Ever seen the spy movie “Cloak and Dagger” with Henry Thomas? Great movie, one of my favorites from my childhood.
Sometimes when I call my sister’s cell phone and she answers, I shout, “Lady Ace, Lady Ace, Come in Lady Ace!”
Guess you had to see it…
…in any case. I bring it up because it’s time to spy on your competition.
Now, you may be thinking I’m suggesting to spy on your competition so you can take their best ideas and copy them. And sure, I usually take ideas from competitors’ copy.
But that’s not the biggest reason you should spy on your competition.
The BIGGEST reason to spy on your competition is to see what they’re NOT doing. To find out what claims they’re not making… or what claims they’re not capable of making. To discover how your product kicks the pants off their product and so on.
Armed with that competitive intel, your job will be to craft a unique sales message that is superior to your competitors’.
The last thing you want to do is write sales copy that could apply to any other product in your market. If you did, how would they remember you? Why would they read your copy if they’ve read similar copy in the past? If your product is more of the same, why buy from you instead of just finding the cheapest?
It’s important to make your copy unique by discovering competitive advantages and exploiting them.
In my copywriting questionnaire, I ask the client to help me identify these competitive advantages with three simple questions.
4) Who are your competitors? (URL’s please, if available)
I can do a simple Google search to find out who are the top adwords advertisers for a market. But that doesn’t mean they’re the most popular competitor.
We want to find out out which competitors the reader has likely seen before so we can make sure to be different. Google searches are part of that. Checking out popular forums from the marketplace can be part of that.
But asking the client is the quickest and often the most valuable way. They usually know who is spreading their sales message around the best. And we need to make sure we differentiate ourselves from them.
5) In what quantifiable way do you stand out from the competition?
Now that we’ve identified who the main competitors are, this question is aimed at quickly finding out how you can stand out.
If the client gives a good answer, he/she can save you a lot of time digging up the competitive advantages on your own.
6) If your product is an info product, is their a specific passage/segment I can look to that I won’t find in a competitor’s product?
This question narrows down the competitive advantage even further, saving the copywriter a lot of time. Now we can quickly skip to the pages that detail how your client’s product is unique and superior to your competitor’s product.
After you’ve identified the main competitors and identified the competitive advantages, you’re ready to start brainstorming your angle and logical arguments. But NOT before.
That’s what makes questions #4, #5 and #6 so important.