Photo credit Gualtierro Boffi
I have the secret. The never-fail secret to making sure your client is thrilled with the web copy you write 99.999% of the time.
Gather round me, children, for I am about to speak a word of power. Contained within this word is the secret to web copywriting that knows the heart and mind of your client – yea! Knows even their hopes and dreams and deepest desires for their online presence.
Come closer. I shall whisper the word in your ear.
That was rather anticlimactic, wasn’t it?
Yeah, okay, so using a questionnaire to gather information from a client isn’t a mystic legend, but it does work. We started using a basic questionnaire quite awhile ago here at Men with Pens, and doing so has accomplished two things for us:
- Saved us, the guys who put the words on the page, a lot of time
- Made our clients very, very happy indeed
What’s not to love about that?
Why You Should Use a Questionnaire
Questionnaires don’t just work for web copywriting services. They work for pretty much any service you offer, from web design to marketing consultation to any type of business where you need information from your clients.
The questionnaire’s job is to save you time. Years ago, we used to ask clients questions as they came to mind during conversations. “How do you want it to feel?” we’d ask. “What sort of laywer/blogger/sponge connoisseur are you, exactly?” “Do you really, really hate any particular colors or adjectives?”
(Answer: everyone hates the color puce and the word “moist”.)
That method of gathering information worked out pretty nicely, and not just because we were good at asking the right questions. And we realized that we generally asked more or less the same questions for each type of project. We had a pretty good idea of what we needed to know in order to do our job well.
Except the times when we didn’t.
Sometimes we’d forget to ask a question and have to send a new email to confirm a detail – that wastes time. Sometimes we’d word our questions in a way that the client would give us an answer we couldn’t use. Sometimes the client misunderstood our questions. “Well, I have a certification in windsurfing . . .” “No, sorry, we meant your qualifications for, you know. Your job.”
Sometimes we just plain didn’t have the time to ask the really good questions that helped us save even more time and do a spectacular job. When there are fifteen clients clamoring for blood, everyone gets distracted.
The questionnaire solved all these problems.
Ah, but not just any old questionnaire. We took our time with it. We included the questions we usually ask clients, and then we began asking more. And then – this is the tricky part, folks, pay attention – we saved it in a Word doc and worked on it even more.
I know. I am just going to let the genius of that sink in for a moment.
Not Just Any Old Questionnaire
Over months, we altered our master questionnaire. We added new questions that had been cropping up more often and we took out questions that weren’t really necessary. We began getting specific, asking questions that helped us get our clients even better results, and we saw results in our own success rate shoot up as well.
That success rate? It’s extremely rare to hear anything but, “I LOVE this,” around here.
Every single client gets the same questionnaire, and sometimes we need more in-depth clarification, but most of the time we don’t. Most of the time, that questionnaire gets us all the information we need to rock the client’s world.
Because when you have all the information you need to do your job to perfection – what tone and feel the client wants, what adjectives come to mind, the history and the story of their business, the way they want their customers to think about them, whether they want to be seen as funny or professional or cute or consoling . . . .
You are pretty much guaranteed to deliver exactly what they’re looking for.
So ‘fess up. Do you have a questionnaire for your clients? And if you don’t, why don’t you?