By Jeffrey Hedquist
Often when we’re searching in vain for copy ideas, it’s because we haven’t done the research.
If you put yourself in the unfortunate position of asking your client, “Tell me about your business,” you’re announcing that you haven’t done your homework.
Sometimes what seems second nature to me, or self-evident to you can be helpful if stated. So at the risk of telling you something you already know, or reminding you of something you’re already doing, I’ll repeat to you again this procedure to help you help your clients and make you more successful.
Shop at your client.
Shop at the competition.
Talk to several customer service people.
Shop in person, online, by phone.
Call customer service.
Talk to other shoppers.
Visit the car dealership, the furniture store, the gym or the cell phone store when you know that your client contact is not going to be there and see how you get treated. Walk in with “first time eyes” and look for things that are interesting, different and out of the ordinary. The car dealer, the owner of the dealership who’s in there twice a week is not nearly as important as the sales manager or even the receptionist as sources of information.
If you can’t visit in person, call them on the phone. Ask questions. Make note of how you’re treated.
In all of these visits, you want to capture the spirit of what’s going on. Observe how other customers are being treated as well.
It’ll give you specifics to write about. You’ll find out things – little things, big things that the owner may not even think about, but which make a big impression on customers and should be used in advertising.
As a bonus, you’ll find out things they should be doing. Get your client to implement them and help grow their business.
Of course, this is a function of time. Invest the effort in those clients who have the greatest potential for revenue first.
These exercises will give you the emotional connections that you’ll need to craft an effective campaign.
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