Clayton Makepeace recently revived an old copywriting post titled "8 Ways to Spot Dominant Emotions Your Prospects Already Have That Could Drive Your Response Rates Through the Roof." In that post, Makepeace explains uncomplicated yet effective methods for researching your target market. By the end of the post you realize there really is no excuse for leaving out this critical step. While the copywriting techniques outlined are indeed timeless, I'd like to "Twitterize" some of Makepeace's points for the social web. Let's see how:

Makepeace: "Chat up your friends and family."

Twitterization: This is more about staying engaged with your tweeps than anything else. Hanging out on Twitter isn't enough. You need to stimulate conversation. Take informal polls and tweet about topics that relate to the market you're trying to understand. For example, tweet links to controversial or otherwise provocative blog posts and see what comes back. Be sure to add a brief description to the link your tweeting so your tweeps will click on it. 

Makepeace: "Talk to strangers."

Similar idea to the above but requires you be a bit more bold. In other words, find people in your target market to follow and shoot 'em with a question right off the hop. Both their eagerness to respond and candor on the public timeline might surprise you. Twitter users want to see that @ in front of their name. Makes them feel special!

Makepeace: "Immerse yourself in popular culture."

If Twitter is not a window into the popular zeitgeist I don't know what is. Microblog posts are much less scripted than most journalistic writing and definitely less edited than the conventional blog post. Just remember to keep a notepad nearby to jot down any gems of insight you glean in your twitter travels.  

Makepeace: "Divine the answer."

Makepeace talks about observing your competitors' copywriting techniques. Twitter makes this pretty easy. Follow other copywriters and internet marketers. We're an egocentric bunch and generally like to tweet links to stuff we write.

Makepeace: "Check the polls."

Dig into Twitter's search engine, (formerly known as Summize). Plug a few key phrases in and do some trendspotting. This is also a great way to find new tweeps to stalk--er, I mean follow.

Good copywriting is rooted in raw, unedited emotion. And researching how people really feel about something used to be a daunting--and often expensive--proposition. However, the social web means that even if you're a copywriting newbie you have no excuse for not conducting at least some baseline, observational research on your target market. Of course, Twitter is just one example of a social media tool that allows you to easily engage your market on the cheap. The possibilities are endless.

January 17, 2009

Karri Flatla is a business graduate of the University of Lethbridge and principal of snap! virtual associates inc., a virtual consulting firm providing business communications and Internet marketing services to the progressive entrepreneur. Karri also produces Outsmart, the email newsletter for small business with big purpose. Visit for more information. Click to follow Karri on Twitter.


Good Article, Karri! :)

Thank you for writing and sharing it with all of us for everyone's benefit! :)

We Agree! that Twitter, and similarly other Social Networks, can be used as aGreat Market Research Tool!

Thank you again, Karri, and everyone Have a Great Day! :)

Nice application of Clayton's concepts to Twitter. Another good reminder that people are people regardless of the technology.

Thanks, Karri!

Enjoyed reading your article Karri. Thanks for sharing this :-) ~ Anne Ahira

You know what the only issue I really don't see who has time to follow many people. I mean I understand if it's your Family and friend but then follow marketers and people in your industry. That gets too much. Maybe you need to outsource.

Sharon Koifman

IT Outsourcing provider

Hi Sharon - I appreciate your concerns re spending too much time on Twitter if you use it for marketing related activities. You have to be judicious with who/what/how you "tweet", much like any other social networking tool.

However, Twitter and other social web tools are fast becoming must have tools for many businesses trying to deliver value to audiences that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to reach.

And indeed just about anything can be outsourced, including social media strategy and implementation. Though on Twitter I would suggest that if you have assistance with your "tweeting" you get involved personally to whatever extent possible. People want to feel like they are connecting with real people in real time and Twitter makes b2b marketing feel more authentic and real than it perhaps has been for a very long time online.

Just some thoughts to consider!

Well, that's nice to discover, that Twitter has this search function ( --- where was I that I had not realized or discovered this tool previously. Hmm, maybe too busy twittering away and not looking at what Twitter has to offer. Very, cool Karri, thanx for that.

I personally think the hype about Twitter is really out of propotion. I have not been able to make a head or tale out of the whole Twitter marketing hype.

I started using twitter as a social site and now I am amazed at how much it helps in my business. I now use it as a professional networking tool. In fact, as a freelance sourcing specialist, I have been able to get candidate referrals from my twitter friends. I see twitter becoming the best recruiting tool for todays recruiter. :)

My weight loss site

I have recently starting using Twitter, however I can't really give any results for it's effectiveness. I think for it to be effective takes a lot of work, and it's not easy to get people to follow you.

My Get Your Ex Back Website

Hi! Thanks for posting this information. I have been looking for this kinds of information for months, good thing I found it here! Hope to read more posts from you.

3 Boys in SanDiego

This is a great post and should be read by all marketers venturing into social media campaigns, in my view. On the 'friends' point - maybe there's a wider definition of 'friends, family, colleagues' than just ours. Many brands or companies have their own (not ours) friends - or at least potential friends - that they may or may not use effectively. Customers who are ultra loyal, or groups with an interest for some reason. (Years and years ago, I was involved in a huge promotion of a new roller coaster in a Florida theme park, and we recruited the Roller Coster Club of Great Britain to do the first reviews and spread the word for us in the early forums - what we'd now call a social media 'seeding' campaign, I suppose. They were sort of friends of the park and helped us get what now we'd call early adopters out to try the ride.) If a friend group doesn't already exist, I guess part of the job of PR could be to create them for the overall brand, before embarking on word of mouth campaigns against specific projects.


Karri awsome artcle,,mny thks 4 share

Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.

Search Engine Guide > Karri Flatla > Twitter as Target Market Research Tool (and the Twitterization of Clayton Makepeace)