A few years ago I got an email from a buddy of mine asking if I had availability to take on a small copy project in a weird little niche that I didn’t even know existed.
What niche was it?
You know – those little old ladies who knit sweaters and scarves?
Well, little did I know… this niche is actually the 6th biggest hobby niche in the world.
At first, when he told me about the project, I gotta admit – I was nervous. I’d had some good experience selling in proven markets like health, fitness, weight loss, dating/PUA… but I hadn’t really ventured out into a market I knew absolutely nothing about.
The project was kind of simple:
All I had to do was sell all 300 of these limited edition, hand carved black & white ebony crochet hooks.
Each one sold for $97.
That made me nervous.
I mean… who the hell in their right mind would pay $97 for a crochet hook when you could buy one off Amazon for like $4? This showed how little I understood this market.
So… what do you do when you don’t understand your market?
Well… looking back, my best piece of advice nowadays would be to “become your market”.
But at the time… money was tight and I wasn’t gonna start spending money on crocheting equipment… nor was I gonna sit there in my rocking chair knitting a god damn pair of socks.
So I did the next best thing:
And the second best thing you can do when you don’t understand what the appeal of your product is… or why people would wanna buy it… would be to go and sit down and actually speak to people who buy these products.
I spoke to a woman I worked with about this project I was working on, asking if she knew anyone who crochets in their spare time.
She was like “I crochet every single day! Let me see these hooks you’re talking about.”
I showed her the hooks and she was taken aback by their beauty.
That was my first clue. Focus on the visual appeal.
I started asking her more questions about crocheting. She told me all about how she loves making her little creations and giving them as gifts. She loves seeing her family members wearing the things she made for them. It’s an act of love.
Then she mentioned one thing that really blew my whole understanding of this product wide open.
She told me how she uses thin hooks for certain projects and thicker hooks for others. She said one thing that stinks about the skinny hooks is that they hurt her hands… while the thicker ones are more comfortable and let her crochet for longer.
NOW I understood everything.
These weren’t just some colorful trinkets.
These thicker, hand-carved wooden hooks that I was selling had a few tangible benefits I would have never understood unless I actually spoke with someone in the market.
I now knew that they were more comfortable in your hand. They let you crochet without pain. I knew that they were visually pleasing… and your friends might even be jealous over the cool looking hook you have.
On top of that…. there were only 300 of these things made… and they weren’t going to make any more.
I had everything I needed.
I sat down… wrote out two “launch” emails… and we sold all 300 hooks (for a total of $29,100) in under 24 hours.
Here’s the big lesson:
Writing copy can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. It’s even harder if you’ve never personally used the product you’re selling before.
The easiest way to get inside your markets head is to first become your market. And if you can’t do that… then simply sit down with someone who buys the exact same kind of product you’re selling.
If you do that… everything will become clear to you.
It’s why all the old school copy gurus suggest selling door to door before you ever get into copywriting. Once you get a chance to talk with your customers, belly to belly, and see what really motivates them to buy… it’s like shooting fish in a barrel with a grenade launcher.
I have a ton more of these “product launch” stories that I could share with you if you found this helpful/interesting/useful/fun.
Let me know if you wanna hear more.