All the coronavirus craziness has led to a very interesting phenomenon here in Australia:
I call it ‘Bog Roll Buy-Up Syndrome’.
(If you’re not privileged enough to have been born in the great land of Australia, ‘bog roll’ is our slang term for a roll of toilet paper.)
Basically, right now toilet paper is sold out from the shelves in Aussie supermarkets everywhere.
In fact, I read a report this morning that our biggest retailer (Woolworths) has imposed a 4-pack-per-customer limit … and some guy in Sydney literally pulled a knife on someone else in the toilet roll aisle?
Anyway, the generally accepted line is that people fear that a coronavirus pandemic could lead to a quarantine where they won’t be able to resupply.
I call bulldust.
That’s not why people are buying up toilet paper.
Allow Daniel the Grand Social Scientist to break down for you what’s actually happening:
People read news articles with a picture of some person who has four giant packs of toilet paper in his trolley.
They smirk and grandstand on social media: “Ugh, people are such morons!”
And then they think “… but since all those morons are buying up the toilet paper, I’d better make sure I just get ONE before it’s all gone.”
And they go to the shop, even if they don’t need toilet paper, and pick up a pack.
Multiply that by millions of people, and you have … Bog Roll Buy-Up Syndrome.
What I’ve found most interesting about this whole thing are the news reports that interview the people walking out with a packet in their trolley.
Invariably these people say something along the lines of, “Nah mate, I’m not worried about the coronavirus. I don’t really get why people are going so crazy about toilet paper, ay.”
(Yes, that is how Australians speak.)
Then when the journo challenges them on the fact that they actually have two packs in their cart, they reply:
“Oh, these bad boys? Ah, yeah, haha, looks like I got a bit caught up with it too, ay. Nah, just figured I’d better get in since everyone else is going so crazy about it, you know. Even picked one up for the missus!”
People like to tell themselves stories that rationalise their behaviour.
I guarantee you could survey any number of these people, and they’ll tell you that no, coronavirus is not a worry for them, and no, they don’t think it’s important to stock up on toilet paper. The comments on news articles on social media are proof positive of this.
And yet, their behaviour — what they’re actually buying — tells an entirely different story.
In other words:
You can’t trust what people SAY.
You can only trust what they DO.
As a copywriter, this is a problem I have to deal with all the time.
After all, a huge part of my job is researching my clients’ markets to see what they want, and writing a sales page that connects with that.
And if you are a copywriter, it’s a real problem for you too. (If you’re NOT doing customer research for your clients before you write their sales copy, you really need to up your game.)
Because here’s the deal: knowing how to do your customer research right for your client can mean the difference between a made-up page that bombs … and one that is loved by your client, makes them much-o money, and has them throwing all their other projects at you since you are so amazing.
Enter the brand-new customer research product I am working on.
It reveals my entire process for doing customer research for clients in a way that not only makes my copy more effective and far easier to write … but it guarantees the client will love it.
(Which — let’s be brutally honest, since we’re all freelancers here — often scares us even more than how effective it is.)
It’s literally the exact routine I go through, step-by-step, on every single copy job I get, to get what I need out of the client’s market, and know exactly what messaging to write in my sales copy.
However, it does NOT include how I write the sales page. That’s a separate topic I plan to cover later. My customer research process is actually something far more valuable, since I have never seen anybody else go as in-depth on how to do this.
Anyway, as a generously free tip, consider this email as a prime example of my own customer research:
I’m looking for a handful of people to pre-order the product (it’s not finished), and give me some feedback on it.
But I’m not even going to bother setting up a sales page or cart before I know whether anyone is even wise enough to want this valuable information from me.
Instead, here is the deal:
1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me you’re interested.
2. I will send you details for you to pay US$97 via a gloriously low-tech PayPal link (fully refundable in the event I decide not to go ahead with this), along with a few questions for you to answer.
3. You will get the product as soon as it’s done, before anyone else, and I will ask for your feedback on it.
Oh, and one more thing: I’m only looking for 5 people to do this.
That’s enough validation for me, as I may decide to raise the price later, and I don’t want to be offering it to everybody too cheaply … all my current clients pay me more than this per hour.
So if you are not in the first 5 people to email me, I will probably have to turn you down.
Anyway, enough from me for today.
If you’re interested you know what to do.
Oh — and please, to any fellow Aussies, stop buying your toilet paper in bulk.