September 21, 2021

Copywriting research: 7 questions to ask to get to high-converting copy

Copywriting is 80% research and 20% writing. What questions should you ask your customers to make your copy extra resonating?
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Writing website copy can be painful. It’s also painfully important.

That’s because there's a direct link between the messaging on your page and the success of your sales. 

In this post, I'm sharing some actionable tips for creating copy that converts. 

Copywriting research gold mine - conversations

The key to high-converting copy is having customer conversations. But you don’t want to just call your customers out of the blue.

Making the most of every second you have with a customer is super important.

When you're running research, you need to make sure that every single interview question has purpose. And that purpose needs to be tied to an overarching goal, which in this case is getting a higher-converting copy.

When you ask the right questions, you can walk away from customer interviews with winning copy that you can literally copy and paste. 

Now let me reveal my seven magic questions: 

Question #1: Describe our product/service in your own words

Helps you get clarity on:

  • Unique value proposition
  • Customer pain points and problems
  • Desired outcomes

This question works wonders to give you bite-sized copy to accurately describe your product or service.

You'll end up with a fantastic pile of information that you can pull words and phrases out of.

You'll know that you're writing the right stuff to hook your customers in, and you'll make them feel instantly connected with your business.

This question is doubly interesting as customers will often describe your product in ways you would never expect.

The conversion glitter

Rachael guarantees that you will always learn something new and surprising when doing copywriting research. 

You can steal language that comes back. Use it word for word on your website, your landing pages, in your emails or whatever - sprinkle those words around like conversion glitter!

The goal: to ensure customers have a clear understanding of your business within milliseconds of landing on your website.

Question #2: What was going on in your life/business that made you look for a product/service like ours?

Helps you get clarity on:

  • Customer pain points and problems
  • The motivators that drive customers to look for a solution like yours
  • Outcomes that customers hoped to achieve with your product/service

The answer to this question can help you join a conversation that's already happening within the mind of the customer when they're researching the products.

It really helps you understand exactly what they were thinking when they land on your page.

These pain points and motivators translate to compelling copy that will make future website visitors feel like you have read their mind.

How much should you edit?

Not much at all. 

You should lift the words exactly as they appear verbatim. Don't try and paraphrase things because all the power is in the exact words that your customers use. 

Question #3: Did you try any other similar solutions before you found ours? 

Helps you get clarity on:

  • Customer awareness levels
  • Market sophistication
  • Competitor products
  • Why customers switched from a competitor
  • Why other solutions didn’t work 

The goal of this copy research question is to get a feel for how savvy your customer is within your market, and what they’ve already tried.

You need to know how aware they are of solutions like yours. Are they highly aware or they have no clue?

If they’ve struggled with competing products, that language is equally valuable. I recommend using it to build out comparison pages on your website. 

It's quite an ethical way to make a comparison page for your business. It's not sleazy.

You can take these words and stuff, positioning your product against the competitor in a kind of a nicer way, so that people can see and feel the advantages to your product.

Question #4: Why did you ultimately decide to choose our product/service?

Helps you get clarity on:

  • Your company/product appeal 
  • Your key differentiators
  • Gaps in competitor features or messaging that you can capitalize on to strengthen your market position
  • Outcomes people hoped to achieve with your product/service

This question can serve to multitask in a lot of fun ways.

You can run surveys for a client and use the answer to this question to redesign the homepage. 

We ran a ton of surveys for this product, and I'm honestly like 99% of answers that came back were to do with the team, how great the team was, how supportive they were.

Because so many customers were obsessed with the team, I decided they deserved to be highlighted on the website.

We created a new section on the home page that prominently displayed photos and copy about the stellar customer service team who were making clients so happy.

New customers were quickly sold on the product as a result of seeing the new copy and feeling the reassurance that they would be in great hands.

Question #5: Did you have any initial hesitations about signing up/using/buying our product?

Helps you get clarity on: 

  • Customer anxieties that you can address within you copy to reduce purchase objections
  • Things to include in your FAQ page or pricing page

This question is all about battling customer objections.

Once you know what customers’ anxieties and questions are, you can work to combat them in your marketing copy.

When people are thinking about buying, they can see their common objections, remember it on the page and be like, oh yeah, that's cool. That answers my question. So it's a really, really practical question as well.

The current Mailchimp homepage as doing a good job with this. 

They might've heard that Mailchimp support was a big objection for example. So they wanted to put award-winning support in there as a reassuring objection-blocker.

Question #6: How has your life/business changed since using our product/service? 

Helps you get clarity on: 

  • Key benefits
  • Outcomes
  • Potential testimonials and case studies

This question will do more than give you the warm fuzzies.

It will help you gain a better understanding of how your product or service can transform people’s lives. 

Designed for current customers who already use your product, this question will tease out hidden benefits and provide fodder for testimonials and case studies.

These are really nice things that come back that you can use in your copywriting to make other people feel that's how their life will be after they've used your product.

Question #7: If a friend asked you why they should use our product/service, what would you tell them? 

Helps you get clarity on: 

  • Key benefits
  • Desired outcomes

A re-framing of question #6, this one is great to ask in interviews.

Asking people how they'd sell your product or service to a friend and someone that trusts them typically results in honest, unbiased answers.

It gets the customer to think more laterally about the outcomes they've had since using your product.

It gives you some really nice natural language to weave into your copy. And it also gives you even deeper insights into the value that people are finding in your product.

Feel free to take the best answers and turn them into testimonials or case studies. Often, interviewees are more than willing to answer follow-up questions about specific details and metrics.  

Sprinkle on the Voice of Customer magic

As you can see, the answers to these questions really can prove magical for conversion copywriting.

New clarity around customers’ experiences means you can craft new copy for headlines, landing pages, sales pages, emails, and dial in your brand messaging as a whole.   

Anywhere that you need good copy, refer back to the data that you've collected from your customers.

You'll start getting a sense of ‘we can use this!’ It’s all just practice and repetition.

Out now: Watch our free B2B messaging course and learn all the techniques (from basic to advanced) to create messaging that resonates with your target customers.

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