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Why Is It Important to Understand Demographics as a Copywriter?

Copywriting can be a difficult process if you do not understand your demographic. Trying to construct a piece of copy that sells a business, product or service and is unique enough to make an impact on an audience can be challenging.

Having a clear identity as a brand is vital when writing for a specific audience, therefore, knowing the demographic that you are writing for is an integral part of copywriting. If you are writing for people within a specific industry, explaining certain terms and phrases may not be necessary, whereas if you are writing for a broader audience, you may be required to make your content more easily digestible.

If you want to tailor your copywriting to its intended audience, you need to know exactly who your audience is.

What is a demographic?

Demographics are statistical data that represent the characteristics of populations and subsets of a population. These characteristics typically include age, race and gender, and for more specific research, they can include family income, qualifications, marital status, nature of employment and more.

Demographic data within the marketing industry is used by businesses to help develop marketing strategies and advertising campaigns in order to create a target audience and appeal to a specific group of consumers. Businesses will commonly use demographic-based targeted advertising strategies to approach leads to sales and increase brand awareness.

What is the difference between a demographic and a target audience?

A common misconception is that a demographic and a target audience are the same thing, and while you can’t have one without the other, there are some key differences. Demographic targeting encompasses and applies impersonal information such as age and gender without creating a face to front the collected information. For example, a demographic target could be ‘a 25-year-old female’. Consider a demographic as the first stage of creating a target audience for a product or service.

Target audiences, however, focus on real people with genuine interests and passions. Target audiences take the information gathered from demographic research and add a face to the information. Target audiences allow you to reach people based on who they are uniquely, their personal interests and habits, what they are actively searching for and how they have interacted with your business, product or service. For example, a target audience member could be a ‘25-year-old luxury traveller and book lover’.

Once all of the demographic data about the consumer of a specific product or service has been researched and compiled, you can begin creating a target audience and understanding how best to communicate with them. The majority, if not all, of advertisement and marketing companies, will begin by identifying their ideal target audience before writing any content.

How do brands establish a demographic?

In order to sell a product or service effectively, it is important that you are aware of who you’re trying to reach with your marketing. One of the best methods of understanding your customers is by identifying your business’s target demographic. Understanding the demographics of current and potential customers can help transform a business.

The most common way a business will identify who its demographic is is through research. Below are some of the most efficient methods of gaining information on your audience:

1). Define your business

In order to understand your demographic and target audience, you must first understand your business. Think about the products and services you provide and what needs and interests you are meeting for your customers. Identifying these goals will help you determine the sort of consumers you want to reach.

For example, Nike’s original target was heavily aimed towards athletes. With ads utilising well-known sports stars, Nike built a reputation as a renowned sports brand. With the brand becoming more utilised in fashion, they have expanded its marketing to be on trend and to appeal to a wider, less athletic audience, without losing its original demographic.

2). Analyse current customers

If you are already selling a product or service, you can make your audience more defined by looking at the demographics that you already reach. If you have a digital presence, there are analytic software and tools that can help you find this information. You can analyse the age, gender, location, occupation and digital journey of your customers.

Depending on your target audience, you may want to maintain your existing marketing to reach the same or similar market, or change your strategy to attract new and different customer types.

3). Primary demographic research

A tried and tested way to gain insight into your current and potential customers is the old-fashioned way. Primary market research enables you to reach out directly to your customers and ask specific questions about participants’ opinions regarding your product or service. For example, you can ask them what they enjoy about it or what could be improved.

Once collected, you can categorise respondents into different demographic groups, such as age, gender or income level. After evaluating results, you may find that your products are received better by a different demographic than you initially thought.

4). Review your competitors

A great way to define and assess your target demographic is by looking at your direct competitors within the industry. You can look at their marketing efforts to help you understand what type of customers they are trying to appeal to and how their techniques differ from yours. 

Competitor research can help you identify gaps within the market and alter your focus toward a demographic that is not yet reached by your competitors. Alternatively, you may find that their product does not offer all of the features that yours does, or does not cover the pain points of the consumer, allowing you to focus your marketing strategy on highlighting those features.

What is the importance of a demographic to a copywriter?

Being familiar with which demographics are visiting your websites and reading your content is extremely valuable and can help you in the following ways:

  • Understanding your audience – when you have an understanding of who your audience is, it is much easier to identify their needs, why they’re reading your content and how it can overcome their pain points. Understanding your audience helps reach your goal of turning readers into customers.
  • Reach the correct people – with collected data regarding a certain group of people who have an interest in your content, you can start targeting that demographic more personally throughout your content.
  • Increase relevance – by understanding your identified demographic, you can focus on them and create engaging and relevant content for them. By making your content more relevant to a specific demographic, you can generate awareness, interest and engagement within that audience.
  • Find new audiences – with your demographic research, you may find some new and unexpected demographics which can then be targeted throughout your content.
  • Increased efficiency – writing for everybody can be a time-consuming and costly venture when it comes to content creation. Therefore, with a narrower audience and a more specific target, you can spend more time on relevant and targeted content that you know will generate a better response.
  • Better response – responses and leads are the end goal of any content creation. By reviewing and improving your content to be more personable and relatable to your demographic and target audience, you will be able to reach and engage more people who are likely to turn into customers.

When using demographics to tailor your copy, it is important to ensure that you do not limit yourself to focusing too stringently on your target demographic, as you risk ostracising potential customers who do not fit that profile.

It is important to predominantly target your established demographic, however using your knowledge of the product or service that you’re providing in your copy to reach out further to potential customers is a great way to appeal to a wider market.

How to Write for a Demographic

A crucial part of writing copy and creating content that appeals to your audience is the kind of language and words that you use. Your lexical choices and structure should always reflect your brand’s tone of voice and should resonate with the audience that you are targeting.

For example, if you are targeting a younger audience demographic, your writing style and lexical preferences would be different in comparison to writing for an older demographic. The same rule applies to different classes of audiences, such as from a B2B perspective, the linguistic choices and style of writing used in your copy would differ from that used in copy targeted to a small, local business.

If you truly want to utilise demographics and your understanding of an audience within your copywriting, ensuring that they are the main focus is key. Your audience should be at the forefront of your copy, and with a good understanding of demographics, you can ensure that this is achieved.