Mmm, you can almost taste the benefits from here.
In a perfect world, a new client would come to you and say “I want you to write me up some copy for my product. I’ve done all the research on my target market and have compiled it here for your reading pleasure. Also, here’s a bagel.”
However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the world is not perfect, and bagels aren’t handed out with freelance projects– and that for most projects, I’m going to have to do my own research.
Research? What’s this… grad school?
Well, as you may or may not know, writing is only a tiny part of copywriting. The biggest part is understanding who your target customer is, and writing in a way that speaks directly to their desires.
Which means, before you put even a dot of ink on the paper (or click even a single key on your laptop) you’re going to have to figure out WHAT their fears and desires are.
What are they going through?
Let’s go with bagels for a little bit.
It’s easy for us to stand on a platform and yell out to the masses “We have the best bagels – they’re delicious and they’ll fill you up in the morning!”
Well okay. But you’re not really talking to me, you’re talking at me.
Here’s something closer “You can pick up a special treat for yourself in the morning on the way to work – and look like the office hero by spending a few bucks for a dozen or so for your coworkers”
Not bad – so now I’m touching on the emotion of WHY I’d get a bagel (beyond needing nourishment, of course.)
How did I come up with the much more targeted second version?
Well.. I cheated a little. You see, someone might have told you I love bagels. And being a bagel lover, I know what emotions I’m going through when I make the purchase.
It’s not because the bagel would truly nourish me. I could eat much healthier things. But for me, the bagel is tasty, comfort food that’s easy to pick up. And I can justify swinging by there before I’d head to a meeting to buy clients something a little extra.
But what if you can’t jump into the customer’s mind on your own?
Yoga…? Far out, man.
Lets say I had to write about something I had no idea about – like a book on the benefits of dog yoga.
I’m not a dog owner, so I’m not entirely sure what drives people to get their dogs to do stretches. But hey – there’s a market for it.
So where would I start? Here’s 4 ways to market research without ever leaving your writer’s den.
1) Pop in some keywords on Google– Okay, take google search results with a grain of salt since they’re arranged based on SEO… not how informative the post is. However, you can find what other people are talking about. Perhaps someone has a site up on dog yoga. It doesn’t hurt to check it out and make some notes about what angles they’re taking.
2) Check out Reviews on Amazon– Believe it or not, this is a FANTASTIC way to get into your customers’ heads. People really vent and gush on Amazon reviews. You can almost hear their frustration being pounded out on the keyboard. Check out products in the same market you’re selling and read, read, read.
3) Head over to Forums – Another place that people share their opinions – very freely. You can even engage forum-goers and ask them questions yourself. Be wary and don’t share WHY you’re asking these questions, most forums contain Trolls.
4) Talk to your Client– More times than not, your client released this product after creating it as a personal solution. For example, perhaps the client’s dog had medical issues, and your client figured out how to help ease the pooch’s pain. They can share with you everything they went through if you just ask them!
Just remember, never skip the research step. In fact, with good research, copy practically writes itself! So splurge some time into the process.
Do you do anything different market research-wise?
Talk to you soon,