Asking the right questions is essential for copywriters. It shows that you truly understand your client's needs and helps you create persuasive and effective copy. By obtaining crucial details about the brand, target audience, goals, and more, you can craft a message that resonates.
Thoughtful questioning demonstrates expertise and strengthens your client's confidence in hiring you. Ultimately, gathering insights through smart questioning allows you to write copy that drives real business results.
Client Background Questions
Before you start strategizing and creating copy, it's crucial to understand who your client is and what their business is all about. Here are some key questions to ask:
→ What does the company do? Get a high-level view of the company's offerings, products, and services.
→ How long have they been in business? Understanding their history can provide insight into their reputation, successes, and pain points.
→ What are their top products or service lines? Know which offerings are most important so you can focus copy efforts accordingly.
Getting a solid foundational understanding of who your client is and what their business objectives are is crucial to writing copy that will truly resonate with their brand and audience. Do your due diligence here before jumping into creating a copy.
Target Audience Questions
Creating a profile of your target audience is one of the most fundamental parts of a copywriting project. Without knowing exactly who you need to appeal to, it's difficult to craft messaging that will truly resonate.
Here are some key questions to ask clients about their target audience:
→ Who is the primary target audience? Get as much demographic information as possible - age, gender, location, income level, education, interests, etc.
→ What motivations and values does the target audience have? Understanding their desires and what's important to them will allow you to connect with them on an emotional level.
→ What problems or pain points does the target audience have that your product/service can help solve? Knowing their challenges is crucial for positioning your offering as the ideal solution.
→ What stage of awareness is the target audience in? Are they just becoming aware of the problem, actively researching solutions, or ready to purchase? Messaging should match their mindset.
→ What objections might the target audience have that you'll need to overcome? Anticipating doubts and concerns will let you craft rebuttals ahead of time.
→ Where does the target audience currently get information? Knowing their preferred media channels, influencers, and communities will inform where and how to reach them.
→ What tone and language does the target audience best respond to? Align your copy with their vocabulary, speaking style, humor level, and cultural references.
→ Are there multiple target audiences? If so, you may need separate marketing campaigns tailored to each.
Getting a crystal clear picture of your target audience is the key that unlocks effective copywriting across all platforms, guiding everything from the offer to design to channel selection. Take the time upfront to thoroughly understand the customers you need to reach at a core level. It will pay off exponentially in crafting copy that truly speaks to them.
→ What product/service will we advertise? This is arguably the most important question to ask. You need a crystal clear understanding of exactly what you'll be promoting in the campaign. Is it a single product, a range, a service, or something else? Get very specific details here.
→ What are the key features of the product/service? Make a list of all the main features, capabilities, components, and attributes of what you are advertising. This info will help shape your messaging and copy angles.
→ What makes the product/service unique? Understanding the differentiators of what you are promoting is crucial for effective copy. What makes it stand out from competitors? Why should customers buy this particular product/service over others? What unique benefits does it provide?
→ You need to understand the intended audience inside and out. Their needs, challenges, desires, and buying motivations should inform how you position and tailor your copy.
→ How does the product/service benefit the customer? Don't just focus on features, dig into the actual benefits, outcomes, and value it provides target customers. This helps craft compelling copy that resonates.
→ Are there any limitations? Being aware of any downsides, risks, or limitations of the product/service allows you to address concerns upfront in a way that builds trust and credibility.
→ What problems does it solve? Understanding the specific consumer problems and pain points it solves enables you to craft copy that powerfully resonates with their needs.
→ Why should customers buy it? Boil down the most compelling reasons someone should buy this over other options. These will form the foundation of your copy messaging and value propositions.
→ What objections might customers have? Being aware of any potential customer objections allows you to craft messaging to reassure and overcome them.
→ Are there any weaknesses compared to competitors? If the product/service lags competitors in some areas, you need to know this to avoid overpromising. Focus on unique strengths.
The more intimately you understand all aspects of the product/service, the better equipped you'll be to create compelling, results-driven copy. Take the time upfront to dig deep, ask lots of questions, and understand it inside out.
Competitor's Essential Questions Every Copywriter Must Ask
Conducting thorough competitor research is a crucial part of any copywriting project. Understanding the competitive landscape helps you identify gaps in the market, find areas where you can differentiate, and learn from the messaging that’s already resonating with your target audience.
Here are some Essential Questions every copywriter must ask to ask about your client’s competitors:
→ Who are the main competitors? Make a list of the top 3-5 competitors and dig into what makes each one unique. Pay attention to their brand positioning and messaging.
→ How do competitors market themselves? Review their websites, ads, social media, direct mail, and other marketing materials. Take note of the key benefits and features they promote, along with the overall positioning. Look for common themes, which are pain points you’ll want to address.
→ What are competitors doing well? Don’t be afraid to give kudos where it’s due. If a competitor's messaging speaks to the target audience, figure out why it works and how you can put a unique spin on similar ideas.
→ Where are competitors falling short? Look for weak spots or gaps you can fill, whether that’s an underserved audience segment, emerging customer need, or area where competitors lack credibility.
→ How do competitors differentiate themselves? Every brand needs a unique value proposition. See what unique benefits, qualities, or experiences competitors are touting and brainstorm how your client can stand apart.
→ What do customers think of competitors? Search online reviews and social media chatter to learn common complaints, praise, misconceptions, and discussion topics. Let real customer perspectives inform your messaging.
By fully understanding the competitive landscape, you'll have the insight needed to craft messaging that resonates and helps your client stand out. Competitor research sets the stage for message differentiation and showcases gaps or weaknesses to capitalize on.
Campaign Objective Questions
Understanding the campaign goals and desired outcomes is crucial for writing effective copy. As the copywriter, you need to have clarity on what your client is trying to achieve through the campaign.
Here are some key questions to ask:
→ What are the main goals of this campaign? Is it to increase sales, generate leads, build brand awareness, etc? Get specifics from the client.
→ How will you measure the success of the campaign? What key performance indicators (KPIs) will you track? Potential metrics include lead generation, sales revenue, website traffic, social media engagement, etc.
→ Is there a specific target number or percentage your client wants to reach for each KPI? Make sure you understand their desired benchmarks.
→ Over what time does the client want to achieve these goals? Is it a short-term campaign or part of their long-term strategy?
→ Are there any secondary audiences you should keep in mind? Sometimes a campaign needs to appeal to multiple segments.
→ What actions do you want the audience to take after seeing the campaign? Sign up, purchase, share, etc.
Having clear campaign objectives will allow you to craft copy and messaging tailored to achieve those specific goals. Always dig deeper into what success looks like for your client. The more details you can get, the better you can position the campaign to deliver results.
The budget available for a marketing campaign or project is one of the most important pieces of information a copywriter needs from a client. As they say, you can't make something from nothing!
Here are some key budget questions a copywriter should ask:
→ What is the overall budget for this project? Is this budget flexible or fixed?
→ How much has been budgeted for copywriting specifically?
→ What is the cost per lead or conversion you are aiming for with this campaign?
→ How are you currently acquiring customers and what does it cost to acquire a new customer on average?
→ What is your breakeven point for customer acquisition cost versus customer lifetime value?
→ Do you have any constraints around spending such as cash flow issues that may impact the timing of budgets?
→ Will there be additional budgets for other elements like design, development, and advertising media?
→ Are there existing assets like imagery that can be reused to save costs?
→ Does the budget need to be staged over time or can it be spent upfront if required?
Knowing the client's budget and constraints is crucial for setting expectations around deliverables. With a clear sense of the budget, the copywriter can tailor their process, scope of work, and recommendations towards realistic outcomes for the client. A small budget doesn't have to limit great copy, but it helps set the scene.
Understanding the timeline and deadlines for a copywriting project is crucial for delivering work on time and managing client expectations.
Discuss the following with the client:
→ What is the project timeline and any key deadlines? Get specifics on when the client needs the copy - is there a hard deadline or is it more flexible?
→ How much time do you have to write, revise, and finalize the copy? Don't overpromise on unrealistic timeframes.
→ What is the overall production timeline? When does the client need the copy for design, development, printing, etc?
→ Is the timeline firm or could it shift? Build in buffer time in case of delays or additional revisions.
→ Does the timeline need to align with any external factors like events, campaigns, or seasons?
→ What steps follow after the copy is approved? Understanding the next steps helps plan.
Having an agreed-upon timeline upfront prevents rushed jobs and missed deadlines. Check in regularly to ensure you're on track and alert the client early about any potential delays. A reasonable timeline respects your process and enables you to do your best work.
Brand Voice Questions
Understanding the desired brand voice is crucial for crafting persuasive and on-brand copy. Ask your client:
→ What is the desired tone and brand voice? Formal, casual, humorous, or authoritative? Get a clear sense of their brand personality.
→ Do they have existing brand guidelines or past successful campaigns you can reference? Look at those for tone consistency.
→ What sets their brand apart? Emphasize those differentiating traits in the copy.
→ Are there any direct competitors whose tone they want to avoid? Know who not to emulate.
→ Are there legal or regulatory guidelines to consider regarding claims or messaging? Stay compliant.
→ Should the copy be more emotion-driven or more factual and logical? Both can work, but know which direction to lean into.
→ Is there any language, jargon, or terminology that is on-brand? Use it appropriately.
Getting crystal clear on the ideal brand voice will allow you to craft compelling copy that sounds natural coming from the brand. This keeps the messaging consistent and effective across campaigns.
Asking the right questions is critical for creating effective copy that resonates with your target audience. By taking the time to thoroughly understand your client's business, goals, audience, and more, you set yourself up for copywriting success.
To recap, some of the most important questions to ask clients include:
→ Who is the target audience? What are their pain points and desires?
→ What is the product or service? What makes it unique?
→ What is the campaign objective and desired outcome?
→ What tone and brand voice will connect best with the audience?
While an exhaustive questionnaire can seem daunting, it ensures you have all the information needed to craft copy that sells. The questions help uncover the story only an insider would know. They reveal the details that make marketing messages compelling and meaningful.
In summary, sharp questioning skills are a copywriter's superpower.
Mastering the art of strategic inquiry paves the way for a copy that inspires action. So next time you start a project, remember to dig deeper with a robust set of questions. Understanding the heart of your client's business will empower you to write stellar copy.
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