Research is a form of information gathering, where you’re examining the market in which your client’s product is to be sold, and the target audience.
You might not get all this information from your clients, so it may involve jumping onto Google and spending some time investigating the competition, and studying the target audience.
You see, as a copywriter, you might not be doing the work of promoting the product, but you still need to know what the competition is, and what they’re up to, because…
One of the questions a potential customer might ask (either directly, or in their mind) is, “Why should I buy THIS product instead of X, Y or Z?” (where X, Y and Z are competing products).
If your sales copy can’t successfully answer that question, then your clients may lose the sale to X, Y or Z.
This is why copywriters emphasize “unique selling propositions” (USPs) where possible. These are basically reasons why they should use YOUR client’s product, instead of a competitor. They are the ideas that stand your client’s product out from the crowd.
For example, in my report Write To More Money I advise writing services and freelance writers to set themselves apart by losing glib statements like “high quality writing” and “professional” – every writer says these things – and to really “sell the difference” as I call it; and also craft some genuine USPs, such as:
“We will craft your blog posts so they hook people in the moment they start reading, and won’t let them go until they’ve subscribed to your blog.”
Now THAT’S a writing service I’d consider using! “High quality” and “professional” say nothing to me, because I already expect those things (and besides, even poor quality writers make those claims of quality and professionalism).
So you first of all need to know what the competition are offering, and what are their USPs. How do they pitch their products? What offers, if any, do they run?
If you can come up with something you know your clients can deliver, that can essentially set them apart as different, unique or better in the marketplace, then you’re helping them to potentially get more sales, and to pre-empt the “Why should I use you instead of…?” objection.
Get Into The Minds Of The Target Audience
The other thing you need to research is the target audience. Who are they? Why might they buy? What are their hopes, dreams and fears? What problems and challenges do they face, that might lead them to consider buying the product?
Remember, as we discussed in Part 2, not all reasons for buying are obvious, or expressed out loud. People don’t usually buy $50,000 cars JUST to get from A to B.
You need to know their “hot spots” as it were. For example, you might find your target audience are particularly concerned about SECURITY. If you know this, you can convey in your copy the idea of the security and peace of mind your product will give them. Perhaps you could incorporate stories, testimonials and case studies which demonstrate the security and peace of mind that was felt after owning the product.
The other reason to know and understand the target audience is so you can “speak their language”, as it were. (See “Men Or Women – Who Writes Better Copy?“).
So a good copywriter needs to have a “Researcher” hat hanging in their wardrobe, so they can figure out an “angle” to make the client’s product stand out from the crowd, and also so they can really understand and get into the mind of their potential customers, to really hit those “hot spots” in the sales copy.
In Part 6, we’re going to look at the Attention Grabber and Interest Holder “hats” a good copywriter needs to have. So make sure you’ve signed up to this blog, either by RSS feed or by email, so you don’t miss out on a single post.