Are You Asking the Right
Questions in Your Copy?
Thackston Copyright © 2004
It's a common approach to writing copy. You begin by asking questions. Why?
To evoke thoughts in your readers' minds, to stir up emotions, and to get
customers thinking in the way you want them to think. But have you ever thought
about how you phrase your questions? Are you doing it in a way that will
have the greatest impact on your readers or are you just throwing questions
on a page?
Behaviorally speaking, not everybody responds in the same way to the same
questions. Those with different communications styles will relate in a variety
of ways depending on how you phrase your sentence.
Using the DISC Behavioral Profile, let me explain what I mean and show you
how you can start asking the right questions in the right way to suit your
D = Dominance
Those who fall in the Dominance category of the DISC profile are described
as: in control, powerful, confident, visionaries, and risk takers. These
people can be managers, CEOs, high-ranking military personnel, entrepreneurs,
and the like.
Those who are considered high in Dominance want to stick to business. They
expect the facts to be presented logically. They want presentations to be
clear, specific, and to the point.
This group of people will respond better to specific "what" questions. For
example, let's say we're developing a headline for an ultra-fast printer.
You wouldn't want to write a headline that asks, "How Do You Cure a Need
for Speed?" That question is vague; it's not specific, and it begins with
the word "how."
CEOs, upper management, and others in this category aren't the least bit
interested in "how" you do anything. They are visionaries. They look at the
big picture, not the little details. Details are somebody else's job!
Instead, try rewriting that headline to include the word "what" and to be
specific, like this: "What Cures a Need for Speed?"
You can see a similar relation in other behavioral styles (I, S, and C) and
the types of questions people in each prefer.
I = Influence
Those high in Influence are generally found in the sales field or other fields
that require a lot of people/social interaction. They move fast and want
to focus on people-oriented tasks. They love to give their opinions and to
be asked for their thoughts on a matter. They love to be the center of
This group responds well to "feeling" questions. Not just about themselves,
but also about others. For example: "Remember the excitement you felt when
_____?" or "How would your child feel if _____?"
S = Steadiness
Those in the Steadiness group want to be seen as people - not a number. They
appreciate logic, a touch of personal interaction, and they are detail-oriented.
They are generally slow decision-makers and are not wild about taking unqualified
risks. Those who fall into the Steadiness category make up 40% of the general
population and come from all walks of life.
People high in steadiness would be likely to respond better to questions
beginning with "how." Possibilities include "How many times have you wished
____?" or "How often do you ____?" They also respond well to questions that
make them think, like "Is your copy getting results?" They'll likely want
to know what you can do about it if the answer is "no."
C = Compliance
When describing someone who falls into the Compliance category, these phrases
come to mind: critical thinker, prepared, quality-oriented, incredibly detailed,
specific, and slow decision-maker. You'll generally find these types working
as engineers, bankers, accountants, scientists, and the like.
Those high in Compliance will respond best to questions including statistics
and questions that force them to look at all sides of an issue/problem. For
example, "68% of All Drivers Pay Too Much for Auto Insurance. Are You?" Another
idea is "Widget or Thingee. Which Makes the Most Sense?"
Phrasing your questions in a way that allows your target customers to relate
only makes sense. When you hit a nerve - people will respond. Asking the
right questions. in the right way. within your copy will get you one step
closer to closing the sale.
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