Simple Writing System Basics — “Making The Sale” Lesson #1
How A Small Bit Of Market Research Can
Save Your Butt, And Reveal The Hottest
Target Audiences You’ll Ever Find
“The most ripped-off and respected copywriter alive.”
Does your current Website suck?
Don’t despair. You still might do OK.
How? Read on…
To begin, I want to reveal a rather embarrassing little secret shared by all top copywriters:
A poorly written ad sent to the right market… will do better than a brilliantly-written ad sent to the wrong market.
Seems simple, right? Don’t try to sell ice to Eskimos, but do offer ice water in a desert.
And yet, I see countless entrepreneurs make this very same mistake repeatedly.
Take, for example, the story of a guy I met while doing “Hot Seat” consultations at a Dan Kennedy seminar.
This dude had posted a gorgeous-looking Website and — after several months of attempting to corner his market… was chagrined to get not a single blessed sale.
“What’d you pay to get the site up?” I asked, innocently.
“Ten grand,” he said, without blushing. “But that included getting the product produced.”
This guy was walking around like a wounded gazelle in hyena town. He was a one-man charity system for art directors, designers, web hosts and manufacturers.
Don’t be this guy. He had violated the most basic fundamental in business: Do the simple stuff first.
As it turns out, I know something about the market he was after. In fact, I know a LOT about that market.
And you know what?
It didn’t matter how good the deal was on his Website.
It didn’t matter how efficiently the site could capture visitors, or how easy it was to buy using the online ordering system.
It didn’t matter how gloriously wonderful the product was.
And it wouldn’t have made a difference if God himself descended upon earth and wrote this guy’s sales copy.
None of this was relevant.
Because there was no market there.
This guy spent ten thousand dollars to find out something he could have discovered for FREE.
And it would have taken him all of about an hour too… instead of the months he spent creating the product, writing the copy, and wrangling with the website technology.
It’s called… (drum roll, please)…
I cover a lot of ground in the Market Research section of my Simple Writing System for a darn good reason. It’s the FOUNDATION of everything else you do to bring in money.
But here’s some solid old-school advice you can use right now:
Do not create the actual product until AFTER you get a pulse from your intended market.
How do you do this? Here are just a couple of the simple ways I can share with you:
(1) Go to Google AdWords. You can “test” most online markets without even signing up for the service.
It’s easy, too. The system will automatically reveal to you how many hits certain words and phrases within your target market were registered. It will also suggest other words and phrases, based on what is actually getting the big numbers.
This is free market research. Just figure out what a prospect might put into a search engine in order to be in your target audience… and see if the action justifies your foray into this market.
If the words and phrases you come up with are not among the most used, Google will tell you, and help you find the better ones.
And… if your AdWords best efforts come up with pitiful results… then you are fishing in an empty pond.
Time to move on.
(2) Do some research into publications targeted to your market, both the ones online and the ones that still get bought on newsstands or delivered by snail mail.
Many niche markets have such rabid fans and audiences that special magazines, newsletters and blogs are out there catering to them. So, for example, if you’re considering going after poodle enthusiasts, you’d want to find out what specialized media is available specifically for pet owners who love poodles. However, you also want to know the meta-universe of your target market — so, while it would be great to find out there’s a “Poodles Monthly” magazine out there, or blogs devoted to just poodles…
… you also want to explore the market just above that specialized one. So you’d also look into all media and online stuff about dogs in general… as well as pets in general, and domesticated animals.
The amazing Google search engine makes all this very simple. You’ll get more and more adept at framing your search terms as you go… but use this resource relentlessly, especially in your early research on any new market. (You’ll find online resources like AuditedMedia.com and SRDS.com, for example, that reveal industry-specific information on audience demographics, subscription data, and other info… sometimes you can access this info for free, and sometimes you may find a paid resource worth the money. It depends on how deep you want to go gathering data.) Don’t worry if any of these terms are new to you — as you do your research, always look up definitions as you go, and get in the habit of clearing up ALL gray areas in your mind as fast as possible. This is all part of your research period — and it’s astonishing how quickly you can get totally up-to-speed on stuff you didn’t even know existed minutes before.
However, what you’re mostly looking for, at this basic stage, is a thumbs up or thumbs down on how “hot” the market you’re targeting is.
There’s either a mob of cash-rich people who actively buy stuff in the market you’re considering… or there aren’t.
That’s all you’re looking for right now.
In this guy’s case, he had decided to go after what he thought was a huge untapped part of an existing market. He didn’t “need” to research it — heck, his own common sense told him he on was the right track.
See, everybody was already marketing to the men in this market.
So he decided to go after… another big drum roll… the women.
Except for the inconvenient detail that there WEREN’T any women in this market.
I checked it out myself, once I got back to the office. A quick search revealed over a dozen magazines that catered to this niche.
The subscriber numbers were huge, too… that’s why the guy wanted to go after the market… but they were also 97% male. This stood out in all demographic data on the market.
Just as telling, the available lists of direct response names had a premium of $12/thousand for male names. Female names were dirt cheap to rent.
This is a blindingly obvious hint: The men in this market are the ones who buy. The women barely exist.
Reality check to self: Scratch the whole idea of going to that market with female-oriented products.
Research job is complete. Your total time expenditure has been minimal.
And you’re not out any serious money.
… if your research had revealed that your target market was a profit-rich riot of unmet needs (with scant competition and lots of low-hanging fruit)…
… then you’ve just identified a niche you can go after with the throttle wide open.
This is how fortunes are made… and kept from being lost.
This mini-lesson is just a “taste” of what’s in store for you when you allow me to show ALL the tactics, secrets, strategies and inside unfair advantages I’ve mastered in 25 years as a top copywriter and marketing consultant.
That’s the place to pick up more free tidbits from my overflowing bag of tricks.