Four Quick Ways to Develop Empathy for Your Reader

Empathy is important. Any good copywriter will tell you that.

Understanding your customer’s wants and needs is essential if you want to sell them something.

But simply advising you to “get inside their head” isn’t very helpful.

I mean, that is what you need to do. But it’s very vague.

Here’s what I recommend – Imagine you want to purchase the product you’re writing about, and ask yourself these four questions:

1) How will this product benefit me?

When trying to sell something, it’s only natural to start listing the things that it does.

Fancy features are fun to write about, but they’re not necessarily helpful if people don’t know what they mean.

“Oh, the iPhone 6s has a 64-bit A9 chip? That means it will run up to 70 per cent faster CPU performance!”

Said about one per cent of the people interested in buying an iPhone.

You need to take a ‘benefits over features’ approach.

The A9 chip is probably great. But all I, as the reader, want to know is that my iPhone will be really, really fast.

I don’t care that it has a 12 megapixel camera. I just want to know that I can take amazing photographs with it.

There’s a whole other ‘specifications’ section for the rest, leave it there for the people who are really interested in that type of thing.

2) What are the reasons to not buy this product?

Most people don’t just throw money around.

We tend to take our time when making an online purchase, ensuring a product ticks all the boxes.

If it does, great. If not, then we need to be reassured that this product is worth buying anyway.

Imagine you’re selling a TV – and somebody is looking for a TV with a 4K display.

The TV you’re selling isn’t 4K. But it does have a 1080p display. Even though it’s not quite as good as 4K, it’s still an impressive feature, and an angle you can use to sell the product.

Another example – you run an online service of some sort.

It’s free to sign up, but the reader might be wondering what you’re going to do with their information.

Are you going to sell their email address to a third party, who will proceed to spam their inbox?

Hopefully, you’re not. So tell them: ‘We will not use your information for anything without your permission.’

3) Do I fully understand everything that has been said?

To use the iPhone example again, I really don’t know what an A9 chip is.

It means nothing to me, and that information alone is not going to make me buy an iPhone.

But it’s not just about features. If I’m reading a landing page about a product, I want it to be as easy-to-read as possible.

That means short, concise sentences.

It means no confusing jargon. No clichés.

A long-winded, confusing sentence will make me want to stop. I’ll never learn, or fully appreciate the benefits of this product, and I’ll never buy it.

People on the internet have no patience.

If your copy doesn’t get to the point fast, then the reader will click off the page and never return.

Complicated sentences are the best way to lose a potential sale.

4) Okay, I want to buy this product. What do I do next?

You’ve done it. You’ve convinced someone to open their wallet, and buy your product.

But you can still ruin everything with a bad call to action.

This isn’t just about making the ‘Buy Now’ button really obvious.

It’s about the final piece of text that convinces them to click that button.

Explain to them exactly what is going to happen next, and throw some additional benefits at them.

‘Delivery of this product is free, and only take a few days. If there are any problems, give us a call.’


‘Fill out the form below with your details (we won’t share them with anyone), and we’ll give you a call back at a time of your choosing’.

It’s easy, and dispels any last second concerns they might be having.

Now, I’m not selling you anything.

But that doesn’t mean my blog post can’t have a call to action. I’d love for you to take some sort of action off the back of this.
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March 16, 2017|

About the Author:

Matt is the leading copywriter for Latitude Digital Marketing, and has worked at the agency for two years. He recently graduated from the DMA's Future Copywriters'