A while back I was at my parents’ house with Hayley and the kids.
Dad and my brother Timothy were on the couch, watching some B-grade movie about this killer shark which was picking off divers stuck in a diving cage.
(Yes, true cinematic gold.)
Anyway, so my son Eli — who’s probably 2 years old at the time — toddles in to the room.
Timothy pauses the movie so he won’t be traumatised.
But my dad says, “No need — he won’t have any idea what’s going on.”
So Timothy hits play again.
In the very next scene, the shark appears out of nowhere (SHOCK! HORROR!) and ends up damaging the shark cage.
Eli looks at the screen and says:
Cue laughter from everyone else.
But, we’re not too worried. I mean, kids know what ‘breaking stuff’ means, but they don’t really know anything about killing.
Well, we were about to find out:
A few seconds later, the shark attacks one of the hapless divers.
Eli turns to Hayley and says:
“The shark is squashing people and eating dinner!”
Yes, my hand is up — this was a bit of a parental failure to judge my son’s level of awareness.
He clearly knew a bit more than I gave him credit for.
And this is a problem when you’re trying to sell something, too.
Assume your customer knows more than they actually do, and your sales page will fly over their head.
Assume they know less than they do, and you’ll bore them by trying to over-educate them first.
Either way, it’s not good.
So how do you find out what they know?
The answer, of course, is market research.
Sure, it might sound as dull as a B-grade shark flick.
But get it wrong, and you may find a giant shark comes to squash your sales.
So, if you want to know how I do it …
Word of warning though, it’s really going to be written for freelance copywriters.
So for business owners doing their own copy, I might have to throw you to the sharks here.