Let’s say you’re finally writing that email sequence you’ve been putting off for the past few days.
You open the Google Doc and you’re slapped with the empty white page and blinker. Then you quickly google some email templates that might convert but the ones you find aren’t just your style, or they’re too complicated to understand. Groan.
After a few hours, you’ve just managed to piece together a few lines that “make sense“ for you to send to your list. Maybe you’ll try again tomorrow…
But you don’t go back to it because you’re overwhelmed & confused.
You’re overwhelmed because you’re diving into writing without doing the important prep-work.
Look, you will not get great-converting copy without doing research. That’s why I’m going to share my methods - and you can use this for virtually any type of copy: emails, landing pages, sales pages, web copy, e.t.c.
Let’s get it started💃🏽
Customer research. It’s the fastest way to write irresistible copy.
This is an absolute NON-NEGOTIABLE before you write A WORD on the page.
Judge Judy's watchin' ya.
Why is it so important?
- You find uncommon perspectives & thoughts and deeper insights into your customer's problems
- You find ways to anticipate questions your ideal customer hasn’t thought of asking
- You find "hidden" objections that you can address in your copy
- No messaging mismatches - you know exactly what to write to show the value behind your product/service
I didn’t know how to do research at first. When I was a fresh copywriter, my writing process went like this:
- "Psshhh- I don't need to do research. I already know what my audience is & what they need."
- "Umm...this is getting difficult. Am I sure this sentence will convert? That one doesn't look too exciting."
- "I'll go back to this later. I'm spent"
- [2 days pass with no new data to work with]
- "I've finished! Now it's time to watch the leads roll in."
- [0 leads, 0 conversions, and back to the drawing board...still no research done. Cycle repeats.]
Many copywriters/marketers skip this stage because:
They think they know everything about their ideal client and assume that that knowledge is enough to convince them to buy
They don’t know what messages to find, where to look for their ideal client, or how to conduct simple market research on their audience
Here’s how to start simple customer research (especially if you have no clients yet):
Create your ideal client avatar (ICA):
This isn’t a template to create a virtually useless “Saas Samuel“ or “Product-led Polly“ customer profile PDF.
When you focus on handling your ICA’s objections, identifying their pain points, and informing them about the value behind your offer, you gain their trust and establish your expertise so they’re ready to solve that problem.
What you should know about them:
- Who your target reader is (their age, gender, last meal they ate, or shoe size aren't always necessary)
- The event/situation that will get them to convert, for example, a new online entrepreneur is tired of losing track of client projects and realize they need a strategist to help them set up their backend
- That PRESSING issue that they're ready to throw cash at a solution to fix, e.g a DTC company realizing that their website is losing lots of conversions daily and if they don’t fix it they can’t get many new clients.
- What they are comfortable spending? It’s no surprise that you should market to people who can afford your product/service
You can find this information in your:
- Email & landing page A/B test results
- Customer reviews of your product, e.g Amazon reviews, G2 reviews
- Customer interviews
- Surveys - in app surveys, thank you page surveys, email surveys, e.t.c.
But what if you don't have access to these materials? Or you don’t have clients yet? There are plenty of other options under your nose:
- Comments on your posts or your competitors’ posts
- Questions & messages from your DMs
- Past social media poll results e.g. IG polls & LinkedIn polls
- Conversations from client/customer calls
- Discussions in forums your target is in, like Slack channels, Reddit forums, and even Quora
- Discussions button for Google Search extension to look for discussions around a topic in online forums/threads👇🏽
Also, don’t overlook your competitors.
Now that you have some customer research done, you should also ensure that you’re not totally reinventing the wheel. Your competitors might be doing things your target customer doesn’t like and you can also address those things in your copy.
What you can take from your competitors:
- Market gaps: What aren’t they offering or failing to offer? If you include some of those things you can step in with an advantage
- What they’re doing right: Is their home page well designed? Does their copy flow easily? Are their testimonials relevant? What do their customers like about them? You can swipe some inspiration from your competitors but don’t copy them.
- Pricing: You might be overcharging or undercharging in your industry. Compare your product/service offerings & pricing with at least three of your competitors’
How to add your research results to your copy
These are three ways you can integrate your research results into your copy:
- Insert phrases into testimonials: Got a really interesting quote or compliment about your product/service? Use it as a testimonial.
- Put it directly on the page: If you’re writing a landing page or web page you can insert some phrases directly on the page, e.g your hero section, headings, or body copy.
- Show you’re more valuable than your competitor(s): You can highlight a unique/new feature in your product or emphasize better performance or service when they use your product.
- Use your pricing to show value: You can use limited-time discounts to create urgency so people buy faster, or you can use premium pricing to reflect your highly valuable & premium service.
Putting it to practice…
Let’s say you’re a copywriter at ClickUp looking for new objections you can address in the FAQ section on the home page.
So you go into the community forums and find that one user complained about how difficult finding a ClickUp workspace tutorial can be. Boom!
If more people ask a similar question or engage in that thread, you could address that in your copy as an FAQ question by directing them to the tutorial library.
Don’t write copy without ANY prior research.
You should do research not just to stay ahead of your competition, but your research will make roughly 50-70% of your final draft.
Your customers’ needs, wants, and pain points also evolve over time. If you want to stay relevant, follow up with your audience and ask them what they would like to see from you. You can use those responses in your copy.
So if you're planning a new landing page or email, check your past surveys, social media posts, reviews, and DMs for some “hidden gold.“
😗Heya, you can also follow me on LinkedIn for more conversion copywriting, marketing, and freelancing tips.