Ask These 7 Questions So You Can Hit The Mark

by Sarah on July 4, 2013


Over the last few years I’ve been learning how to shoot.

With a pistol I’m able to hit a 2-inch mark from 50 feet with pretty good accuracy. I can hit a target with a rifle several hundred feet away consistently as well.

But here’s the thing . . . pulling the trigger is the easy part. It’s the steps I take leading up to that point that makes the difference in how accurately I can shoot . . .

  • My stance – how I place my feet, bend my knees and lean into the shot . . .
  • My grip – I’ve got to lock in my hands just the right way to hold the gun firmly . . .
  • My arms – with just the right extension and a slight inward contraction to add to the power of my grip . . .
  • My sighting – how I line up the sights with the target.

Once I get all these steps in place, hitting the mark is relatively straightforward.

It’s the same thing with copywriting. There are certain steps I take way in advance of starting to write that makes it easier to hit the mark.

Beatrice recently emailed me asking me about one of these steps. And in fact, it’s a step that is often overlooked despite the fact that it can provide some of the key insights for the project – not to mention save you a lot of grief.

It’s the initial intake interview with the client.

Bea, if you’re reading this, your questions are hot on my mind. I just finished up one such interview and I was again reminded of how powerful this step is. The forty-five minutes I spent on the phone with this client gave me enormous insights about the product, his ideal customers, his competition and – very important – his goals.

So without furtherĀ  ado, let me delve into some of the most strategic questions you should ask in every interview.

[Marketers – hint, these are questions you should be hearing from your copywriter – or insert yourself into the discussion to make sure they’re armed with the right insights.)

7 Key Questions To Ask Before Any Health Copywriting Project

After getting some technical specs on the project i.e. price point, offer, guarantee, premiums, call to action, etc., be sure and ask these questions . . .

1. (This one’s a classic Q) What is your ideal customer’s biggest pain? What keeps them up at night desperate for a solution? What are the emotions behind this?

2. How does your product solve their problem? Specifically, which features of the product are key to the solution you provide?

3. What kind of proof can you provide for this? (research, testimonials, professional endorsements, before/after photos, customers you can interview)

4. How is your product unique in the marketplace – how is it different from the competition (this helps you define its unique selling proposition (USP)).

5. What are your customer’s preconceptions about your product and your company? (Keep in mind this can be answered specifically if your prospects are familiar with the product/company and/or general if it’s about the general industry/products.)

6. What objections do you need to overcome? (This is a big one – key for any copywriting project!)

7. What are your competitors saying? What do you like/dislike about what they’re saying in their marketing material? (This can give you key insights to what’s working in the marketplace.)

Going Beyond The Questions So Your Health Copywriting Will Shine . . .

Over the years, I’ve developed a list of close to 30 questions I ask my clients before beginning a project. And you’ll develop more as well. In fact, many of my questions are the same one rephrased to help jog a better answer out of the people I’m talking to.

But if you just start with these 7, you will have a solid foundation for getting to the core insights you need to get from your client.

Please note: You should be prepared to answer these yourself as well, based on your research and experience in writing for a market. Your client hired you so you can do this kind of thinking and analysis.

But make sure you get your client’s two cents. You can save yourself time – and grief – from going off track. And it may help open up new avenues you hadn’t considered.

In addition to your answers, be sure and ask your client for

  • any testimonials,
  • access to customer service,
  • potentially access to a few key customers to interview,
  • any resident experts to interview, and
  • any research they already have on the competition, the market and your product.

Again, you’ll have to do the research too. But this gives you a good start.

If your client doesn’t have customers or testimonials to share with you,

  • go lurk on some online forums of your target market,
  • read some product reviews on and
  • talk to a friend if they fit your market.

In fact, doing this in addition to whatever your client provides will also add critical depth to your understanding. You’ll know who you’re writing to. Which is really more important than knowing what you’re writing about.

Are there some questions I left out? What questions would you add to this crucial interview? How have they helped you in writing? Please share below.


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