What does my customer want?
That is the #1 question to ask yourself before you sit down to write a word of copy.
That is what every copy hacker should ask themselves.
“What do my customers want?”
What pain do they have? What relief or cure do they need?
What itch do they want to scratch? How do they want to scratch it? How do they expect to scratch it?
What gets under their skin? What ignites their passion?
What have they purchased before? What are their favorite purchases? What was it about those products that they wanted most?
What do they want to hear?
What don’t they want? What are they annoyed by? Frustrated by? Worried about?
Talking about yourself — even thinking about yourself — when you write your copy will only do one thing: get in the way.
It will shut down the sale.
Which means that you are the biggest roadblock to better communication with your customers.
If you could put yourself aside — your ego, what you think you know, your belief that others want what you want, your belief that people who don’t want what you want are total morons — you wouldn’t need another copywriting tip.
This is the foundation of great copywriting: People don’t care about you. They only care about themselves.
You care about you. But no one else does. (Except yo’ mama.)
Your visitors want what they want. They do not “want” what you’re trying to sell them.
Your job as a copy hacker, then, is not to “try” to sell your visitors a product. You’re trying to sell them themselves.
Let me repeat that ‘cos it’s a biggie:
YOU’RE TRYING TO SELL YOUR PROSPECT THEMSELVES
A better version of themselves. A happier version. A more productive version. A richer version. A sexier version.
That’s what they want!
You are not selling a product. You are selling every visitor to your site the chance to see a better reflection in the mirror.
Apple isn’t selling me an iPod. They’re selling me a happier, cooler version of myself.
SalesForce isn’t selling me a CRM. They’re selling me a more organized, more professional version of myself. They’re selling me a future of profiting from well-managed relationships, which is what I want.
DonorsChoose isn’t “selling” me a way to support schools. They’re selling me a more giving, more community-minded version of myself. They’re selling me the chance to influence the next generation, which is what I want.
And let me knock this down before you even consider thinking it: your customers/prospects/visitors are NOT the exception to the rule. Trust me. I spent 5 years at Intuit fighting with marketing managers whenever they said accountants just want a list of features. People want more. People are ruled by emotions. We can’t help it - we want things that make us feel better about ourselves.
We exchange money for products and services that will give us what we want.
So remember: When you’re writing copy, you are selling an aspiration, however small.
I aspire to something, whether it’s pain relief, prosperity or a pat on the back. And that’s what I’m willing to exchange my hard-earned cash for.
I’m willing to exchange my hard-earned cash for what I want… and nothing else.
Eduardo Kobra - Chelsea, NYC
Eduardo Kobra channels Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic ‘V-J Day in Times Square.’