Everyone knows better copy gets you more buyers, but professional copywriters are ridiculously expensive for a bootstrapped business, right?
And of course every entrepreneur should study copywriting, but it takes time to get really good. You want a great sales page today, not in three years when you’ve finally read all those copywriting books on your bedside table.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get high-quality copy that converts — for free?
Well, you can.
I’d like to share a process with you that’s straightforward, completely legal (and ethical), and won’t cost you a penny. We now use it in our business for every product we create, and it’s created fantastic results for us.
So let’s get started.
Step 1: Survey your customers
Let’s start by creating a survey. Google Docs forms work well and are totally free.
Write a one-paragraph overview of your product, then ask your customers just two questions:
“Given what you know so far, make a guess: would you buy this product?”
“What problem do you expect this product to solve for you?”
If you’re selling an information or teaching product, you can instead phrase the second question as “What do you hope to learn from this product?”
Use a text box for the second question, but limit the first to preset options to something like: no / probably not / maybe / probably / yes
Include a note saying that by submitting a survey response, the respondent authorizes you to use it for any purpose.
Step 2: Throw out the non-buyers
Sometimes people who respond “no” or “probably not” will leave interesting comments to the second question, and their feedback can help you position your next offer differently.
For this purpose, however, ignore them. They won’t buy, so don’t let them distract you.
Throw out all the “no” and “probably not” answers.
Step 3: Throw out the sure things
This one may seem a little counterintuitive at first. But your landing page doesn’t need any copy to convince a “yes” to buy — it just needs a buy button.
The point of a landing page is to convert “maybe” and “probably” to “yes”.
Set aside the “yes” responses and focus only on people who said “maybe” and “probably.”
Step 4: Copy and paste.
Most copywriting is making your best guess at what motivates your customers.
But if you just ask them, you can eliminate the guesswork. Your customers will tell you exactly what motivates them, and then you can repeat it back to them in their own words.
Copy and paste snippets of the remaining responses — those “maybe” and “probably” buyers — into your landing page. These survey responses form the core of your Features and Benefits section.
Step 5: Rephrase and generalize
Rephrase “I” as “you” and “my” as “your.”
For example, if a customer writes, “I want to know how I can get out of debt,” you might rephrase as “You’ll learn how you can get out of debt.”
Then take the specifics and make them general enough that your target market will find them relevant.
If you get “I want to learn how to keep my obnoxious aunt Betty from getting on my case when I visit her for Christmas,” generalize it to “You’ll learn how to keep your obnoxious relatives from getting on your case when you visit them for the holidays.”
Don’t generalize too much — for example, don’t generalize “obnoxious” to “troublesome,” or try to find a fancier way to say “get on your case.” The whole point of this process is to get your customers’ own words onto your landing page, so only generalize personal things that apply to just one individual.
Step 6: Profit!
When you go directly to your customer, find out the benefits and features they’re looking for, and use their own words to describe them (and, of course, to be sure those needs are addressed in your product), you’ll become a marketing genius. You’ll spend less time writing copy and your conversion rates will soar.
(And of course, you can make it work even better if you split test it.)
How about you — ever “legally stolen” copy from potential customers? What questions did you use? Did you use a survey, twitter searches, your blog comments, or another source?
Let us know about it in the comments!
About the Author: Pace Smith is the co-leader of the Connection Revolution, teaching people how to change the world through connection. Her latest project, co-created with Copyblogger’s own Johnny B. Truant, is a course called Profitable Idealism that teaches how focusing on your ideals can benefit your bottom line.