How to Read Your Customer's Mind (without spending a penny on Clairvoyants) - Copy-Fast

How to Read Your Customer’s Mind (without spending a penny on Clairvoyants)

How to Read Your Customer's Mind

This week we’re going to find out what your prospects are really thinking, what’s most important to them and collect plenty of ammunition for our sales page in the process.

I’ll show you the step-by-step process to read your customers’ minds and give you tools to do it.

All without spending a penny on a clairvoyant 🙂

Remember last week we spoke about the myth of creative writing and that the most productive copywriters used tools, frameworks and specific techniques to write great copy fast?

Based on my studies one of the most productive tools used by the most prolific and effective copywriters is deploy before they write a single word of copy.

That tool is research.

Yes. Research.

Research is the difference between the pros and the amateurs.

And more importantly the difference between those who make the sale and those who miss the mark.

Research is the proverbial Abe Lincoln spending 6 hours to sharpen his axe if he had 8 hours to chop down a tree.

But stick with me because I’ll show you there’s a slow way to do research and a fast way to do research.

But first let’s get a few thoughts on the importance of research in writing compelling emails, sales letters and sales pages.

Want to Be ahead of 99% of your competition?

Focus on some simple research and you’ll be ahead of 99% of your competition who are still waiting for “inspiration”.

This is Gary Halbert. Also known as The Prince of Print.

Gary HalbertGary Halbert
Gary was arguably one of the greatest marketing minds of the twentieth century and certainly one of the greatest copywriters.

Gary was the marketing genius behind the Coat of Arms sales letter. That’s right, a physical letter with a first class stamp that was mailed out over 600 million times (some say it was a billion).

But get this, at its peak in the mid-1970s this campaign was mailing one million letters a week.

He was receiving 20,000 orders a day.

Gary had to hire 40 assistants simply to help bank the money (remember you’ve taken your Delorean to the mid-1970s) .

Want to read your customers' minds?

How to read your customers mind

Get this FREE 25 page step-by-step guide to discover:

what your prospects are really thinking,

what’s most important to them, and

have your next sales page half written for you.

(with bonus fill-in-the-blank MS Word templates​)

The whole operation was eventually sold to for $75 million.

Here’s what Gary had to say on the role of research in writing copy:

When it comes to writing copy, far too much attention is paid to the actual writing and far too little is paid to ferreting out facts about that which the copywriter is trying to sell!

And to drive the message home he added:

If you do your research properly, if you do enough ‘prep’, your ads and sales letters will almost write themselves

We’ll look at how to do that later in this article.

Let’s keep going.

This is Gary Bencivenga.

Gary Bencivenga

Gary’s known as the copywriter’s copywriter.

He trained under the fathers of modern advertising and copywriting. Names like John Caples, David Ogilvy, and Dan Rosenthal.

Gary’s widely regarded as the best copywriter of his generation (some say of the last century).

Here’s Gary’s take on the subject:

the best copywriters are the most tenacious researchers

His mentor, John Caples author of the classic “Tested Advertising Methods” suggested this:

[you should] gather seven times more interesting information than you could possibly use

Enter the Original ‘Mad Man’

And then there’s David Ogilvy.

David Ogilvy

Ogilvy’s the father of modern advertising. He started what became one of the largest advertising agencies in the world was part of the inspiration behind the “Mad Men” television series.

When it comes to research he had this to say:

Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals

If you don’t do your research or ignore what it’s telling you you’ll get killed in the marketplace.

Ogilvy is responsible for the famous Rolls-Royce ad.

David Ogilvy's Rolls Royce Ad

Ogilvy spent 3 weeks in research for this ad. He read all the material he could get and spoke with everyone at Rolls Royce from management to factory staff.

Ogilvy was famous for doing so much research and his ads were laden with so many interesting ‘facts’ and tid-bits they read like articles, not advertisements.

One tid-bit became the basis for one of the most well known headlines in advertising history:

At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce from the electric clock

As a result of this advertising campaign, Rolls-Royce sold out their entire U.S. inventory.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re saying: “Hold it. Did you just say David Ogilvy spent ‘3 weeks researching’ ?”.

Well that’s not going to happen.

Who the heck has 3 weeks to spend on research?

You’ll soon see that things have changed a little since Ogilvy’s time.

Here’s one rubber-to-the-road research tactic you can start using today.

This isn’t a light-weight technique either. This is a strategy Jay Abraham confesses to using.

Jay Abraham

Jay’s a well renowned marketing strategist, author. He was listed by Forbes as one of the top 5 executive coaches in the U.S.

He’s a major contender in the marketing world and usually charges $100,000 per day as a consultant.

On a YouTube video called Amazon Copywriting Secrets he had this to say:

A shortcut to mastering the process of gaining insight into the mind of your audience is the [Amazon] reviews.

Amazon reviews are the proverbial gold mine for market research.

To understand what your prospects are thinking.

And to get that in their own words.

Watch how you can cut 3 weeks of research to 3 hours (or less)

Jay suggests going to Amazon and looking up the topic you’re writing about, such as weight loss.

Start with the book titles: many book titles alone will convey the “big payoff”. That is, what people are really interested in.

Remember, we want 3 very specific things from this exercise. We want to know:

1. what our prospects are thinking

2. what’s most important to them

3. plenty of ammunition for our copy

First you want to go to Amazon and search for the top selling products in the category you’re interested in.

Because Amazon doesn’t actually tell you sales volumes, we’re going to use the number of reviews as a proxy.

This proxy approach assumes that only a given percentage of people will ever bother to write a review. So the more reviews a product has the more people who bought it.

Once you’ve found a few products that have a reasonable number of reviews, you want to copy and paste each review into your word processor in a table with 4 columns.

You want to copy & paste the Review Title, Review Date, Rating and the Review itself.

Amazon Reviews Table Animation

You can use the review date to filter out older reviews.

And you can use the rating value to sort the reviews so you can see all the good or bad reviews grouped together.

We’re really interested in 5 and 1 star ratings. Ratings where people either loved or hated the product especially from products which really polarized people.

Now the fun part. . . 

Read through each review and highlight positive phrases, negative phrases, references and beneficiaries.

You can print the reviews out, but I tend to do this in Microsoft Word which has a highlighting feature..

You can choose your own colors but I highlight positive phrases in the reviews in green.

I highlight negative phrases in magenta.

Negative comments are just as important as positive ones. Each negative comment is an objection you need to handle in your sales page.

I then highlight beneficiaries in yellow. A beneficiary is anyone who would benefit from this product or descriptions of how people have used the product. This is very useful for your copy describing the benefits of your product.

And finally I highlight references in cyan (light blue).

References are things people mention in reviews that you want to look up later. Maybe they mentioned a competitive product, a free alternative or a blog post.

Amazon Reviews Highlight Animation

You’ll quickly start to get a feel for people’s underlying emotions by the way they express themselves.

Just the color coding itself which give you an idea of how many positive and negative emotions are being expressed in the reviews.

You Want to Collate the Reviews into Themes

We want to go one step further and group or collate all those emotions into underlying themes.

This will allow you to gauge how important each topic is to your customers.

Let’s go through our reviews document again. This time we’re just going to focus on the positive and negative phrases you’ve highlighted.

You want to copy each positive statement and negative statement you highlighted into a new document, but this time we’re going to group them in to themes or categories..

So for the first positive or negative statement, decide a theme it represents. Maybe it’s about the product’s ease of use, or price.

Enter the name of that theme as a category heading and paste the statement there.

Now go to the next highlighted (positive or negative) statement.

If it has the same theme as the first comment, paste it under that one.

If not, create a new theme heading.

Repeat this process until you’ve gone through all the positive and negative statements you highlighted and copied each on to a theme (or category).

Amazon Reviews Themes

When you’re finished you’ll have a document that lists every positive and negative sentiment expressed by your audience grouped into major themes.

The last time I did this I had 27 pages of categories review phrases to work with.

Which theme stands out?

What’s most important to your audience?

Well to know that, all we have to do it count them.

So at the top of the theme document enter each major theme and count how many phrases of each you collected from the reviews.

Here’s what mine looked like. This cam from reviews about a copywriting book:


You can see that the book being categorised, helped with brainstorming and helped overcome writer’s block were the 3 most common things reviewers commented about.

Bonus tip: To make life easy for you, I’ve included done-for-you templates as bonus download 🙂

So where are we? Do we have the 3 things we wanted?

You now know:

What your audience likes (that’s the positive comments).

What their objections are (that’s the negative comments).

Those combined tell you what your prospects are thinking.

You also know how important each theme or topic is.

That’s the number of times each theme was mentioned in the reviews which tells you what’s most important to them.

And you have the exact words your prospects used to express their thoughts in their own language.

That gives you plenty of ammunition and is pure gold fodder for your copy.

All you need now is a way to structure it into your sales copy.

(Don’t worry, we’ll cover that another time).

This whole process may have take a couple of hours – a far cry from 3 weeks.

Now you have everything for your own sales page

In writing your sales page, focus on the 3 or 4 major themes in the reviews for your sales copy.

These will become your benefits for each of the main “features”.

Use customers’ own words in your sales copy to speak the language of your customer.

Use the negative comments to write responses to their objections. Many sales pages include these in a FAQ section.

Remember what the late, great Gary Halbert – one of the 20th century’s greatest marketers – taught:

If you do your research properly, if you do enough ‘prep’, your ads and sales letters will almost write themselves

Want to read your customers' minds?

How to read your customers mind

Get this FREE 25 page step-by-step guide to discover:

what your prospects are really thinking,

what’s most important to them, and

have your next sales page half written for you.

(with bonus fill-in-the-blank MS Word templates​)


After 20 years developing Microsoft Office based productivity tools for some of the world's largest companies, Marcus now produces surprisingly simple yet ridiculously effective writing productivity tools for solopreneurs. When he's not tinkering with the innards of Word, Excel or PowerPoint he's relaxing at home in The Cotswolds with his patient wife, rambunctious sons and faithful (but dopey) Cavachon.