12 replies
In this thread, Tedel offered the following tip:

Tip: Never start with a question which might admit a 'no' for answer.
Celestrist, the OP, thought:

The point is, if you say no to my question, you are probably not my target audience. And I am not trying to grab everybody's attention.
I think this is valid, especially in niche marketing. If I have a headline along the lines of "Are you worried about the new tax law?" (which is a long way from the world's greatest headline, I admit - not the point), I don't care about the people who answer no. They were never going to buy what I was selling anyway.

Desptie this, I still see a lot of people saying you should never ask a question to which 'no' might be the answer - am I missing something here? Or should I just be reading 'never' as 'you should be careful of'?

I've put a new thread here because I don't want to risk derailing Celestrist getting critiques, but I'd be interested to know what y'all think.
  • Profile picture of the author Elion Makkink
    Well, it depends I guess.

    Maybe you can still convince the buyers who are on the fence to get them to buy.
    However, if your headline could be answered with 'no' they might not bite. I would rather make a big promise in the headline, the best possible outcome of your product/service.

    Or rise curiosity in a smart way (so without the 'no' answer).

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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Until you get to the reason for anyone to care about the new tax law, 80% of your potential target customers will also say "no."

    Nothing about this example compels a reader to get into the body copy.

    Questions are powerful, but tricky. You should be careful using questions.

    Do You Owe An Additional $2,347 Under The New Tax Law?

    People who just don't care will, of course, never read further. However, it's better strategy to allow those reading to drop off in the course of reading the offer.

    A new tax law is generic. The headline I suggest (also rough) gives a target reader a reason to care about the answer to the question.
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  • Profile picture of the author mathman
    This makes sense. Usually people who are not your target audience will leave the page relatively early on so having a question lower in the page doesn't seem to be a problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    What you are also forgetting is market awareness. Some products
    are not needed until you convince the prospects that they need
    that product. So using a "no" answer questions can weed out
    your potential buyers because they don't know they have
    the "problem" that your product solves.

    It's like selling a personal computer 40 years ago. Most people
    didn't even think having a computer at home was practical
    or even useful.

    Today, it's a different story because of market awareness.

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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    I love questions in headlines. But only headlines that start with what or why. Questions that make readers want to read more copy to find the answers to the question in the headline.

    I think a question that can be answered with a yes or no is not good for a headline.

    But, in your opening sentence, you could ask a question such as, "If I could show how to get an easy divorce in 5 days with no legal fees at all, would you be interested?"

    In short, the location of your question in the copy helps determine the type of question you want to use.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mr Bill
      Great thread! Killer title too.

      Originally Posted by ThomasOMalley View Post

      I love questions in headlines. But only headlines that start with what or why. Questions that make readers want to read more copy to find the answers to the question in the headline.

      That's a good tip! I immediately started to brain storm "why and what" headlines...lol

      The best copy writing tip I ever got was to just write like you're talking to a friend. The "I dare you" in this headline is something I would say and that gets attention straight away but having said that I find myself personally attracted to a question, any question as long as it shows that the person who wants me to read it wants to interact with me.

      If I'm going to buy something from someone at a real walk-in shop I would want them to talk directly to me. If the question is natural, powerful, well phrased and it "invites me in for a good experience" I'll bite.
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  • Profile picture of the author RHert
    This comes down to basic human psychology. When someone says no to a question no matter what the question is they are far more likely to say no to the next question. Like the others were saying you'll probably lose quite a few people. Get them to say yes to something, keep them saying yes, get them enthused and you've got a sale. Of course that means focusing on them and getting inside their heads.
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  • Profile picture of the author TS Glickman
    I don't think you ever ask a question they might ask no to because that doesn't address new customers that might be interested in your product if you say it in the right way.
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    • Profile picture of the author Neil AM
      Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.

      Consensus seems to be on making people care about the answer to the question posed, and that's certainly a valid point. Maybe they'll still drop out halfway through, but if we keep them reading we've got more chance to make a sale.

      Much like the lottery, I guess - if you don't play, you never win. (Note: Neil does not endorse gambling. Unless you are very bad at poker, in which case he just happens to have a deck of cards to hand.)
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  • Profile picture of the author brianman
    Like others have said, it depends on the audience. But, I think it also depends on where the message is being sent and received. If you are posting your question where people are more likely to need tax related help, you're probably going to do well. Never be afraid to grab attention, even if it might not appeal to everyone. The worst thing you can do is be boring in your ads.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesboulay
    It could be used on a signup page as there probability of interest would be higher seeing your opt-ins probably said "yes" which would be why they continued and signed up, no?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mel White
    Nah. I can think of a few:
    "Are you in perfect health?"
    "Is there more than $3.2 million dollars in your retirement account?"

    ..etc. A good "no" could be even more effective -- the point is to use it as a "are you scared" message.
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