3.1: What questions to answer when researching your copy

Ever find yourself staring at a blank sheet when trying to write your landing page?

Trying to summon your muse?

Well, I’m here to tell you to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Writing good landing page copy isn’t about inspiration. It’s about preparation.

When you collect the right information first, writing a landing page copy becomes a breeze.

Copywriting is a bit like assembling a Floørp bookcase. Before you start, you check whether you have all your Floørp parts—the shelves, the sides, the top, a cover for the back, and screws.

Once you’ve planned how to assemble your Floørp, the actual assembling process becomes a lot easier. You know what you’re doing, and you get on with assembling your bookcase, shelf by shelf. With writing it’s the same, planning the copy is half the work; writing becomes easy once you know what content needs to fit where.

Then once you’ve written your copy, you only need to smooth over any blemishes with sandpaper and polish your words. That’s what’s editing is about.

But what information do you need to collect before starting to write?

Gather all your persuasive arguments why people should take action—whether that’s downloading your ebook, registering for your webinar, or downloading your app. You can find your persuasive arguments by answering the following 5 questions:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What is your call to action?
  3. Why would your buyer persona care about taking your action?
  4. Why would your buyer persona trust you?
  5. Why might your buyer hesitate?

Who Is Your Audience?

One of the most off-putting things for visitors is copy that’s you-focused rather than them-focused. I get it. It’s easy to write about ourselves, from our own perspective. But you need to write copy that resonates with your visitors, which can be a tough prospect even for professional copywriters.

If you want to persuade your reader to get in touch, sign up, or buy, you need to address his or her needs, wishes, and desires. You need to crawl into the mind of your reader to create messages that resonate; to urge them to read on, and take action.

To focus on your audience, it’s easiest to use a buyer persona. Visualizing your one buyer persona makes your copy more vivid and more personal. It doesn’t mean that you target just that one person. It means that whoever closely matches the needs of your buyer persona feels that your content is written for them. That piques their interest, engages them and nudges them to take action.

Let’s start with picturing your buyer persona with some simple demographics:

Is your ideal reader a man or a woman? What age? What profession? What income? What education? Who do they live with? Do they have children? What car do they drive?

Now let’s dig a little deeper:

  • What is he (or she) reading? What social media platforms do they use?
  • What are their favorite websites?
  • What do they dream about achieving? What would they love to have?
  • What keeps them up at night? What are they afraid of losing?
  • How do they make decisions? What’s important to them in life?

Give your buyer persona a name and see whether you can find a picture (or make a drawing). Hang your buyer persona’s bio somewhere close to your computer monitor, so whenever you’re working on your landing pages, you can look at your buyer persona and imagine writing your copy for them. I promise your writing will become more persuasive.

Does your business sell to other businesses?

Keep in mind that you’re still selling to a person in a business.

If you sell to bigger organizations, you may need to consider a gatekeeper (the person who vets potential suppliers) and the decision maker. In your landing copy, you need to appeal to both of them, so list both the commonalities and differences between the buyer personas.

What's Your Call to Action

What’s the purpose of your landing page? What action would you like your buyer persona to take on your landing page?

A few actions to consider:

  • Download my ebook
  • Get started with my course
  • Order now
  • Get a quote
  • Join now
  • Start free trial

Once you know what you want to achieve, it’s easier to work backwards and review what’s required to tempt readers to click that button on your page. All information that doesn’t contribute to that goal causes friction, distraction and a potential loss in signups and sales.

Why Would your Buyer Persona Care About Taking Your Action?

Of course you love to talk about your company. Your products. Your services.

Maybe you’re excited about the recent improvements you’ve made to your service, or about the new skills you’ve learned. Or maybe you’ve spent many months developing new features for your products.

You’re selling your product or service, so that’s what you need to write about, right?

Actually, no. The hard truth is that nobody is interested in you, your company, or your products. #SorryNotSorry

Why not?

People are only interested in themselves.

To sell your product or service, you need to address your ideal reader’s self-interest. Such as:

  • Save time
  • Reduce costs
  • Make more money
  • Become happier
  • Become more productive
  • Become healthier
  • Reduce stress
  • Work less and have more leisure time

Famous direct response writers like John Caples, Eugene Schwartz, and Joe Sugarman have all said it: To sell your products, you need to focus on benefits. Why would people care about taking action on your landing page? What’s in it for them?

QuestionList-04

The web is brimming with ne’er-do-wells and Nigerian princes of questionable royal lineage. How do web visitors know you’re not from the wrong side of the digital tracks? That you won’t spam their email address? That your product is as useful as you claim?

To build trust, provide both internal and external proof for your claims.

External elements include the social proof we talked about earlier plus expert and industry recognition. Consider number of users, reviews, ratings, test results, press coverage, and short testimonials. This information can put your readers at ease and overcome any nagging doubts about you and your offer.

Internal proof comprises the technical details on your offer. Generic statements are wishy-washy and lack credibility, so always aim to be specific.

Here’s an example of a general statement that lacks credibility:

We use only the highest quality material to produce comfy bedsheets.

To make this statement more believable you need to describe the material using specifics, for instance:

  • 1,000-thread count for a luxurious feel
  • Egyptian cotton breathes well, so you can maintain an even temperature and have a more restful sleep
  • Satin weave for a glossy and smooth feel

Product specifics make your landing page copy more concrete. You can almost feel the sheets on your skin while reading it. The copy comes alive.

Providing details also makes your buyer feel better, because you’re giving them solid reasons to buy from you. You make them feel like they’re becoming an expert. Look what they’ve just learned about the quality of bedsheets from reading just a few bullet points.

Why Would Your Buyer Trust You?

You want to be persuasive because you want people to buy your products or sign up to your list. But it’s not enough to tell your audience how good you are and how much they’ll benefit from working with you. You also have to anticipate their objections and overcome them one by one.

Do they think you’re too expensive? Do they hesitate because they don’t think they need your product? Or are they concerned about quality? Do they have any questions that need to be answered before they can make a decision?

Make sure you address all potential objections and answer questions in your landing page copy, so readers will follow your advice and click that button to join, download, or buy.