Movies and TV shows have long tried to find humor (and heart) in situations where people don't know how to talk to each other. Older people use long-obsolete slang and cite long-gone figures, while younger people use idioms that literally came into being yesterday or cite bands that no one else knows about.
The theme is tired from a comic standpoint, but there's a lesson in it for writers - to get your point across, your writing has to adopt the voice of your intended audience.
Copywriting doesn't just require conveying a message; it requires reaching out in a way that feels right to the people you're trying to reach. While you don't have to completely mimic the target consumer (nor should you, because it might come across as mockery), you should adopt enough of the language and rhythm to sound like one of them.
Here are a few things you can do to translate your copy into your market's native tongue.
Learn Their Language
A book editor won't get far if he or she uses publishing terminology in front of chemical engineers, nor will a WWII vet using 1930s slang to chat with high-schoolers. Your writing should never confuse your audience or send them to the dictionary, so know how your intended readers communicate before writing your copy.
Your copywriting should read as if it could've been written by one of your readers.The trick is to strike a tone that doesn't dumb down your message or make it fly over their heads. Pharmaceutical executives likely know enough about their market that you can use the appropriate terminology freely. On the other hand, college students don't, so either define those terms in your copy or find another way to share your message.
Understand Their Needs
Common wisdom says that teens care about looking cool, parents care about their kids' well-being, and business executives care about the bottom line. But no one has a singular focus in life, and large groups can be broken into smaller segments. Your copywriting should reflect what your audience wants to hear as well as how they want to hear it.
Stay-at-home moms want to take better care of their kids, while work-at-home moms want to learn how to balance work and family and generate new business. Teenagers generally care about the hot new music, but some want to get an after-school job while others are trying to get into college. Your copywriting will only succeed if it's based on your audience's specific needs, not what you think the broad segment wants.
Know How to State the Benefits
Once you know what your market's needs, you know what they're looking for in the products and services they buy. Most customer benefits are easy to figure out: save money, save time, stay safe, improve your life, etc. But it only resonates if you talk about it in a way that entices your audience and motivates them to act.
Some audiences only need to hear a few magic words. Clothes horses want to know those dresses are all the rage, while gamblers want a chance to win big. Other prospects needs more concrete promises. Business managers, for example, want to know they'll save x dollars or a certain percent by investing in your solutions.
Your business's product and offer might have universal appeal, but your copywriting won't unless you know how to talk to your target audience. Make sure your messages sound like something they might say if they were in your shoes.