Terry Dean makes a great point when he talks about what makes for a great copywriter. It's not being a brilliant writer, it's being a good listener. As Terry says, 'The best copywriters in the world are the best at listening to their markets, which is why they're also the best at copywriting.'
As Dan Kennedy said, 'You want to enter the conversation already taking place in your prospect's heads.' That's why you've got to really listen to what the customer wants and thinks.
Remember back to a time when someone was really, truly listening to you, versus a time when someone wasn't. Which person would have a better chance at persuading you?
Talk to your customers directly by getting on the phone and asking them why they chose you. What problem are they solving, what desire are you fulfilling? What hooked them and brought them in? Who else were they considering?
Go to Amazon and search for products similar to your own. Find out what is selling the best in your specific niche. Then look at the reviews and find out what people are saying. Why do they like a particular product? Why don't they like a product? What do they say is missing? What problem do they say the product is solving for them?
Terry recommends copying the exact language you find in the reviews onto your notepad. This gives you the exact customer language of why they made a buying decision. (One thing that Terry does not point out is that people will often times buy a product for one reason and justify it with a totally different reason – something to keep in mind as you use this process.)
Perhaps even more important than the review is the votes on the review. People can say whether or not they found a review helpful. If several hundred people are liking that same review, you know there's good information there that you can use in creating your next product and writing your next sales letter.
Dig a little deeper and you'll also discover that there is sometimes discussion on the reviews themselves which can provide you with additional insights. Amazon is a goldmine of information on how to position your product and write your sales copy.
Another place to go is of course the discussion boards and forums. Go to Google and search for your keyword plus the word 'forum', or your keyword and the phrase 'discussion board.' Look for people talking about products and problems. Find the most popular posts that have lots of replies – these are the hot topics. Pull all of the pertinent information onto your notepad.
Use social media for your 'listening' research as well. For example, go to http://tweetgrid.com/ and set up a live feed for your keywords. This will tell you what people are saying about your keyword in real time.
And you can use this research for more than just your sales copy and product creation. For example, you can pull someone's exact quote and make it the title of your next blog post. You can use this information to create videos, blog posts, emails and so forth.
Once you starting listening to your prospects and finding out what's going on in their heads, you'll have a much better chance of persuading them with your writing. And you don't have to be an ace copywriter to use this trick, either.