Audience Research for Conversion Focussed Copywriting

By Josh Ledgard

Audience Research for Conversion Focussed Copywriting

Knowing your audience isn’t just advice—it’s the cornerstone of effective copywriting. Mastery in audience research is non-negotiable. Without a profound understanding of your audience’s desires and nuances, your content risks falling on deaf ears.

This article cuts to the chase of audience research, essential for crafting resonant, engaging, and impactful copy. Here, understanding your audience isn’t a mere advantage; it’s an absolute necessity in a saturated market. Let’s dive into the essentials of audience research, the key to unlocking truly transformative copywriting.

Document assumptions about your audience

Document your marketing audience assumptions

You probably have a bias set of assumptions about your audience. Write them down. You are going to test these assumptions with customer interviews and research we’ll walk you through in this post. Specifically you should write down:

  • Five competing products: Who is your biggest competitor? Does what they do work? Why? How do they describe the problem and the solution.
  • Five related products or brands: If you sell soccer equipment then sport drinks, soccer camps, or general athletic apparel are things your customers would also buy.
  • 20 Keywords or keyword phrases: Get inside the head of your customer. If you wanted to buy a product online, what keywords would you type into Google? Do you know what the most popular searches for your product is?
  • Five traits your target customers would have in common: For example: Where do they shop? How old are they? What magazines / forums do they read? What is their average salary?
  • Five objections: What would they be skeptical about? Are there pre-existing concerns about making the purchase?

ChatGPT Prompt: Generate Testable Assumptions

We’re going to offer some specific prompts you can use throughout this guide to get the most of out of modern AI tools like ChatGPT. Fill in the blanks and paste it in. :)

Assume you work in marketing for the [insert your industry]. Give me a list of five concerns our customers might have before purchasing [insert product here].

Research competitor copy

Spy on competitors

Visit the competitor sites that you captured above. You are going to take notes on these sites about how they speak to customers about their product and how they are positioning themselves. Here is the copy I find helpful to document:

  • Headlines: From each top level page copy the primary and secondary headlines. Here you’ll learn how they are positioning themselves in the market.
  • Recent blog posts: The titles of the most recent blog posts. This tells you about the type of people they are trying to reach through organic search.
  • Recent social media posts: This will tell you where they engage with their audience, the type of content that resonates (what get’s likes/comments), and how they speak to customers.
  • Subscribe to their newsletter(s): Competitor newsletters will give you another view of the things they consider important to highlight regularly.
  • Advertisements: Use a tool like the Facebook Ad Library or conduct Google searches to see how your competition is advertising to their audience.

All of this data will help you come up with a strategy for standing out while still speaking the language of your particular market.

Understand complimentary products and customer ecosystem

Research related products

Knowing what other products your customers are interested in or regularly use gives you a broader view of their lifestyle, preferences, and needs. This understanding allows you to create copy that resonates more deeply with their overall experience, not just their interaction with your product.

To do this I want you to document the same notes you captured about your competitors, but about these related products now.

How will all this help?

  1. Refining Targeting and Personalization: By understanding the complementary products, you can more accurately target your marketing efforts. For instance, if your customers are likely to buy eco-friendly products, you can tailor your copy to highlight sustainability aspects of your product.

  2. Enhancing Product Bundling and Offers: With knowledge of related products, you can create bundled offers or promotions that are more appealing. This not only increases the perceived value but also encourages purchases by creating a more complete solution for the customer.

  3. Improving SEO and Content Marketing: Knowing related products allows you to include relevant keywords in your SEO strategy, making it easier for customers who are interested in those related products to find you. Additionally, you can create content that addresses broader topics within your industry, attracting a wider audience.

  4. Increasing Customer Retention and Loyalty: By acknowledging and referencing complementary products in your marketing copy, you demonstrate an understanding of your customers’ overall needs, which can strengthen their loyalty to your brand.

  5. Spotting Market Trends: Research on complementary products can reveal broader market trends, enabling you to adapt your marketing strategy proactively and stay ahead of the curve.

Researching complementary or related products provides valuable insights into your customers’ preferences and behaviors, presents opportunities for strategic partnerships and improved targeting, and will dramatically improve your own product copywriting.

Become an online lurker… in a good way

Spy on competitors

Discovering where your customers spend their time online and identifying the influencers they follow can be achieved through a combination of online research, social listening, and direct engagement. Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Surveys and Feedback Forms: Directly ask your customers through surveys or feedback forms. Include questions about their favorite websites, social media platforms, forums, and influencers.

  2. Social Media Analytics: Use the analytics tools provided by social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see demographic and interest data of your followers. This can give you insights into the type of content and influencers they engage with.

  3. Google Analytics: Analyze the traffic sources to your website. Google Analytics can provide data on referral websites, indicating where your audience may be coming from.

  4. Keyword Research and SEO Tools: Use SEO tools to find out what keywords your customers are using and which websites rank for these terms. This can give you a good idea of the websites they visit.

  5. Competitor Analysis: Look at your competitors’ social media profiles to see who follows them and who they engage with. Tools like BuzzSumo can also show you the most shared content in your industry and who is sharing it.

  6. Social Listening Tools: Platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Mention can help you monitor mentions of your brand, competitors, or industry keywords across social media and the web. This can reveal where conversations about your industry are taking place.

  7. Influencer Marketing Platforms: Tools like Upfluence, AspireIQ, or Traackr can help identify influencers in your industry. These platforms provide data on the reach and engagement levels of influencers, which can be helpful in determining who your customers might be following.

  8. Online Communities and Forums: Search for and join relevant online communities, forums, or groups (like those on Reddit, Quora, or specialized platforms). Observe the discussions, ID influencers in each community, and write down common questions that are asked.

  9. Review Sites and Blogs: Check review sites relevant to your industry and see who is writing reviews. Often, influencers in niche markets will also be active reviewers or bloggers.

The goal is to paint a comprehensive picture of where your customers are online and which influencers impact their purchasing decisions. This information is invaluable for tailoring your marketing strategy and content to better engage with your target audience and write more persuasive copy.

Interview customers and ask these questions

Interview customers

Nothing beats having actual conversations with customers to help identify common traits, related products, how they describe your product and the problem it solves, and what products they considered in addition to yours. Here is a simple set of interview questions for audience research

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background?

This open-ended question helps you gather demographic and psychographic information.

What other products or services do you use that complement ours?

This question helps in understanding their ecosystem, potential partnerships, and opportunities to explore how others in the market write and speak to customers.

How would you describe the problem you hoped our product would solve?

Focuses on the customer’s needs and expectations from your product. The goal of this question is for you to write down the phrases, in the customers words, they use to describe your solution and the problems.

How did you find our product (or competing products)?

This will help you understand how they do research or where they would be coming from when they land on your product page.

How well has our product met those expectations?

Answers here could turn into great testimonials to include and offer insight into customer satisfaction and areas for improvement.

Interview Tips:

  • Keep the conversation natural and open-ended.
  • Encourage elaboration with follow-up questions like, “Can you tell me more about that?”
  • Take notes, or better yet, record the interview (with permission) for detailed analysis later. Keep a folder that you can refer to later when looking for inspiration for new landing pages, ads, or even product microcopy.
  • Consider uploading the interview to ChatGPT in order to summarize the results, key phrases, and enable yourself to ask questions about what you heard.

Conclusion: Train the AI model in your brain before writing

This research will form the foundation of the copy you are going to write. Don’t skimp on it. Consider updating your documentation on a regular basis as you talk to future customers. This is going to help you create copy that converts!

Your takeaways:

  • Challenge Assumptions: Use your initial thoughts as a springboard for deeper customer insights.
  • Understand Competitor Positioning: Document the headlines, ads, and social copy used by the competition so you know how to stand out.
  • Expand into the ecosystem: Customers don’t use your product in a vacuum. What other products or tool are complimentary and how do those companies speak to their customers?
  • Expand into the ecosystem: Customers don’t use your product in a vacuum. What other products or tool are complimentary and how do those companies speak to their customers?
  • Lurk in Customer Communities: Find out where your customers hang out online and spend time there to better understand their issues and common questions.
  • Value Customer Conversations: Direct interviews offer invaluable perspectives.

Ready to elevate your copywriting?

Download our Audience Research Worksheet now. This tool is designed to streamline your approach, ensuring your content not only engages but also converts. Dive in and start crafting copy that truly converts!

Read more Copywriting for Conversions with the next chapter:

4. Developing a Brand Voice

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