I was writing a landing page last week for one of my new programs, and I noticed that it was taking – well, forever – to get the thing done. Finishing just the first few paragraphs was like hacking my way through a jungle with a pocket knife. It was slow going.

Then I realized my mistake. I forgot to ask my “starter questions”.

What am I talking about? Well, before I sit down to write marketing copy, I quickly jot down the answers to three questions. Sometimes I type those answers at the top of the page I’m using for the copy, but usually I just scribble them on a notepad next to my laptop.

The thing is, I find that when I have those questions in front of me, I write the copy more quickly and easily. Also, the finished piece tends to be much better—more focused, more persuasive, more likely to be a winner.

Okay, so what are these “magical” questions? They’re pretty simple.

  1. Who is the prospect?
  2. What action do I want them to take?
  3. What information do they need to make that decision?

I told you they were simple!

Say, for example, you want to write a direct mail letter to promote your services to a list of prospective clients. And let’s also say you decided to take my advice and answer the “starter questions” before you begin!

First you would ask, “Who is the prospect?” Your answer might be, “Marketing managers of healthcare companies.”

Next question, “What action do I want them to take?” You might write, “I want them to visit my website and sign-up for my e-newsletter and free report.”

Final question, “What information do they need to make that decision?” Your answer here would likely require more detail. A prospective client will want to know what you do, how you help, and what makes you different from others offering the same services. She will also want to know more about your special report, and what practical tips and ideas she’s likely to glean from it.

Jotting down those answers shouldn’t take more than half a page. Remember, these are just notes. For your eyes only.

And if you have those answers in front of you as you write the letter then, chances are, the words will come easier. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect it’s because getting clear about what to need to say removes the number one roadblock to faster writer: which is, not knowing what to say!

So try this technique on your next copywriting task. See if it helps you write marketing copy more quickly and painlessly.

It sure helps me. That is, when I remember to do it!