The Best Research Method

One of my favorite copywriting trainings was written by Ben Settle a few years ago. I doubt it’s possible to get your hands on it anymore, but it was a hysterical rant about how some clients wanted to “test” all sorts of new angles by mining “data” and using schnazzy software.

Instead, Ben used his own research method.

He found someone in the market, asked them about their problems, wrote a headline based on what they said . . . and it sold like gangbusters!

“So simple, it’s almost insane.”

In my time copywriting, this has proven true. The quickest way to understand what your audience wants – BY FAR – is to ask them.

Now, the nuance.

There are two main ways to keep tabs on markets. 

What people say when they are non-anonymous. 

What people say when they are anonymous. 


“People don’t think what they feel, they don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say.”

David Ogilvy

Non-anonymous: request regular delivery of reviews, interviews and testimonials from your client. Here you are ASKING.

Anonymous: follow your target market to forums such as Reddit where people talk freely. You will find acute details about specific problems expressed with pain and passion. Here you are OBSERVING.

They won’t always match up, so you have to do both. 

My one-two punch?

Set up calls with 2-3 people in the market as your initial research. Then look at Reddit, forums, and social media groups for the juicy details that can make good copy great.

P.S.P. French

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