10 Copywriting Questions to Ask Clients

Asking great questions is the difference between a good copywriter and a great copywriter. Don’t worry: This is a learnable skill. To get started, check out my 10 copywriting questions to ask clients. This works for prospects. And with some customization, this will work with existing clients when they have a new project.

Now, I consider the following general questions that you’d want to ask prospects when you’re chatting for the first time. Once you know what the project is, you’ll want to ask many more project-specific questions. After these 10 questions below, I’m going to give you project-specific questions for a fictional website redesign/relaunch.

Note: If you’re more of a visual/audio learner, scroll to the end for my video on this topic.

1. Give me your elevator pitch about your business. What sort of products or services do you sell?

You want to hear how the client describes their business. Is their message clear? Because if it isn’t, you’ll need to help with that.

2. Talk to me about your audience. (Do you have formal buyer personas?) 

Not sure what a buyer persona is? Read this. The gist: A persona is a fictional representation of the client’s ideal buyer. You want to ask the prospect about their audience’s pain points and how their products or services can help to solve them.

3. Tell me about your competitors. In what ways are you the same? How are you different—and better?

Get specific names so you can check out their websites. Ask the client about their USP, or unique selling proposition.

4. Tell me about the project. What are the main goals? What are your expectations for the final product? What style/tone are you looking for? How will you decide if this copywriting project was successful?

Note: Once they identify what the project is, you’ll want to have a set of project-specific questions handy. (See the ones at the end of this article.) But the above questions are a good starting point.

5. Have you done this sort of project in the past? What were the results? What worked, what didn’t work?

Their answers will alert you if the client has unreasonable expectations or if they might be the reason a project didn’t work in the past. (In which case, you might want to pass on the project. Or, at the very least, charge more.)

6. Do you have an in-house style guide/brand guide? Are there any other specifications or requirements I need to know? (Like legal regs, for lawyers and financial clients.)

You’ll want to know this going in.

7. Do you have a subject matter expert for me to talk to—and will you be facilitating the interview?

The best writing happens when you can interview subject matter experts on the client’s end. That’s what separates generic content generated by AI and compelling content that can’t be found anywhere else, like a competitor’s site.

8. What’s the budget and timeline?

Clarify details around deliverables and milestones. This will help you manage their expectations. And it will help you from a timeline perspective as well.

9. Who’ll be part of the review process?

You know the saying about too many cooks in the kitchen, right? Knowing who’ll be involved in the review process is important to avoid any surprises or delays down the line.

10. So here’s the project as I understand it. Did I miss anything?

You want to make sure you and the client are on the same page. Reiterate the goals, timeline, budget, style, and other details. Do it during your call, but follow up with an email outlining everything, and ask them if it looks good or if they have anything to add. This will help you create a more accurate proposal.

Copywriting Questions to Ask Clients About a Specific Project

Let’s pretend a client wants to redesign their website. Here are some smart questions you could ask IN ADDITION TO THE ONES ABOVE.

Note: These questions are for prospects. If you’re working with an existing client on a website redesign, you’ll want to tweak the questions accordingly. For example, you can bypass questions on the target audience since you’ll already be familiar.

  • What’s motivating the redesign/relaunch?
  • What does the current website do well?
  • What content are you keeping?
  • What new content do you need?
  • Who’ll be handling keyword research?

Website relaunches are ALWAYS fraught. Sometimes businesses think they need a new website simply because they’re bored with it. This is where I might try to steer them into a smaller project, like looking at underperforming pages and seeing if we can improve those.

To identify if a website relaunch is completely necessary, here are some questions you could ask.

I recently asked a client these questions. The client is a professional services company. You’d tweak the questions based on the type of client.

  • How do you define a lead?
  • How many leads came in from your website last year? Of those, how many turned into business?
  • How many leads came in last quarter? How many turned into business?
  • Of those that didn’t turn into business, how many are still in the pipeline?
  • This is more of a subjective question, but what has the lead quality been like overall the last two years?
  • What are the ten most popular pages on the site?
  • What are the top five downloads?
  • When you launched your current website, did you—or the person who wrote it—do formal keyword phrase research? Is it optimized for search?
  • What do you like best about your site?
  • What do you like least?
  • Have you taken website accessibility into account?
  • What other stats/conversion points do you think would be helpful for me to keep in mind?
  • Who are your top three revenue generators?
  • Did any of them originate as web leads?
  • Who do you consider your top three best clients? (“Best” is subjective, of course, but I’m thinking from a revenue perspective AND a “they get and appreciate what we do” perspective)
    Did any of them originate as web leads?
  • If none of the above originated as web leads . . . is there anyone on your current or recent client roster who exemplifies the type of website lead that you want to get more of?
  • Do you really need to redo your website, or are you just bored by it? 🙂

Got a question for the Copy Bitch?

Contact me or visit my YouTube channel and leave a comment on one of my videos. I might make a blog post or video with the answer.