How Not Knowing Copywriting Research Makes You a Rookie

copywriting research

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You’re looking at a blank piece of paper and you have no clue where to start.

You have a client that has to have copy written on his latest coffee maker and needs the work completed in less than three weeks. He wants copy written for the box the coffee maker comes in, and for online ads.

All of a sudden, you feel like you’re in a pressure cooker. You don’t know much about coffee makers, much less the people that drink coffee because personally, you can’t stand the taste of it.

Yep, you’re in a tight spot alright.


How Research Will Save Your Copywriting

Once you know how to research your subject, copywriting will be much easier.

Note: I’d like to point out, if you’re working with a client that won’t help you with the research phase, you might be better off walking away from the job.

You’ll see what I mean in a minute…

In order to sell anything you need to understand your prospect and what you are writing about.

The thing that’s great about having a sales job with a company is they already know their customers and their services and products. The groundwork of marketing research has already been laid, you just have to get it from them.

They know what their prospects desire. They know what they need, what keeps them awake at night, and how they like things delivered. So, that work has been done for you.

If you have to write copy for a business that’s been around for a while, they should have all of this information. All you should have to do is ask for it and your job of writing copy for them will be easier.

On the other hand, if you have a client that won’t give you the information you need to write the copy, you may want to walk away.

You have to weigh it out whether you can work with a client or not. It has been my experience that if I have to beg for information, it’s going to be a difficult project.

How Knowing What Prospects Think Will Make You the “Master of Your Domain”

If you have a decent client and they supply you with a lot of information, you should still do some research of your own.
For one thing, you’ll still need to uncover as many benefits as you can to get the prospect to buy.

The other reason is once you you’ve proven you know more about the product than they do, you’ll be seen as a genius. You’ll be the “go-to-guy”.

Or, as copywriter Dan Kennedy points out: “In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king”.

A good goal for you in this phase of the game would be to know more about your client’s product than he does.

How to Go Deeper to Make a Mint

Here are a few research techniques you can use to find out more about your subject when writing your sales letter. These are old tactics, but these methods are still used by top copywriters today.

First, you need to know everything possible about the people you are trying to sell to.

You want to know what they eat, how they go to work, what type of language or slang they use, that interests them, what their fears are, what ambitions do they have?, what is their home environment like, how do they open their mail, do they have kids?, what is their ethnicity?, what income level are they?, what are their hobbies, what gender are you talking to?, etc.

The reason this stuff is important is because you want your sales letter to speak their language. You want them to feel comfortable with you because you understand them. The more you can relate to them in words, the easier it will be to sell to them.

So, knowing all about your target market is very important.

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Take a Tour and Convert More

There are several ways you can do the research for the types of prospects you’re writing to. One way is to actually visit where they live and work at.

For example, imagine that you’re trying to sell a manual on how to help high school students get sports scholarships. Your target market is primarily high school coaches that will be assisting their students reach their educational goals.

The best way to find out what a high school coach is like would be to actually visit one and follow him or her around for a day. You could take notes on how they dressed, slang terms they used, how they ate lunch, what kind of meetings they attend, etc.

Once you have a clear picture of your ideal prospect, you’ll have a much better chance of writing copy that coaches could relate to.


This is one of the reasons why most copywriters like to focus on a niche market. If you focus on one particular segment of the market, you’ll be able to write copy for that market that’s far better than everyone else.

Bumping Up Your Investigation

Another great way to find out what prospects want is to do an interview. Getting an interview face to face is better than over the phone. I’ve personally done interviews over the Internet using Skype or Google Video Chat, and that works great.

If you don’t have that opportunity, then by phone is the next best option. Usually interviews work better when you are actually sitting across from the person.

When you interview someone, try to have the following material in place before going to the interview:

  • First, make sure you’re on time. Time us usually the most valuable asset to a business person, so make sure you’re there when you’re supposed to be there. I like to use the Vince Lombardi method and arrive 15 minutes ahead of time.
  • Gather as much info on the product as possible and study it. If you don’t have enough information about the product or service, you need to research a competitor’s product that’s similar.
  • Once you have information on your product or service, you need to make notes and have questions prepared for the interview.
  • If you have a small digital recorder use it, your interview will go much smoother that way. If you don’t have one, try to take good notes. You could take a laptop with you if you can type at a decent speed. In my opinion, having a recording device will work great.
  • Always graciously thank the person for the interview and if you meet them in a restaurant or fast food joint, offer to buy them a cup of coffee. Sincerity and appreciation goes a long way in business.


Take the time to find out as much as you can about your prospects, and your client’s services and products, because it will make the job of writing copy much easier.
In my next segment, I’m going to show you how to conduct research over the Internet even if you don’t have any information on your products or services.

How to Use Popular Online Sites for Research

Finding Out What People Like/Dislike Using the Internet

Did you like what you just read? Did you dislike what you just read? Don’t care? Let me know in the comment box below.
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