abstractitis. And although it can seriously effect your conversion rates, it doesn’t have to be terminal.

Abstractitis is an inability to say it like it really is.  

Imagine your best mate came to you and said, “I’m so stressed and unhappy.”

And you replied:

“You need to be more assertive in the workplace, consciously reduce your feeling of responsibility, and try to immerse yourself in more activities that will induce a sense of calm and relaxation in your life.”

Your friend would probably reply (brow creased in vague confusion)

“Erm…. Okaaaaaay?”

The thing is, that’s the conversation I see entrepreneurs starting in their copy with their customers every single day.

It’s on their websites, in their sales pages – all filled with broad, abstract language, that talks about the big ideas behind people’s every day problems. But forgetting to talk about the actual problems that are playing out in their lives right now.

Throw in a few of your favourite cliche’s as well, and you’ve got some carefully crafted copy that is about as stimulating as the weekly breakdown of the amateur league football scores.

There’s a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly – effective copy is always conversational, and since no real person actually speaks in broad, abstract generalisations, when you do, your reader will just switch off.

Secondly, when you start talking about people’s problems in an abstract way, it distances them from your copy. And from the emotions and triggers that you want them to be feeling – because it’s feelings (not some carefully reasoned logical argument) that drive the likes, clicks and shares.

But effective copy doesn’t just talk to your dream customer like a real person would. Effective copy is specific.

It holds a mirror up to someone’s life in such honest detail, that they think, “Oh my god, that’s soooo me.” It describes their deepest desires in the 3D technicolour of their daydreams.

It makes them think, “If this person knows me this well, maybe they really can help…?”

So, going back to your best mate, what would you really say?

Perhaps more something like,

“Don’t you think you’re taking on more work than you can handle? It’s not that you’re not up to the job, perhaps it’s that your job is just getting too big for one person! Go and speak to your boss. You can’t keep on like this.”

Or maybe:

“We need a Pizza and Prosecco night, pronto. Brad Pitt or Bradley Cooper?”

Thinking about how you’d really talk in a chat with a friend or an email with someone you’re close to is obviously a great way to see if your copy is conversational. But it’s not everything.

You can still be conversational and not be specific.

So be tough with yourself and look at every message you’re putting out there and ask:

  1. Is it so specific that it cuts to the heart of the matter or is talking about ideas rather than real life?

2. Are you using cliches and generalisations that have been written and read so many times they no longer mean anything to anyone? For example, instead of talking about juggling the family and work, talk about how stressful it is being a working mum when office culture values working longer not smarter.

3. Are you saying it how it really is – how things touch, feel, look and smell and actually are in the real world?

Let me know how you get on in the comments.

Missed the first post? Check it out here. Wanna know what’s next? That one’s here.

What if you could press post, publish or send, sure that you’d not made any rookie copywriting mistakes in your latest blog, email or facebook post?

Well, now you can! Just click the link below to download my FREE Lucky 7 Copy Checklist and workbook