Among the really crappy things about this pandemic is the way it’s delayed everything—including the steady stream of James Bond films we’ve come to count on. That’s a real bummer because if there was ever a time we needed some escapism, it’s now.
But fall will come and so will “No Time to Die” and, as the trailer promises, we’re in for all kinds of fun like impossible car chases, motorcycle jumps, leaps off of tall bridges into great forested nothingness and cars fitted with forward-firing heavy machine guns. And you’ll think to yourself, “Man, if only I could be like Bond!”
I’m here to tell you that you can indeed be like Bond. In fact, you should indeed be like Bond. You don’t need stunts or the high-tech paraphernalia, even though it’s mind-blowingly cool. But if you want to be at the top of the copywriting game, you need to learn to spy like a boss. That’s right, “your mission, should you choose to accept it,” is to spy on your target audience so that you can write copy that will deliver every time.
If you’re familiar with my RMBC method for how to write better copy, this process is all wrapped up in the R (research) part of that method. If you skip this step, you’ll short-circuit the entire process and miss your mark.
To be an effective spy, you need to start hanging out in a couple of places to gather your intel: forums and Amazon.
Find the online forums where your target audience congregates and start sleuthing for important information. Let me give you a hypothetical example of how this might work. Let’s say I’m writing a sales letter for a natural supplement that helps with allergies. I’ll start by finding forums for people who suffer from allergies. Here are the kind of questions I want answers to:
- How are allergies affecting their lives? (Watch for emotion and anecdotes surrounding this question.)
- What can’t they do because of allergies?
- Conversely, what would they do if they were free from allergies?
- What else have they tried for their allergies? (This can spin some side research as you get familiar with the competition and prove why your product is better.)
- What are the buzz words that people are using?
- How have other remedies failed them?
- Are there any roadblocks to allergy relief based on demographics (gender, age, income)?
- What scares people about trying a new allergy remedy? Cost? Others have failed them? Side effects?
Let’s say you learn the following from your sleuthing:
- Allergies are miserable…they cause awful things like chronic sinus infections and painful, ugly skin rashes and colds that never seem to go away. (There was that Mom talking about her kid who actually earned the nickname “Slimy” because his nose ran so profusely.)
- Meds like antihistamines and decongestants don’t work for everybody.
- Even if they do, they come with some pretty bothersome side effects.
- Allergy shots are a pain—you have to keep going to the doctor’s office for shots.
- Allergy shots can be dangerous. (Maybe a contributor shared that they had an anaphylactic reaction and went into shock right there at the doctor’s office.)
- There’s a “treatment gap” for young kids with allergies who aren’t old enough to get allergy shots.
- People like the idea of a natural allergy supplement so they don’t have to keep popping chemical-laden pills, but…
- Other herbal supplements are too pricey…or they don’t have enough evidence behind them…or they’re not covered by insurance like medications are.
See what happened. No one even knew you were there, but you came away with a treasure trove of intel that you can now leverage into compelling copy. That’s how sneaky you are… just like Bond.
This online marketplace for products is also an amazing marketplace for ideas for copywriters. It’s the “go-to” place for product differentiation. So get all incognito, head into the marketplace, and start looking around for products that involve the same pain point as the one you’re pitching.
Once you’ve read through the product descriptions, follow your top picks to product reviews. Pay special attention to the 5-star and 1-star reviews so that you can learn exactly what people love about these products and what they really hate about them. It’s easy, it’s free and it’s a really potent way to gather intel on the competition so that you can distinguish yourself from them.
If you’ve been a good spy, you’ve just done yourself a whole lot of favors. You’ve knocked out a big piece of the Research—the first step, and I would argue the most critical one, in my RMBC method. With that foundation laid, the rest of the steps should flow pretty easily.
One of the reasons my RMBC method is so important to copywriting mastery is that it helps you crank out copy fast. It also takes a lot of the anxiety out of copywriting. Once you use it, you’ll see that it works every time so you’ve got a proven framework to fall back on. You’re not constantly wondering if this is the sales letter that is going to fail because you know you have a tried-and-true backbone for success.
With your spy operation complete, you’ll know your target audience intimately. And when you have that intel at your disposal, you can lay down all of those ideas and words with all of the smoothness of, well, James Bond.