Monica Badiu, Email Copywriter & Copy Coach

I am an email copywriter, and this is the very first thing I do in early January: I conduct market research to help me better understand a target audience in the coming year.

I usually start with an overview of what people say they want in the coming year.

Yes, I am talking about resolutions, and if you’re a business owner or a fellow copywriter looking for ideas to make your sales copy more effective, I recommend you read this post (or scan through it, at least).

Market research is one of the most valuable things you can do for your marketing. I do it because it helps me write sales copy that is effective and relevant.

Read Next: The Art of Email Copywriting: Lessons from Generating Over $3 Million for Course Creators in 2023

But it’s information that can also help every bit of your content marketing strategy.

Here’s why:

Get the reader’s attention with copy that is relevant to his situation, pain points, and desires

It’s human nature. Human brains are wired to filter information constantly due to the sheer volume of stimuli encountered daily. We naturally tend to focus on information that seems pertinent to our lives and disregard what appears irrelevant.

Not to mention that relevant content can trigger emotional responses, such as happiness, excitement, or empathy. Emotional engagement is a powerful driver of attention and memory.

When information aligns with our existing beliefs, opinions, or interests, it creates cognitive resonance.

This alignment is comforting and affirming, making us more likely to pay attention and engage.

Then, if the copy you write has a practical application for your target audience, it becomes more attractive.

These are the elements to have in mind when you’re writing copy (particularly sales copy).

Read Next: Copywriting Tip To Increase Sales In Email Promotions: It’s All About The Context.

What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form – David Ogilvy

Enter resolutions for the year to come.

When it comes to figuring out what to write in your email copy in January, it doesn’t get easier than resolutions. Different brands have different approaches, and I’ll discuss that later in this blog post.

What you need to remember now is:

Tackling resolutions in your January emails is a great example of how you can write copy that sells.

Aka it’s copy that is relevant and valuable to your audience. Relevancy and context are very important points when presenting a prospect with an offer. These two elements justify WHY they should consider looking at your offer.

Are resolutions even relevant?

Oh my god, YES! And I’ll list just a few important points below:

It’s a New Year tradition

January, being the first month of the year, is often seen as a prime time for starting self-improvement initiatives.

There’s the twelve grapes tradition, which involves eating twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve, one grape at each stroke of the clock. Each grape represents a wish or goal for the upcoming twelve months. This tradition, known as “Las doce uvas de la suerte” (The twelve grapes of luck), is both a fun and meaningful way to welcome the new year, symbolizing hopes and resolutions for prosperity and good fortune in the year ahead.

In Japan, the New Year (Shougatsu) is a time for various customs that symbolize renewal, happiness, and prosperity. One of the traditions is “Kakizome,” the first calligraphy writing of the year, usually done on January 2nd. People write down their goals, resolutions, or auspicious words and phrases, often in poetic form. This practice reflects their aspirations and intentions for the new year.

We live in a self-improvement culture

It’s a trend that keeps growing, and it’s evident across different areas:

There is a workplace emphasis on employee development, the growing influence of social media content focused on personal growth or the popularity of apps designed for productivity and health management.

Public discourse is increasingly open about topics like mental health and personal development, indicating a greater societal awareness and acceptance of the importance of continual self-improvement.

While this culture talks about personal growth and self-awareness, it’s important to approach it with balance to avoid unrealistic expectations and potential burnout, acknowledging that access to self-improvement resources can vary greatly.

Everyone talks about resolutions, so the awareness of the topic is high

Media outlets, both traditional and digital, often focus on resolutions in January. This includes articles, blog posts, TV segments, and social media content about setting and achieving goals, which keeps the topic in the public eye. On social media, people frequently share their resolutions, progress, and challenges, especially in January.

It is easy to tailor the concept to your ideal customer

Some people hate resolutions. Other people don’t believe in resolutions. And some feel pressured into setting resolutions. Many fail before they even give resolutions a chance. A few succeed. There’s so much room for you to adapt your copy to what your audience thinks of the topic. So, regardless of where you decide to take it, you’ll still be tapping into the massive awareness of the topic.

According a 2023 report by Numberator:

“Nearly half of consumers plan on making New Year’s resolutions for 2024. 48% of consumers plan to make resolutions, down slightly from 50% last year. 21% do not plan to make resolutions and 31% are still undecided.”

 A new YouGov poll finds that for Americans making New Year’s resolutions, their top priorities are finances, physical health, and mental health.
A new YouGov poll finds that for Americans making New Year’s resolutions, their top priorities are finances, physical health, and mental health. Source

Ok, now to the fun part.

What do people want in 2024?

1. To save more money

Statista’s Consumer Insights survey results for Top New Year's Resolutions for 2024
Statista’s Consumer Insights survey results for Top New Year’s Resolutions for 2024

One of the interesting things about looking at resolutions for the year to come is spotting changes in consumer behavior. For instance, there’s a change in what comes first in Statista’s Consumer Insights poll for America’s Top New Year’s Resolutions for 2024, compared to 2023.

This year, saving more money is a top priority for 59% of respondents, whereas in 2023, it came in fourth with only 39%.

Statista’s Consumer Insights survey results for Top New Year's Resolutions for 2023
Statista’s Consumer Insights survey results for Top New Year’s Resolutions for 2023

So, what do you do with this information?

Here are some ways you can tackle this pain point when you write copy:

  • One of the very first things you should begin to tackle in your copy this year is to show potential customers how your offer is actually saving them more money.
    • Once they use your course, what would they stop doing that is currently impacting their finances?
    • What other purchases would they be able to stop making because they now use your course?
    • How much money would they be making (potentially), or how much time would they save thanks to your course?
    • Compare your course with the other choices they have (buying books, working 1:1, buying from the competition etc)
  • Add a section on your landing pages that explains how your offer is saving them more money
  • Add a money-back guarantee that makes it easy for your audience to test your course without risking their money
  • Associate a dollar cost to inaction

Obviously, some audiences will relate more to this goal than others.

One way you can test this is by sending a poll and seeing what your own audience is interested in.

If you’re a course creator who teaches about being frugal, minimalism, finances, paying off debt, starting, running or scaling a business, then you will want to go more in-depth.

For instance, “overall, 47% of Americans surveyed by GOBankingRates say they realistically want to save $5,000 or more in 2024. Considering that the median household income is around $75,000 in the U.S., even just one person in a household saving $5,000 equates to a household savings rate of nearly 7%.”

The same report also talks about how different generations want to save more money:

“People between 25 to 44 (mainly millennials, with Gen Z and Gen X on the fringes) are setting ambitious savings goals, even at a time when they may be juggling competing financial priorities, such as saving for a house and raising children.”

A study by Ascent, states the same thing:

“Resolution goals differ by generation. Older generations are more concerned about paying off debt and saving for retirement. Younger generations are more interested in saving for big purchases and earning more.”

2.To exercise more

You don't need to be in the healthy industry to tackle this resolution in your marketing. The most common objections to exercising are: 1) lack of time, 2) social influence, 3) lack of energy, 4) lack of willpower, 5) fear of injury, 6) lack of skill, and 7) lack of resources (eg, recreational facilities, exercise equipment).

Consider what this means to your specific readers. Here are some examples:

If you serve moms

Mothers have a hard time finding time to take care of themselves. But if they are able to exercise more, they might have more energy, a better handle on the effects of stress, and a better grip on navigating work, chores, kids, and, well... life. So, how can you help these moms find the time, energy, and commitment to exercise more?

If you serve business owners

Oh, damn. Time is an essential asset... Unfortunately, it's limited. So, how can you help this audience earn back their time OR use it better to get the extra time to do more of what they love or need to, like exercising?

If you have a video or audio course

You can easily tap into this resolution to exercise more by simply saying they can follow your course while exercising. They can listen to your course while running or doing crunches. You can even turn this into a health challenge, where your students get a physical workout challenge with each lesson.

If you teach minimalism or are an advocate for sustainability

You can help your audience hit their goal of exercising more, even if they don't have the resources or money to buy equipment. Give them alternatives. What can they do in the comfort of their homes, using equipment that's already there?

Take research with a grain of salt.

The best way to get insights that are tailored to your target audience is to do the research yourself. This implies sending surveys, conducting customer interviews, researching trends, and analyzing data that is designed for your specific target audience.

Take time to know your customers and get the data that speaks to them. This is how you'll find customer language, and the exact words that your audience is using to describe their pain points. This will help you write better copy.

Here's an example based on geography:

GoCompare asked 2,000 UK respondents about their 2024 resolutions. Look at the language in the third resolution. While Americans said  "exercise more", UK respondents said "get fit/take more exercise". Minor differences, but important nonetheless.
GoCompare asked 2,000 UK respondents about their 2024 resolutions. Look at the language in the third resolution. While Americans said "exercise more", UK respondents said "get fit/take more exercise". Minor differences, but important nonetheless. Source

And here's another example, from Australia:

If you want to increase conversions and write better copy, take the time to know what your target audience wants

You can't write effective sales copy without market research.

You can't run effective digital marketing campaigns if you don't know exactly what your buyer personas want or are struggling with.

This is the type of information that makes your unique selling proposition... unique.

It's what boosts conversion rates across all of your funnels.

It's so much easier writing copy when you have the research at your fingertips

If you are a business owner who stumbled upon this content, know that you don't have to do the research on your own. I know your time is precious. But you can adjust your marketing budget to include this research activity. You can add this task to one of your marketing employees or outsource it completely. There are many companies and professionals who offer this type of service.

About the Author

Monica Badiu is an email copywriter and copy coach. She specializes in sales copywriting for online course creators who want to send emails that speak to their ideal customer and generate conversions without using fearmongering or pressure. She’s made clients over $3 million in 2023.

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