Killer Advice From Michel Fortin…

Michel Fortin has answered Edward’s question! Here it is…

Question: “How do you get inside the head of the prospect?” And I’ll try and make it more specific by saying, what’s a quick overview of your methodology for discovering the conversation in the prospect’s mind?

I just posted a blog post today, “How to Target Your Perfect Customer,” that specifically deals with this. (What a coincidence!)

Generally, this involves doing a lot of detective work. Market research is key. Getting to know the prospect as intimately as possible is even better, and a step beyond typical market research. Sometimes, I conduct phone interviews with clients, record the conversation and get the call transcribed. And often, they practically write the copy for me!

I try to pull out their passion. Get them to expand. Ask open-ended questions. Ask questions (like the questions I posted in my blog post) and let them take over the conversation. Really.

I also sometimes browse related or industry-specific forums. Just watching some of the conversations going on is very telling. People
are posting their desires, their fears, their concerns, their appreciation (or disklike) of certain products, both competing and non-competing products, etc.

Sometimes, I join these forums under a pseudonym and pose questions, as if I was “one of them.” I then carefully watch what kind of answers they give me. And blogs and social networking sites, which have now exploded, are perfect locations to discover what kind of conversations are going on in specific niches or about specific topics.

For example, let’s say you’re writing copy for a “fly fishing” infoproduct. Then you could browse forums like:

Sometimes, and if the client hasn’t done so, I also create a blog or information site, where I post articles on the topic at hand. If I have enough time, I tend to wait it out a bit, see what kind of traffic it generates, what kind of comments it gets, and what kind of keywords they find me under.

There are tons of market research tools out there to help you. You can use them to do keyword research, lateral analyses — meaning, other topics, concepts of discussions going on in the marketplace you target, including locations they find you under. For example, if a blog on fishing links to you, what was the conversation? What are the comments on that blog post in which you were
linked from? What other sites are they linking to, and what do THEY say?

(There are many new tools to help you, like that lists some of the less-than-targeted keywords they find you under,
but are popular enough on the Internet to warrant more research. Hittail is specifically designed to help you know what to post. You can post articles with more of those keywords in them to attract more traffic. But I like to use it to find out the frame-of-mind of the visitor.)

David Garfinkel said it best: don’t just learn who your market is and what their problem is. Find out “how they talk about it.” That’s important. How they talk about their problem is not just a language thing (meaning, what the problem means to them).

It’s also very insightful into the mindset of the market, the behaviors of your market, buying patterns, lifestyle choices, etc. For example, if your product is about how to cure insomnia, people don’t talk about insomnia. They talk about lethargy, lack of productivity, loss of job or relationships, feeling sluggish, absenteeism, lack of clarity and focus, low self-esteem, etc.

So the copy shouldn’t talk about how to cure insomnia. It should talk about all the “problems” and “end-results” people suffer and talk about as a result of insomnia. See the difference?

Michel Fortin, CEO
The Success Doctor, Inc.

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