Web Copywriting: Asking Questions

Thu, Oct 1, 2009

Copywriting

Asking questions in your copy is one of the most effective ways of increasing conversions. Newbie and professional Internet marketers alike use this time-tested strategy to grab their readers’ attention and encourage them to stay on a sales page.

A technique that works

This method has been proven to work in web copy written for products ranging from video tutorials and software to e-books and diet programs. By using a question that strikes directly at the thoughts and the emotions of readers, you are able to steal a few seconds of their time which you can use to expound on the benefits of the product.

When you ask an intriguing question, your readers’ minds will feel compelled to find the answer to that question. Why? Because we as human beings have been hard-wired to respond in this way. It is believed that when a person is asked a question, it opens a “loop” in the brain that can only be closed by finding the answer. If left open, the person feels a form of mental (and sometimes even physical) discomfort. You’ve probably experienced this when you’re trying hard to remember something that you know you once knew—say the name of that Japanese restaurant you took your business partners to five years ago.

The right way to ask questions

While asking questions has been discovered to be really effective in creating headlines, it must be done in the right way in order to get the desired response. Here are some suggestions to help guide you to ask the right kind of questions.

Make your questions thought-provoking

“How Did I Turn $1 Into $100?” and “How Do You Know For Sure When Somebody is Hiding Something From You?” are examples of thought-provoking questions. These questions will arouse most readers’ curiosity. The first question has been used to promote an Internet marketing product, while the second has been used in offers for lie detection and investigative services.

By using questions of this kind, you are able to influence readers to stay longer. However, simply keeping them on your page doesn’t guarantee they will take your offer. You have to be sure that the rest of the text on the page is able to sell the benefits of your product effectively so that page views are converted into sales.

Use rhetorical questions

It can be a good idea to use a rhetorical question as a headline. Examples of these kinds of questions include “Would you like to double your monthly income?” “Would you like to lose weight without exercise, diet, or pills?” and “Do you want free information on how you can retire early?” These kinds of rhetorical questions are designed to get a “yes” from the reader who will then read on to find out how these rhetorically-stated goals can be achieved.

Tip: Rhetorical questions are best used to introduce the benefits of a product. Instead of asking, “Do you want to learn how to sell products online?” you should say something like, “Do you want to know how to earn four-figures a week through affiliate marketing?”

Try to appeal to readers’ emotions

Your questions ought to speak to the most common reasons that people actually purchase the product. This is the key to using questions in headlines, especially rhetorical questions.

Another form of emotional questioning that you might use is one that appeals directly to a reader’s fears. The headline “Do You Make These Costly Internet Marketing Mistakes?” will make a reader want to read on so that he or she can learn how to avoid making such mistakes. Such a headline is almost guaranteed to snatch the attention of both neophyte and experienced Internet marketers.

Choose questions that are relevant to the reader

Remember that you have to ask questions that are relevant to your reader. If you ask questions such as “Have you seen our new location?” “Do you know what I use on my face?” or “Have you read our latest blog post?” most readers will not be interested in learning what the answer is, unless perhaps you are some major celebrity. You have given your reader no reason to care about the answer to such questions and “who cares?” will probably be the reply as she clicks the X and leaves your page.

When is asking questions inappropriate?

Although there are many occasions in which “question” headlines may be used, you should be careful not to overuse them.

For example, it is a bad idea to use question headlines to structure your sales page. Instead of, for example, “What are the advantages of this product over another product?” “How much does the program cost?” and “Where is this company located?” it would be better to use subheadings such as “Advantages of this product over product B,” “Program Fees,” and “Company Location.”

If you raise a question, even a rhetorical question, it is also necessary for you to quickly move to answer it in the next portion of your sales page. If you asked, “Do you want to earn $100 in 24 hours?” in your headline, don’t wait long to start explaining to your reader how your program is going to help your reader to achieve that.

Of course, more generally, just about anything in excess isn’t a good idea. But with just the right amount of questioning, you are well on your way to creating a great, effective sales page.

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19 Responses to “Web Copywriting: Asking Questions”

  1. Josh Zehtabchi Says:

    Very true article; however I have one thing to add.

    This may not even be relevant to this post, but back in the days of college, I once was told that the best way to grab a user’s attention is to supply a simple 1-2-3 progress. Such as:

    FIRST – Submit your basic information
    SECOND – Wait for confirmation email
    THIRD – Wait for your chance to win $$$

    Something along those lines, or for a company:

    1st – Submit a quote
    2nd – Get in touch with our reps
    3rd – pick your plan and get started

    Hope this makes sense and offers some input to this post.

    Thanks.
    .-= Josh Zehtabchi´s last blog ..About V2interactive: =-.

    Reply

  2. Money-Era Says:

    Above all the author should create connection with a reader,e.g. sort of dialog (conversation) and present the thoughts in a clear manner. For me John Chow is a guru in mastering the art of explaining complicated things in a very easy to understand way.
    .-= Money-Era´s last blog ..Hostgator make money story =-.

    Reply

  3. Edu Says:

    Make your questions thought-provoking. Now I learned something new. Your thoughts are all noted. I used to ask questions inappropriately, damn! I wish I’ve read this the sooner.

    Reply

  4. Carlo Says:

    Hey good points shown here! I am fondly using rhetorical questions on my head and it surely catches attention. Would definitely try using other approaches. Thanks.

    Reply

  5. Bep Says:

    Asking questions surely grabs attention to the readers. That I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for these helpful tips. Really usable!

    Reply

  6. Reah Says:

    I’ve been doing this question thingy for a decade and surely is effective! Kudos for the post.

    Reply

  7. Tomatoes Says:

    Omg. I’d use these approaches on my blog. You’re a big help adventory.com!

    Reply

  8. Yana Says:

    Asking questions sure grabs much atention to the readers. These different approaches really work!

    Reply

  9. Vibes Says:

    These approaches are really provoking to the readers. Remember to keep interesting entry all the time though.

    Reply

  10. Janet Says:

    Remember also that there are questions that seem to be misleading which might not interest the readers. Good points shown here btw.

    Reply

  11. Crasty Says:

    Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.

    Reply

  12. daydaily.com Says:

    thanks for the information
    i will try it on my website :D

    Reply

  13. EarningStep Says:

    this is nice trick to make our blog “busy” . if no one ask you question then try to make your own question , ask them back and you will get a nice conversation.

    Reply

  14. Phaoloo Says:

    This tactic works nearly on all areas and social media. I read a post about Twitter, it says that asking followers is a great way to get followers’ attention and click through rate.
    .-= Phaoloo´s last blog ..Top 8 Tools To Check Spelling And More =-.

    Reply

  15. Iris Says:

    You made it clear when you pointed out that it is necessary to quickly move to answer it in the next portion of sales page. This way, readers will find the entry catchy.

    Reply

  16. Bad Says:

    Asking questions are helpful in so many ways. It makes the reader more curious and eager to read your post.

    Reply

    • Sun Says:

      Yes but you do have to consider the structure of your questioning too. Must be provocative so it catches the reader’s attention.

      Reply

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  1. Rédaction d’argumentaire : posez les bonnes questions - 27. Oct, 2009

    [...] quelques suggestions proposées par adventory.com sur son excellent article “Web Copywriting, Asking Questions“  pour vous guider dans la rédaction de ces fameuses “bonnes questions” [...]

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