Quick Ways to Read Your Prospect’s Mind

Mind readerJust about every marketing guru touts the importance of “knowing your prospect”. But how much do you really know about the person you’re trying to persuade with your landing page, email or other marketing piece?

A few years ago, for example, I was hired to write a direct mail letter for a training firm. The target market were sales managers and my client assumed, reasonably, that sales managers would be eager to reach this year’s quota. After all, it was the end of November. Only a few weeks to go.

After doing a little investigating, however, I discovered that sales managers at the end of November had already said their goodbyes to the current year. It was done as far as they were concerned. They were, instead, focusing on the new year – especially the first quarter. From a sales standpoint, they wanted to start the new year with a bang.

So I wrote the letter with that in mind. And it got a huge response.

The lesson? Never assume you know enough about your prospect!

Knowing what makes your prospect tick is a particular challenge for freelancers as they have to deal with multiple prospects across multiple clients. But it can also be an issue for in-house marketers and writers, as well as entrepreneurs, who deal with the same prospects day in and day out and can fall into the trap of thinking they know everything about them.

You can always learn more. And when you do, your response rates and conversions are bound to go up.

Here are my 5 favorite ways of getting to know prospects better.

  • Read what your prospects read. Pay attention to the trade magazines, newsletters, and blogs in your prospect’s field. The most popular topics often indicate what’s top-of-mind for your prospects. And here’s a tip: Review LinkedIn “long form” posts that are popular with your prospects. That has been particularly helpful for me.
  • Review workshop, seminar, and webinar descriptions. These professional education events often address the top concerns of prospects. If they didn’t, few would sign up.
  • Review letters from the editor. Whenever the editor of a trade publication says something – as a letter, note, message, op-ed, etc. – take notes. They know their audience (aka your prospects) well. And they are privy to statistics, trends, reader feedback, and other valuable data.
  • Talk to your sales and support staff. They deal directly with prospects every day. They can provide you with insights you’ll never find in a research report. Freelancers should always request to interview a sales person.
  • Talk to your prospects. Take advantage of any opportunity to speak directly to prospects. Ask them to walk you through a typical day. Find out what their headaches, concerns, goals, obstacles, motivations and worries are. Get to know what it’s like to be them.

As I said, the better you know your prospects, the better results you’ll get from the email, landing page, web page or other marketing piece you’re writing.

So take a few minutes each week (that’s all it really takes) to learn more about your prospects. My guess is, you’ll see a jump in response rates and conversions if you do.

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