Interview Questions for Copywriters to Ask Their Clients

One way to create killer copy is to interview your clients and ask good questions as part of your research. Your clients’ answers can often provide you with new ideas, new insights, and even copy that you can use verbatim in your sales letter.

And while there is an art to the interview process, it’s always good to have a list of potential questions to ask. You may not use all of them every time, but you will use many of them. Here are some of the interview questions I’ve used in the past.

Please remember: These are questions to ask AFTER you’ve accepted the project and been paid! (You would ask different questions BEFORE accepting the project.)

  • Tell me about your background. How did you get into the business of ______?
  • What inspired you to create this product?
  • What’s the biggest benefit your product delivers?
  • Besides the money, why are you excited about selling ______?
  • Who is your ideal customer or client? Describe that person.
  • When somebody buys your product and experiences it for themselves, how do they react? What do they say?
  • What are the biggest objections people have to buying your product? How do you normally overcome these objections?
  • Who are your biggest competitors and how are you different from them?

Look closely and you’ll see all the above questions are “big picture” questions to help you uncover the story behind the product (if there is one), and identify a compelling hook or way to position the product.

But don’t forget the details! Here are questions I always ask at the end of a client interview:

  • What’s the price? Will there be a multi-payment plan? Is there a cut-off date to take advantage of the multi-payment plan?
  • Do you have testimonials for your product? If so, please send me a file or link.
  • What’s your guarantee period? 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, a year?
  • Are you planning to offer any bonus gifts as an incentive to purchase? If so, please send them to me.
  • Is there a deadline for ordering or anything else to create urgency?
  • Do you have any articles, press releases, academic studies, or any other research material I can get access to? (NOTE: Good clients already have quite a bit of research in their possession. Why duplicate effort?)
  • Anything else I should know before I get started?

Obviously, these questions should not be followed rigidly.

I find that usually a few questions will get a client talking so much that he’ll inadvertently answer other questions I was planning to ask. So shuffle around the questions as needed.

And — most important — be engaged. Take notes. Be genuinely interested in your client and what he’s telling you. This way the interview will flow naturally and feel good for both of you.

Not to mention, you’ll reach the end of your interview with much of the raw material you’ll need to craft a winning sales letter.

******

Ryan Healy is a freelance copywriter who specializes in direct response copywriting. If you’d like to learn more about the art of writing copy that sells, check out Copywriting Code.

kevindawson - September 30, 2009

Hi Ryan,
Thanks for the list. I've used it to revise my own – so it's been very helpful. Thanks again.

In fact, I even take it a step further. When I have my answers, I compile them into a creative brief, which is sort of a “scope of work,” and immediately email them back to the client. It sure helps eliminate misunderstandings, or claims of “wait, you promised X amount of emails, and a press release too!”

Ryan M. Healy - October 1, 2009

You're welcome, Kevin.

I, too, put into writing what the project entails right after the prospect has agreed to become a client. I draw up an invoice and/or brief contract and send them over.

Then, after those details are out of the way, I conduct the initial client interview, which may cover some of the same ground as the prospect interview — but is more thorough.

Ryan

Ryan M. Healy - October 1, 2009

Rab – I often record my client interviews as well; good to have a back up of your written notes. Thanks for commenting!

Ryan

Rab - October 1, 2009

Quite a good list, I always try to fit in the '6 w's' of journalism – who, what, why, where, when and how. I also use a dictaphone when talking to clients so I have all the information I need which I can go back to – that's in addition to making notes throughout.

Farhad Khurshed - October 16, 2009

Great questions. Some of these can also be used to interview an expert and turn the responses into an audio product. Or a webinar.

Yassin - June 15, 2014

Ryan,

What set of questions would you ask a prospect to reveal their motivations, needs, pains, buying criteria & decision making process etc…

Comments are closed