A few weeks back, I wrote a post on the #1 mistake I see people making when it came to identifying their ideal reader. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing now, the single-sentence summary would be:
“Don’t start asking questions about what they want until you know they’re ACTUALLY your ideal reader (oh, and here’s a free gift to help you do that).”
The reason for this is that if you start asking people who aren’t your ideal reader about what they want? You’ll create copy for people who are just like them – people who ALSO aren’t ideal. That means people…
Nobody wants to work with folks like that.
But if your copy is written to talk to them, instead of the people you really want to work with? Guess who you’ll be constantly hearing from!
Since I wrote that post, a couple of people have said, “OK, I’ve identified my ideal reader. What now? What, exactly, do I do with them?”
That’s the question THIS post is designed to answer.
In it, I’ll take you through the seven questions I ask my ideal readers to help me with my own copy – sales page, and otherwise – when I’m writing about an offering. Here they are…
I use this question to provide the context for everything I write in any sales copy.
In and of itself, it’s not enough to make what you write resonate with your reader. But it’s a great benchmark for everything else on your page (or in your email or post).
If something in your copy doesn’t relate – at least peripherally – to what your readers are most struggling with, it probably doesn’t belong there. And depending on what you offer, that struggle might be:
Regardless, having a single focus is part of what makes good copy so powerful.
And if it’s going to be the right single focus, using the right wording? You need to ask folks that you’ve identified as ideal readers to describe that struggle in their own words.
This is a way of digging down deeper into Question #1. Rather than focusing on the general struggle, though, it gets you looking at the specific wishes and frustrations your reader has. So for example, for our struggling readers above, the answers might be:
In other words, this is about your reader’s specific aspirations. And again, wherever possible, you want it in their words.
This is the flip side of Question 2. Again, it’s about looking at the specific results of whatever they’re struggling with, and pinpointing the ways in which they’re affected. Again, using our struggling readers from above as examples, that might mean:
This is where you take your answers to Questions #2 and #3 and look at how each could in turn affect the rest of their life or business. Maybe…
This might sound obvious, but unless you’re actively targeting folks who are dealing with this issue for the first time, your readers will have tried other solutions before. That might include:
They’ve probably invested at least some time or energy in one or more of these options. So if you don’t recognise that in your copy – if you write to your reader as though they’re a complete newbie – it can damage the rapport you’ve created with them. It can also make them feel as though you don’t really know them as well as you profess to.
And recognising in your copy what they’ve already done means asking this question up front when you’re doing your research.
Of all the questions you ask your ideal readers, this one needs to be treated the most sensitively. It’s important to understand that, if a solution doesn’t work for your reader, they’ll often initially assume it’s their own fault.
If you dig down deeper though, you’ll usually find that there are elements of the previous solutions that just didn’t fit them well:
NOTE: This should never be about badmouthing a specific competitor’s offering – it’s about finding out what specific elements haven’t worked for your readers in the past.
This question is a little different to the previous six, in that it’s not one you ask your ideal clients. Instead, it involves taking all the answers they’ve given you, and weaving a story about EXACTLY how your offering will be different. So that means looking at exactly:
Once you have all that information, you have the core messaging for your sales page – or any other offering-related copy. Then all you have to do is weave it into a readable piece of copy (we’ll talk about how to do that in future blog posts).
I’m currently pulling together a training package on writing sensational sales pages that click, connect and convert. I’m *aiming* for a late March/Early April launch date (although that may change, depending on client work).
In the leadup to that launch, I’ll be running a couple of free webinars. The first is all about what you need to know BEFORE you start writing a sales page. And the second is about making your sales page easy to read and take action on.
If you’re curious about the free webinars, or just want to know when the training package is ready to go, the best way to stay informed is through my fortnightly newsletter.
CLICK HERE to stay in the loop for that (and download my free Make Your Web Page Crystal Clear guide while you’re at it).
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