When hired for our copywriting services, a common question I get from new clients is this:
“What do you need in order to write great copy for us?”
First, I love this question.
It shows a client understands that a copywriter does need certain material to get the job done. Not just glance at a client’s website.
But secondly, it allows me the opportunity to ask the question every good copywriter (and marketer) needs to ask.
The question is so basic, most business owners skip it because they’re so focused on whatever it is they want to sell.
And the question’s potential payoff is very often ignored by newbie copywriters because they also want to focus on whatever the writing project might be.
So here’s the $64,000 question… and my answer (which is another question):
What do you need from me in order to write copy that gives me the results I’m looking for? (Side note: the last part of that question is key. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. H/T George Harrison.)
Mary Rose: Do you have any market research? (Questionnaires, polls, any in-depth market analysis.)
And there ya go.
It’s off to the races for me if the answer is “Yes!”
So many times, a business will be looking for how to connect their product or service to their customer. But they’re thinking about it in the wrong way.
What they should be asking themselves is, “What’s going on in the head of my perfect customer and how can I connect that to my product or service?”
See the difference?
If you’re a business owner and you do see that, and you do have the research, then booooy howdy… would I love to talk to YOU!
Because that information, my friend, is pure gold.
As I’ve said before (and will keep on saying), marketing is – in its own way – all about the ask.
Sales pros know to ask for the sale.
But before they can ask for the sale, they’ll believe the solution they offer is exactly what the prospect needs.
And before they can do that, they need to know that the business has already done the work of clearly identifying what that need may be.
So there’s a good fit between problem/solution.
In a great article from Content Marketing Institute which talks about ad blocking software (“The Audience Takes Charge”), writer Kirk Cheyfitz says this (emphasis mine):
The news media business got theirs. Then the music business; the book business. Now it’s advertising’s turn.
This is not a positioning, messaging, or PR problem. This is a fundamental product problem. Translated into the language of advertising, “The consumers are rejecting our products.”
As everyone with any sense is saying, the time is past due to put the audience first. That may sound easy; it isn’t. It means that it’s far more important to find out what really matters to the audience than it is to ask a client what message it wants to deliver. Ad blockers exist because too many clients and agencies want to deliver too many messages that don’t matter to a single real person.
If you want to serve your clients, you must be a ferocious advocate for their audiences.
And if you’re writing copy for business, you most definitely need to know your market.
If you do, you’ll be nailing your customer’s desires and pain points so well that she’ll have no choice but to beg for mercy and find relief with your solution!
If you’re a business owner who is looking for more sales, the first step is to review my guidelines for working with new clients. Complete the Client Questionnaire and we’ll contact you for the next step.