Let’s reflect back on your high school and college days, and all the lengthy papers you were required to write. I know, it’s cringeworthy to think about. But, trust me when I say there’s a good reason I’m asking you to do this. What did you need to spend your precious time doing if you actually wanted to get a stellar grade from your English teacher?
Yup, you guessed it: research.
It’s not the most fun thing in the world to do. But, as author Ken Follett once said:
“The research is the easiest. The outline is the most fun. The first draft is the hardest, because every word of the outline has to be fleshed out. The rewrite is very satisfying.”
When you’re anxious to get your product or service out into the world, however, it’s easier to skip the research phase altogether. After all, you feel like you get the gist of your offer and the perfect formula of words you need to write to get your ideal customers to take action.
Oh, if only that were the case. I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m going to. There are zero excuses for not setting aside time to sit down, comb through Google, and organize your findings, all before crafting your sales copy.
And, I did my very own research to backup that last statement. Practice what you preach, right? I’m about to supply you with the four reasons why you should make research your copywriting sidekick pronto. ASAP. PDQ. You get the idea.
So, you ready to hear ‘em? Here they are in all their glory…
4 Reasons Why Research is Important in Sales Copywriting
Research will help you…
1. Get laser-focused on who your ideal customer is.
Best-selling author and marketing consultant Roy H. Williams put it best, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” The problem, however, is many entrepreneurs, as mentioned earlier, get so eager to slap up a sales letter (or another communications piece), that they actually fail to create the right message. You know, the right message that’ll get you the results you’ve been dreaming of.
I’m sure you want to avoid doing that at all costs. Am I right? Well, if so, it’s time to get laser-focused on who your ideal customer really is. No, I’m sorry, you can’t be everything to everyone. Even though it’d be much easier to go that route. Especially because pinpointing your people might sound like a tedious research job.
But, it’s one you certainly don’t want to push off or tackle with minimal effort. That’ll just create more work for you in the long run. Why? Because, as we’ve shared once before, doing the research now instead of later will ultimately help you with:
- Developing focused, effective messaging. You’ll be familiar with the words and phrases your prospects understand the most. And, you’ll be crystal clear about the value you offer them and the benefits of working with you.
- Increasing your efficiency and using your resources wisely. You’ll know exactly where you can find your people. As a result, you can select the best social media platforms to be active on, rather than trying to cover all the bases.
- Ensuring your product/service offerings are much more precise. You’ll know what exactly it is your prospects need, and, ultimately, want to solve their biggest headaches.
- Saving you precious time and money. You’ll attract ideal customers with less effort and avoid wasting time on prospects that don’t bring value to your company.
Oh, and if you want help on exactly how you can find your ideal customers, check out this guide we put together just for you: Who Is Your Ideal Customer? The Ultimate Guide You Need to Catch Them Today.
2. Scope out the competition.
According to author Nancy Pearcy, “Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.”
Man, I couldn’t agree more with her. After all, competition keeps you on your toes—ensuring you’re always improving and always attempting to stay ahead of the curve. Yet, the problem with it is it can be downright intimidating to take it head-on. The key to overcoming that psychological hurdle, however? Actually scoping out your competition.
Yeah, that’s right. Until you get up close and personal with them and see how they really do business, you won’t know what makes you and your product or service truly unique. And, when I say “get up close and personal with them,” I don’t mean you need to stalk their every move and go to the same industry events they attend in order to get a feel for who they really are.
Instead, evaluate the social media presence of their business to analyze not just how they communicate with their customers, but also what their customers are saying about them. Also, dive into their sales page copy to understand their angle (aka their unique selling proposition), and creep on the product or service features and benefits they’re dishing out.
While you and your competitors might share a common goal, analyzing their weaknesses will help you put your very own spin on your messaging in order to establish your strengths. And, ultimately, you’ll illustrate the reason why your ideal customers should choose you—whether it be shorter turnaround times, better savings, faster customer service response times; you name it.
3. Develop a solid understanding of your features and benefits.
I’m sure you’ve heard the following saying once or twice before: “Sell the problem you solve, not the product.” And, for good reason. Focusing too much on what your product or service does, instead of how it can enhance or improve your ideal customer’s life is a good way to lose your prospects to those competitors I just mentioned.
Therefore, using the research you gathered on your ideal customer, take some time to peel back the layers of your offer so you can transform the features into benefits that truly resonate with them. That way, you’ll know exactly what to share in your sales pieces, allowing you to hit a homerun and earn some coveted sales!
If you’re curious as to how you can cook up powerful features and benefits that sell, you’ll want to check out this post.
4. Gather credible facts to lift up your sales pieces.
Do you want to be viewed as a trustworthy figure in your industry? Of course you do.
But, you can’t just dish out any of your insightful nuggets or claims within your sales pieces without backing them up with credible facts.
So, what are you waiting for? Go on and get to collecting them to give your copy a boost. These facts can be pulled from internal and external sources—from winning testimonials to first-class case studies, killer statistics on your product or service, quotes from movers and shakers within your industry, noteworthy media mentions, and even credentials or awards you’ve earned. Phew.
This reason alone is proof that research can be easy. You just need to know what exactly it is you should be searching for and how to utilize the content in your backpocket from current customers to take your sales copy to the next level.
So, there you have it: the four reasons why you should make research your copywriting BFF. Remember, however, these four points are intended to work in tandem. Without doing the research to uncover your ideal customer, you won’t know who your competitors really are.
Thus, without doing the research to scope out your competition, you won’t know the key features and benefits to dish out in order to set yourself apart from the rest. And, without doing the research to develop a solid understanding of your features and benefits, you won’t know the credible facts you need to collect to lift up your sales pieces.
That said, invest time in doing your homework. The more you do, the more you’ll develop a greater understanding of your product, ideal customer, and competition. And, as a result, you’ll grab hold of long-term copywriting success.
Lastly, I’m feeling generous today: to make your sales copy even more successful, I’m offering you a FREE copy of our checklist: “The Copywriting Checklist That Will Make Your Offer Irresistible,” delivered straight to your inbox.
All that’s required to get your hands on it is your email. Just drop it into the box to the right-hand side of this page and you’ll get it right away!
Tell me: do you focus on spending time on the research phase before you dig into copywriting? And, if so, what’s your favorite reason why you spend time doing it? Let me know in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!