How to get the right info from clients to EASILY write ad copy that converts [14 questions to ask]
Author: Jo McKee August 2 | Blog
In this article, Jo McKee will show you the copywriting strategy she and her team at McKee Creative use to write 7-figure ad copy that converts for in-house agency and done-for-you copywriting clients.
At its core, the strategy aims to get to the heart of each client’s message so that they draw in the right customers who are ready to buy … NOW!
It is designed to collect everything you need – from a single ad right through to full website copy – in just minutes.
And it works, even if you don’t think you are good at writing.
In fact, it’s so simple that it’s highly effective in any niche, whether you’re running ads for a roofing contractor, a Matcha tea store, a $25k coaching package, a dance party event, or a big-city law firm (which is not-so-cryptic code for “you’re gonna love this ’cos it works no matter who you’re writing for”).
If you want to have healthy click-through rates and costs-per-click, THIS is the copywriting strategy to write ad copy that converts!
Read on for the simple process that will take you from “struggling to find the right raw materials” to an output-on-autopilot, well-oiled copywriting machine.
Before we take this further, if you’re reading this and feel like writing your clients’ campaign copy is something you “should” do rather than “Yeah! Let’s get this happening!”, then you can order done-for-you instead.
But if you’re up for getting comfortable with “I’ve got this”, read on.
The Copywriting for Profit Strategy: copywriting made easy, for any niche (without having to be a guru!)
Hacks, tactics, checklists … they’re all useful when building your copywriting muscles.
But the consistency of results comes from two preparatory steps – look + listen – and two foundational principles: empathy + leadership.
Here’s how that plays out for everything we write:
Yes, there are valuable insights as you learn more about how people think, feel and react.
You could research Edward Bernays, the “Father of Propaganda”, for instance.
But if you’re short on time and want the most reliable way to get the job done, this is it.
When writing ad copy that converts for clients, agency owners have told us that their most pressing challenges are:
- From Amanda: “Getting enough info from the client during onboarding to cover the specific do’s and don’ts of their copy – especially if their site isn’t brilliant and the agency is trying to gauge the tone of voice from that.”
- From Isobel: “Getting clients to dig deep on the ‘why’ for the customer. Agencies need questions that prompt the client to give them the real nitty-gritty of the problem/solution rather than the superficial reasons that are ‘pretty vanilla’.”
- From Anna: “Getting clients to take the emotion out of it … while brand voice is extremely important they focus too heavily on that, which then weakens the punch the copy packs.”
Here are the solutions for each:
To cover this, stick to a simple form.
Here is a list of the questions we need answered before we begin any copywriting work.
You will note many of them are questions you ask when onboarding your agency clients… the key is to make sure they’re answered.
This list has allowed us to write for over 80 other agencies for anything from a single ad to full website copy and is what equips us to bring strong results for our in-house agency clients.
1. Campaign website
In an ideal world, the client’s website will be rich with its brand tone, brand story, and beautiful product descriptions. But this isn’t always the case, which is why you should follow up with these next questions…
2. Product/service/course being promoted
It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many clients forget to let you know exactly what they’d like you to be promoting. What is the “one thing” – the step you want the readers to take?
3. Tell us about your audience
This section has been deliberately left open to interpretation, rather than asking a series of very specific questions about audience demo/psychographics. You’ll generally find that when you ask very specific questions, you’ll get one-word answers. This way, you’re inviting them to write a nice paragraph or two instead. The more information the client provides about their audience, the better.
4. Which countries will be targeted
This one helps you determine which spelling, vernacular and cultural references you’re going to use.
5. Are there any discounts/deadlines to be included?
Again, you’ll be surprised how often this gets forgotten if you don’t directly ask.
6. Are there any “No-Nos” for the brand?
Asking what the client doesn’t want is just as important as asking what they do. This way, you avoid writing anything that’s completely off-brand from the get-go.
7. Please link to any social proof available for use in the campaign.
It helps if this is stored in one place but, if not, go straight to their reviews on their site, Facebook page, Google My Business listing, Yelp, and wherever else you can.
Customer reviews are often the first thing I’ll paste into my draft because (a) it means the page isn’t blank anymore and (b) reading how great a product or service is, makes it much easier to write about.
The customer reviews can also turn up gems in terms of articulating the solution the product or service provides.
For instance, I once phoned a customer of one of our clients to ask what she thought of their weight loss service. She gushed, and when I asked if I could use her name and photo alongside a quote, she said “Oh no … it’s my dirty little secret! I don’t want my friends to know how I do it!”
Of course, that became the core of the ad copy. Who doesn’t want to know a dirty little secret?!
If you’re still struggling to gauge the right tone of voice after reading the testimonials, try checking here:
- Client’s Facebook & Instagram captions. Look at posts with the highest engagement and read the captions. If there’s not a lot to go off on the client’s website, this is where you’re likely to get a deeper understanding of their brand tone.
- Client’s Facebook & Instagram comments. This is another great place to find out how the client’s audience communicates.
8. If a press release is needed, please provide a quote from the founder or other relevant representative that we can include.
If you’re assisting with PR you’ll want to include a quote from the business’s representative by the third paragraph. Here’s an example of a press release we wrote for Pedramin Vaziri of SoulexDC that you can use as a guide to the structure.
Demographic information only gets us so far when it comes to writing copy.
We must understand the problem the audience faces in such detail that we can (at least in our imagination) feel it ourselves.
If you’re “not feeling it” when you write the copy, you can be sure your audience won’t, either.
If your clients struggle to explain their solution to you, ask them these questions.
9. What are the biggest external problems your audience is struggling with right now?
For example: They don’t have enough money, their marriage is falling apart, they can’t figure out how to master a new skill, their puppy tears up the house Every Single Day while they’re at work, they can’t find clothes they feel good in.
10. What are the biggest internal problems your audience is struggling with right now?
For example: imposter syndrome, feeling burnt out, lacking confidence, grief, feeling “not enough”.
11. What is the underlying cause(s) of their pain? And what is keeping them stuck?
Often this might not be the obvious reason they think it is.
For example: they might think they’re too clumsy to master that new skill. But the underlying cause might be that they have dyspraxia and didn’t know it. Or they might think they don’t have enough money, but really, they were just never taught the principles of tax minimization that are entirely legal and usually only accessible by those who can afford a fancy accountant.
As well as underlying causes, it is powerful to address – head-on – the things they have tried to do to fix the problem before, why it’s not their fault they haven’t succeeded, and why your client’s solution is different.
12. What is the one thing they desire most?
This packs a punch because it helps you sell the core benefit – the one thing that, if it changed, would change everything – instead of getting stuck in features.
13. What are some of their biggest fears? What keeps them up at night?
Not just the “symptoms”, but the lasting consequences of not fixing the problem at hand.
14. Why is it important that they fix the problem your product or service solves for them now?
Knowing “why” you can include a deadline for taking action, or an element of urgency, makes it more powerful than just a ticking clock at the top of a page (although tickers are good) 😉
The most important aspect of writing ad copy that converts is asking your client the right questions.Jo
With the answers, you’ll have everything you need to write copy that hooks people in and converts them into paying customers for your client. You’ll see messages coming in from customers asking your client how they “knew” exactly how to say the right thing at the right time.
What the client wants and what actually works may not be the same thing. It can be frustrating spending time and energy writing copy that digs into pain points, appeals to the audience’s desires, and shows them how the “thing” you’re promoting will solve the problem – in their language – only to have the client come back and tell you “It’s not on-brand.”
I remember an instance where I actually transcribed phrases a client used in a webinar so that we could seamlessly tie the ad copy into the full journey, only for the client to say “we don’t use those terms”. Okay … 😉
Another challenge occurs when a client wants to be funny but, in the real world, isn’t.
Forced copy won’t convert.
If the client wants to build authentic, long-term relationships with their customers, you’ve got to keep it real.
Now, write ad copy that converts!
Once you’ve gathered all the relevant information about the brand, product, and audience, all that’s left to do is fill in the blanks.
Take a look at this top-of-funnel Facebook ad:
TOF AD COPY 1
|HEADLINES (max 40 characters):||For Over 50s in Brisbane. Out of the Ordinary|
|NEWS FEED LINK DESCRIPTION (max 30 characters):||Easy Exercising. It’s not a gym! 🙌|
|AD COPY:||For the past couple of years, sisters Andrea and Jessica Curtis have been building a community in Brisbane that’s a bit out of the ordinary. |
It all started because, like many of us, they didn’t feel comfortable going to a gym.
And so, after a lot of planning, Easy Exercising was born.
With their strong sense of care and cheeky sense of humor, it was never going to be just about the (very easy) exercise … each person who comes in the door realizes they have found a place where they can relax and enjoy good company.
And the feedback makes it all worthwhile:
“I’ve been going to Easy Exercising for nearly 12 months now … my range of movement has improved so that I can now pick up my small dog, which before starting at Easy I was unable to do without causing me a lot of pain.
Jessica, our trainer, is brilliant and encourages me to reach my goals.
The other bonus of coming to Easy is the friendships I have made with the other ladies and the fun we have when we all get together.
I would definitely recommend Easy Exercising to anyone looking for a venue for the over 50s to come and improve your mobility and enjoy the company of people of a like age.”
– Karen Raw
You’re welcome to make an appointment for a free trial session so that you can experience the power-assisted machines.
Just send a message, or go to https://www.easyexercising.com.au/contact-us/ and fill in the contact form.
See how it follows this simple structure?
- Dig into pain point:
Some people don’t feel comfortable going to a gym
- Highlight the audience’s problems
As well as knowing they need to do something about exercising, many older people struggle with loneliness
- Appeal to their desires
Care, a bit of fun and good company
- Present the solution (the product or service)
Free trial session
- The benefits of the solution
Experience the power-assisted machines
- Establish authority
Established for at least “a couple of years”
- Client/customer testimonials
Karen’s feedback on how she now exercises without pain, is encouraged to reach her goals, can now bend down and pick up her small dog and enjoys the company of other people her age.
If you want clear examples for writing copy using this effective, proven structure then download our Copywriting Swipe File.
In it, you’ll find copy you can adapt when running a lead gen campaign or an eCommerce agency.
There’s example ad copy I wrote for a makeup removal product that you can play with and adapt to suit your client’s products, using the same structure.
One written for our agency’s client who holds retreats.
And a couple of examples of copy written for local businesses.
Want us to take it off your hands and make it happen? Then you can order done-for-you instead.
A little bit more about the “ad copy that converts” blog author, Jo
Jo’s marketing agency, McKee Creative, connects clients with their customers.
Clients love the full-service approach that includes website build and SEO, paid marketing campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Google, plus looking after emails and content creation.
Jo also runs Copywriting for Profit, training small business team members to write irresistible ads, sales pages, and marketing emails so that they make more money.
And on the side, she heads up Your Copy on Demand, a done-for-you copywriting service with a 3 business day turnaround time.
Over 80 marketing agencies engage Jo to consult on strategy and communications, and her work has contributed to several 7-figure marketing campaigns.
When she’s not immersed in all things digital, Jo really likes to go sailing … she reckons nothing beats the sound of water along the hulls of her Volvo 60 ocean racing yachts, ‘Merit’ and ‘Spirit’.