There's one question that I love asking my clients. I love it because, without fail, when my client answers, their whole mood changes.
It's like throwing a grenade in the room.
It opens up the real raw passion they have for their business, their customers and their core beliefs. It gives me my first glimpse of what makes them different. Special. Unique.
Before I write website copy for any other business, I MUST speak with the business owner. Surprisingly, not all copywriters do this. Some send questionnaires for the client to fill in. I don't.
I have a questionnaire, but I go through the questions, one by one, in detail, with the business owner over a video or regular call.
I do this for two reasons.
Firstly, busy business owners don't have the time or inclination to go through laborious questionnaires. They're likely to skip questions or give brief fluffy, surface-level answers.
And secondly, speaking with the client gives me a deeper level of connection. I can tease out more profound answers while we talk things through. And this way, I will thoroughly understand their tone of voice.
Speaking with the client, listening to their voice is non-negotiable for me.
I have a questionnaire which takes approximately 45-60 mins to work through on a call, but I'm flexible with the pace and order of the questions.
Because I'm asking the questions, I can use my intuition to dig deeper in certain areas depending on the type of business I'm speaking with, and where the conversation is leading.
We work through simple questions at first, usually relating to how the business got started, what the business goals are, and what services they provide.
My favourite question pops up.
It's to the end of my questionnaire - an unintentional position as I didn't know it would be my favourite question until I'd been through this process several times.
Now, when I get to the question "what frustrates you?" everything is clear.
The mood changes.
I've uncovered something special.
The PASSION behind the thing that makes them unique.
Sometimes the outburst comes from a tradesman sick of seeing the aftermath of shoddy workmanship, poor quality services, and customers who have been let down.
He loves his customers, and he will do everything he can to rise above the companies who give his industry a bad name.
Often, it's the small company that picks up the pieces when the corporates do a bad job. Their company offers a more personalised, compassionate service helping local clients dramatically improve their circumstances.
They are disappointed when they see good, honest people being treat like commodities.
They are different.
When I get to my question "what frustrates you?" it ALWAYS shows me the passion that the business owner has for helping people.
And that is the key to supercharging their web copy — understanding why they’re different, why their audience should choose them over their competitors.
So, what frustrates you?
What makes you sad, angry, or disappointed in your industry?
Your competitors might not feel the same.
Once you've identified what really gets you frustrated, you'll know how to drive passion and empathy through your copy.
But beware, NEVER complain directly about your competitors, this isn't about pointing fingers. It's about identifying why you're unique and empathising with your target audience.
What frustrates you in your industry? Let me know in the comments.
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Dr Hannah Gibson
Lead Copywriter & Founder of Gibson Copy
If you would like some one-to-one support to get clear on what makes you unique and how you can use this knowledge throughout your copy, book a £149 copy consultation now.