Are You Asking the Right Questions?

18 replies
Do you believe that asking questions sets the tone of your copy?

Do you struggle to HIT the emotions (and circumstances) in your questions that DEMAND your prospects read further?

Are you acutely mindful that questions will make or break your financial success?

I’m a big fan of questions.

They can grab your reader’s attention and create an immediate sense of consequence.

And…

They can also be off the emotional mark and epically fail to prevent a conversion-killing bounce. (Is that a quadruple negative?)

In other words…

Prequalifying questions either demonstrate your intimate awareness of what your prospects are experiencing…

…Or they expose how utterly imperceptive you are and make you come across like a dildo.

But regardless of whether you ask questions in your pre-header, after your headline and/or sprinkled throughout your copy, you’ve got to get your audience simultaneously stimulated and agitated.

Questions do that.

You’ve got to produce a reciprocal exchange of energy in your copy (after all, you’re creating a conversation, right?)

Questions do that.

You’ve got to take quantum leaps in your copy to help move your prospects towards the finish line.

Questions do that.

Well…

The right questions do that.

A few tips:
  • When pinpointing your target audience, write down the common denominators they all experience on some level. (e.g. What circumstances are they dealing with that necessitate looking for your solution?)
  • What do your prospects fear and what do they hope for? (Your questions need to take your prospects on an immediate journey from where they are to where your solution takes them. Consequence, consequence, consequence.)
  • The main marketing (or brand) message makes for awesome questions. (Really sit down and connect with your own intentions to help your audience. What questions really drive home your passion to make an impact in people’s lives?)
At the end of the day…

Nobody likes being preached to.

You aren’t talking TO people.

You’re talking WITH them.

Questions do that.

Mark Pescetti
#questions
  • Profile picture of the author videolover7
    This sales letter serves as an excellent example of Mark's point...

    Double Your Dating | Advanced Dating Techniques

    VL
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  • Profile picture of the author markpocock
    I am NOT a fan of questions. When you ask questions in your
    copy you're making the reader STOP reading to answer your questions.
    And that's an error.

    You also run the risk of getting a "No" or a "Maybe". And then
    you run the risk of the reader baling out of your copy.

    I learnt the error of asking questions in copy when I was
    being mentored by David Garfinkel for 12 months. I can still
    hear the conversation in my mind...

    So only use questions when you answer them in the
    copy yourself.

    Asking questions in copy seems to be a common mistake.
    One sales letter from a famous marketer whose name we
    all know was using a letter with an intro that had 13 questions
    out of the first 14 sentences. The 15th sentence then went into
    the Gary Halbert opening; "If you want X then..."

    Why risk losing your reader by asking a load of questions and then
    starting with "If you want...."

    Silly (and costly) mistake.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by markpocock View Post

      I am NOT a fan of questions. When you ask questions in your
      copy you're making the reader STOP reading to answer your questions.
      And that's an error.

      You also run the risk of getting a "No" or a "Maybe". And then
      you run the risk of the reader baling out of your copy.
      Questions are definitely a calculated risk.

      However...

      Good questions; questions that reach the very psyche of a human being can accomplish more in one line than pages and pages of copy.

      They can make the reader feel "seen,", exposed, vulnerable and acknowledged.

      If a question or set of questions truly resonate with the reader, it triggers their subconscious mind and generates a kind of curiosity that speaks to them in ways they can't even define.

      Questions like that make the reader really take notice.

      They aren't stopping in their tracks to answer the questions.

      They're in a state of NEED...

      ...They NEED to know, "what's next?"

      I've done a bit of public speaking in the spiritual community.

      I took quite a few courses about how to become an effective seminar speaker, just in case I feel like pursuing that arena more deliberately.

      And I'll tell you what...

      Without questions, most seminar gurus, like Tony Robbins, T. Harv Eker, and even Ester Hicks, would never have reached so many people with their distinct messages WITHOUT asking the right questions.

      Sure, you run the risk of asking the wrong questions.

      But all that does is reveal that you don't know your target audience like you think you do.

      You can just as easily make the wrong statements and compel a bounce that way.

      Just saying.

      Mark Pescetti
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  • Profile picture of the author markpocock
    Yikes

    That Double your dating letter starts with 16 questions.
    Not good.

    And as for the headline.
    It's got so many ideas in it, by the time you finished reading
    it, you've forgotten what it says in the beginning of it.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by markpocock View Post

      Yikes

      That Double your dating letter starts with 16 questions.
      Not good.

      And as for the headline.
      It's got so many ideas in it, by the time you finished reading
      it, you've forgotten what it says in the beginning of it.

      Mark in the Double Your Dating case, they have traffic that is warmed up by affiliates,
      unlike a direct mail piece going to a cold prospect therefore no need to flag out who it's for.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Quote I don't think readers would like the idea of a group of ad men
        planning their "tie downs".

        Mind you, you may like the idea of being on the receiving end
        of a jolly good tie down, in the name of research of course!

        Best,
        Ewen Quote


        Well, thinking about it...

        Purely for the benefit of research.

        It would be good to have a bit of a "tie down" with Christina Hendricks from "Mad Men."


        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author Winston Tenbrink
          In my packages, I hardly use questions - only if it serves a powerful intent. Several criteria have to occur before I would consider even using a question.

          I would consider if the question is aligned with the prospect's emotions and if that emotion is helpful to the sale later.

          Secondly, I would consider if the "loose end" (or called loop) that is hanging around after the question is really THAT helpful towards the sale, and whether it helps to build up a solid logical argument later.

          Thirdly, this question has to lead to a forced conclusion - that means you don't want any multiple answers. For example, questions like "Did you take more than two cookies from the cookie jar?" forces the prospect into a forced situation.

          So far, I've actually managed to succeed using a "challenge" in the form of a question in a forex package. But that was just one question.

          Weird, weird, weird.

          -Winston Tenbrink
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Knew you would come to the party Steve with a vivid imagination!

          Best,
          Ewen

          Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

          Quote I don't think readers would like the idea of a group of ad men
          planning their "tie downs".

          Mind you, you may like the idea of being on the receiving end
          of a jolly good tie down, in the name of research of course!

          Best,
          Ewen Quote


          Well, thinking about it...

          Purely for the benefit of research.

          It would be good to have a bit of a "tie down" with Christina Hendricks from "Mad Men."


          Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author markpocock
    Ah, worked out the problem with the Dating headline.

    The copywriter is trying to sell in the headline. Whereas
    the job of your headline is flag your ideal prospect. And say
    "I've got something of interest for you here."
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    • If you are going to ask questions in your copy - use "tie down" questions.

      Tie downs make it almost impossible to say no (don't you agree?).


      Tie down questions are incredibly powerful aren't they?

      Wouldn't you agree tie downs get your prospects to listen to you?

      When you want somebody to say yes, isn't it incredibly useful to use tie down question?


      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

        If you are going to ask questions in your copy - use "tie down" questions.

        Tie downs make it almost impossible to say no (don't you agree?).


        Tie down questions are incredibly powerful aren't they?

        Wouldn't you agree tie downs get your prospects to listen to you?

        When you want somebody to say yes, isn't it incredibly useful to use tie down question?


        Steve
        Possibly if you are talking to bondage and discipline people!

        Best,
        Ewen
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        • Ewen,

          Lol,

          Now remember to be very careful when you're researching stuff on the internet.

          If you press the wrong button - all sorts can happen.


          Steve


          P.S. In case anybody is concerned "tie down" questions were introduced by Tom Hopkins - the Sales Trainer. But they work brilliantly in copy don't they?
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          • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
            I don't think readers would like the idea of a group of ad men
            planning their "tie downs".

            Mind you, you may like the idea of being on the receiving end
            of a jolly good tie down, in the name of research of course!

            Best,
            Ewen

            Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

            Ewen,

            Lol,

            Now remember to be very careful when you're researching stuff on the internet.

            If you press the wrong button - all sorts can happen.


            Steve


            P.S. In case anybody is concerned "tie down" questions were introduced by Tom Hopkins - the Sales Trainer. But they work brilliantly in copy don't they?
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  • Profile picture of the author markpocock
    Ewen, IMHO that dating headline is sooo confusing it's
    ... to put it politely....not very good -
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by markpocock View Post

      Ewen, IMHO that dating headline is sooo confusing it's
      ... to put it politely....not very good -
      Just making 1 point Mark,
      and that was about the place for calling out your ideal reader in a headline so that it gets them reading more.

      Don't know why Eban would have something "so confusing" when they are meant to be continually testing.

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Questions are definitely powerful to keep your readers interested in your copy and your offer.

    Study the questions asked in successful copy. I often use questions and they definitely help my copy flow better.

    Questions in headlines in which the answers are a benefit to your readers can be quite powerful. Make sure you use questions that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no".
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    In short terms...questions tend to naturally have an open loop.

    And there's nothing like an open loop (obviously the question has to resinate) that gets your prospect curious and reading the next sentence.

    Which is what we all want, right?



    DavidG
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  • Profile picture of the author ejunkie
    Questions are powerful, no doubt.

    As headlines. As subs. As opening lines. As bullets. Even call to actions.

    But as the thread points out asking the right questions is what it is all about.

    Especially questions that focus on the pain points of the customer one is talking to. Either by amplifying or heightening them or 'teasing' the reader about the possible solution about to be revealed etc.

    There are many highly persuasive ways to use questions.

    And yes, there is also the risk of overdoing it as well.

    But overall, i like playing around with questions.
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