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Show Notes

Today I want to talk to you about the true ace up the copywriter’s sleeve. No, it’s not a thesaurus, it’s not the Oxford comma, it’s not even a book or course. It’s empathy. This might sound wishy washy, but it’s really not.

Empathy in Market Research

Before you put pen to paper, you need to do some market research. But market research isn’t limited to cold and robotic web usage stats or ranking analysis. Empathy and emotional understanding are essential parts of pre-copywriting research.

So think: who are you writing for? What are their motivations? What are their problems – the relevant ones at least? What sits at the core of the reason that brought them to you? Get into their mindset by reading reviews, browsing social media groups, and even checking out forums in your target niche. See how your target buyer puts their problems in their own words. How do they describe their needs and their reasons for buying? What do they like and not like about buying? What seems to ring alarm bells or raise buyer resistance?

Do you know anyone who loosely fits the market for the product or service in question? What would you say to them if you were to recommend this solution to them? And what are they likely to say or ask in response? You could even ask them for their input directly!

This all helps you to tap into the buyer’s motivations, understand your product’s place in their lives – your solution’s buyer context if you will. Insights like website analytics, keyword research, and click through rates are great, but you need to read between the lines to identify the human intent behind their actions.

Why is Empathy so Important in Marketing?

We’re inherently emotional decision makers, so going in with emotional grounding is essential. Simply stating the facts and figures – or worse, stating “we do x” – only attracts a certain subset of buyers. But all buyers can feel the pull of fundamentally why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Therefore, effective marketers research, listen, and empathise first and sell second. Empathy is essential, but sometimes writers have the opposite problem: if you’re writing about your own business or in a similar niche, you may empathise a little too hard. You’re too “in it” and you may find it hard to understand what it’s like outside your own head on the other side of the fence.

When to Turn Down the Empathy

When you’re writing about your own business or something you’re close to, you need a bit of objectivity and mental distance. Really try to take yourself outside of your business as if it were somebody else’s deal entirely. It can be hard to do. Setting up and maintaining a business comes with a lot of emotions. You need to try and cut yourself off from that momentarily.

If it helps, try and put yourself in the shoes of a specific customer and think of it as a bit of role play. How did they find your business? How did they first reach out to you? What marketing materials would they have had to have seen in order to take them through that process? Where are you in their supply chain? What other providers might have been in the running?

It takes time and practice, but try to get out of your own head and into your buyer’s.

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