Two Crucial Steps to Getting to Know Your Prospect

Welcome back!

Yesterday we talked about a key secret to freelance writing success: developing empathy with your prospect.

Reminder: In freelancing and copywriting, your prospect is the person you are writing to.

Recall Jay Abraham said, “Empathy … is having a heartfelt understanding, appreciation, and need to help fulfill a problem.”

This need to help comes to life when you get to know who your prospect really is. Not some faceless “customer” but a real, breathing, laughing, crying person whose life will be made better by what you write about.

Here’s what I told my COS Blog readers about how I get to know my prospect:

1. Your first step

You make your first step to know your prospect by getting data called “demographics.”

Demographics tell the basics about your prospects: average age, income, education. Do your prospects own or rent their homes? Are they married or single? That sort of thing.

You get demographics from your client. He’s done research on who’s buying his product or service. Or who’s donating to his cause.

If you’re writing for yourself (i.e., for your own product), look at websites for similar products. What images of people do you see there? These images give you a good sense of the demographics.

When you combine demographics with knowledge of the product, you get your first inkling of the real person you’re writing to.

Let’s say you’re selling a joint-care product. Your prospects are mostly married or widowed women, ages 45 to 75 with an average annual income of $35,000.

Bingo! Your Aunt Mabel. Or someone similar. But your prospect is more than just demographics. This is where the digging gets more interesting … and more fun.

2. Digging deeper

Your prospect is a complex person. To know her more completely, you must dig into that complexity.

What does she read? What TV programs does she watch? What are her hobbies and recreations? This type of data is called psychographics.

Back to the joint-care product. If you discover your prospect subscribes to Modern Knitting, you get a better sense of her deeper needs.

Sore, stiff hands make knitting for her grandchildren difficult. You get a personal sense of the loss sore joints have caused her.

You can get this type of info from your client. But the Internet also provides great insight into your prospects’ psychographics. Find a product/service similar to the one you’re writing about. What other products do they sell on their website? What products do they link to?

Google the key benefit of your product. What Google keyword links (the ones on the right of the page) come up?

What other products and services are listed in the top search results? Click on these to learn how other companies are marketing to your prospect.

Go to Search your subject. Click on hits with the most customer reviews. There you’ll read what your prospects are not just saying about the product, but also other key facts about who they are.

Then look at the part that says “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.”

When I did this for joint pain, the links included books about dieting, cooking, tidying up, and lots of disjointed but compelling ideas about the type of person my prospect might be.

You’re on your way to really getting to know your prospect.

Your imagination can go a long way in fleshing out the real person you’re writing to. But it can’t tell you exactly how she thinks or feels.

The only way to do that is to ask her directly!

And, that’s what we’ll talk about tomorrow.

I’d love to hear your comments about this article. Please put them right here in the comment section below.

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Published: July 28, 2015

13 Responses to “Two Crucial Steps to Getting to Know Your Prospect”

  1. Demographics notwithstanding, ANY collective read -- to be effective -- has to clandestinely invoke an imagination whence the pitch itself doesn't seem too imaginative. After all, things like life and life's lessons learned are the tangibles for which the imaginative bents on applicable psychographics can't tangentially cant too much. Hence, to nurture change insofar as it's indeed part & parcel TO our nature's built-in check on mitigating risk while duly accessing our freedom's greater good.

    Guest (Chris Morris)

  2. You have "hit the nail on the head," Mr. Newman. Those are definitely TWO main points with which to be concerned when writing about products or services.

    I am "toying with the idea" of writing, (don't know what yet). At this juncture, I am not sure that I have the amount of time that is required for in-depth research, etc. I like to give 100% to all that I do.

    Thank you for your article.

    Guest (Interested Onlooker)

  3. We now know that some reviewers are paid for five star product reviews. Doesn't this skew the psychographics?


  4. WOW! In one word- FASCINATING. I love this more & more. I've written songs & mostly poems through out my life, but have always been interested in writing,PERIOD! I'm a very opinionated person!! But this "lesson" gave me even more to get excited about in the writing world! Thank you Rebecca!

    Guest (Cheryl Ann Bray)

  5. I just read two of your artacles. Thank-you for the inspiration to keep moving forward with my writing.


  6. Hi Will, Yes, knowing your client, audience and product is crucial. I feel great empathy for the business owners who have scraped through this last downturn in the economy. I am working with business owners to promote tourism in the area in which I live. The demographics of today are shocking compared to seven years ago. Income in this area has fallen by 60%.So attracting more affluent tourists is definitely the ultimate goal.Attracting tourism from around the globe demands that our website truly target these tourists. As a result, I am taking a B2B approach to help aim these needy businesses to the B2C audience. Real life can get interesting when trying to help bussinesses grow.

    Patricia T

  7. Excellent knowledge, I am really enjoying and gradually improving my routine and writing skills.

    Guest (Muhammad)

  8. This made a nice and excellent reading. Until you, as a writer, don't peep in to the life of your prospect you will not be able to know what he/she wants and you cannot give your best to him/her. Digging deep can provide you the information you need and can pass it to your prospect. Your prospect happy you are happy. You feel getting the emotion that you have done your job and that too well. so for whom you are writing you should know their demographics and psychographics only then you can provide the best.

    Guest (Mahesh seelvi)

  9. Sounds like a great strategy. Makes perfect sense. I will use it to do my First Direct-Response Copywriting Sample. Thanks Will.

    Tony Palumbo

  10. This article gets me thinking about people. How to classify all my friends and family, business associates, even the clerks at my grocery store! I am wondering what products they buy and how I could sell them on something they usually would not buy. Thank you or your time and expertise.

    Guest (Tara )

  11. Who would have thought that all those customer reviews I've read before buying something on Amazon would give me such useful information? Now I think back over the reviews, I see demographic info like location, age, marital status, etc. Thanks for that useful hint.


  12. I am still geing some thinngs about here so give me some more time. I am writeing about me.

    Guest (sandra cosby)

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