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How to ethically steal copy ideas guaranteed to work for your target audience

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You’re probably familiar with competitive research.

If you’re not, it’s time to learn about it – but not in this email.

When I run competitive research for my clients, I typically look at their direct competitors first.

Not only at their copy, but at their UX and branding too.

(That’s what we always do as Conversion Alchemists 🙌🏻)

I collect data on and analyze things like:

  • Their copy and how they speak to prospects (What awareness and sophistication levels do they target?)
  • Their branding and design (Does it instill trust? Could we 10x the impact our copy has if we do better at this?)
  • Their voice and tone (What personality are they trying to convey?)
  • The story arc (How do they use motivation, value and anxiety in their copy to create a narrative that persuades visitors?)
  • The visual elements and social proof (Do they use badges, awards, testimonials, “how it works” flows, videos, FAQs etc. to address objections?)
  • The emotional targeting (What emotions are they trying to stir up in the subconscious of their visitors through their copy and design?)
  • Their navigation menu (How are they guiding users through their journey?)
  • Their calls to action (What’s their conversion goal? What supporting secondary goals do they have?)
  • Their pricing strategy (How’s their business and revenue model structured? What kind of plans do they use? What’s the level of friction to get started?)

It’s juicy stuff.

But sometimes you might be new in the field.

Or competitors might be doing a very crappy job at most of these.

So what could you do?

There’s another really cool tactic that I heard Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers, talk about once.

You don’t need direct competitors to look at for inspiration.

You don’t even need competitors in fact.

You simply find companies who sell to your market and study the language they use.

For example:

Let’s say I’m selling biohacking software to wealthy 20 to 35 year olds in the Bay Area…

What I would do, other than looking for companies selling a similar or alternative solution, would be to search for others who sell different products to the same market.

In the example, it might be companies like Whoop, Eight Sleep, or Oura Ring.

None of them sell software (even though it might be part of their product).

But I can still gather incredibly helpful insights from the messaging they use.

Stuff like:

  • The voice and tone
  • Whether they use storytelling or a more direct approach
  • The feature vs benefit ratio in their copy
  • The claims and promises they make
  • The ballpark pricing ranges for their products
  • The pain points and habits they address
  • The type of social proof they use (and where they gather it from)
  • And much, much more…

There’s really no limit to what you can find out – if you know where and what to look for.

Pro tip:

You can use a tool like Spark Toro to find out where your audience hangs out, what content they consume, what platforms/products they use etc. Or something like Answer The Public to get ideas on what these people might be looking for and then Google it.

Of course before being able to do any of this, you have to know your market.

Which is a big part of what I do.

If you need help, you know where to find me.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“Many such things will present themselves, not pleasing to every man, but only to him who has become truly familiar with nature and her works.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Learning about nature, including human nature can set you free. It opens up your mind to the simple facts that 1) every decision in life is a bet you’re making in the moment, and that 2) people live in completely different realities than yours.

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