Articles

The Beauty and Logic of the FAQ

Posted on by paul in Articles Leave a comment

Smart reasons, and ways to leverage your Frequently Asked Questions

It’s stunning how few websites and companies for that matter, miss out on leveraging the power of  FAQs. When used the right way an FAQ offers your audience a fast and logical answer to support your messaging and brand strategy.
Let’s explore the beauty of the FAQ. Better known as Frequently Asked Questions, these statements need to be a critical part of your brand’s communications. In fact, I’d say FAQs are one of the essential elements of your web environment.

Were you a hand-raiser?

FAQ

Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

Remember being back in elementary or middle school, and the fear of raising your hand in class when you weren’t sure of an answer? You thought others would think you were dumb or behind on the coursework for asking a question. And you may have feared it was too fundamental an inquiry. Classic school-age intimidation.

We’ve all been there. But do you also remember the relief you felt when another kid had your question also? You realized that you were not alone.  It was liberating.

As you grew older and more experienced, you realized that plenty of folks often share common questions and concerns. And that is the emotional strength of the FAQ. It’s just a collection of unknowns that get addressed quickly and functionally. Afterall, all of us are curious.

And FAQs work on another level because they help complete closure another psychological function that everyone’ mind is compelled to do. When you have blank areas of knowledge about a business or service, you want to close those up. You want closure.

Take your FAQs further

FAQs are valuable. So milk them. Let’s look at ways to extend your use of an FAQ beyond the traditional means.Consider FAQs for various places that support your brand and marketing:
  • landing pages
  • microsites
  • project pages
  • Topical subsections within your Sharepoint environment.

 

Also, use Frequently Asked Questions as a pull-down function anywhere you have content online. You’d be well-served by adding an FAQ section to your case studies and white papers. Heck, you can even add to your printed marketing collateral materials.

So why all the hub-bub about the FAQ?

Nick Fewings on Unsplash

All too often the FAQ is underrated and underappreciated. As you’ve seen thus far, the value of FAQs is enormous because it’s such an efficient way to communicate.

I believe an FAQ is a powerful way to get ahead of any hesitation, confusion or doubt your audience may have about your brand, products or services.

FAQs get to the heart of the issues fast and directly. They can also get those significant issues out on the table honestly and transparently.

Step back into your buyer’s shoes. You know, those personas you developed. Consider their perspective. Their four most common objections and excuses are often:

  1. Budget – we just don’t have money for that
  2. Authority – I can’t make a decision, let me talk to my manager
  3. Need – we love our current supplier, no thanks
  4. Time – we’re too busy to do this
So what answers can you provide to add comfort to their questions as they discover your brand?

Here are a few topics and issues to cover in FAQs:

What is your product or service?

Sounds simple enough but many brands have a hard time clarifying their core business advantage or strength. And don’t be afraid to say what you are not, it will clear away prospects you do not want and accelerate the journey of your ideal customers.

Who are the faces behind your brand?

People buy from people, not a company or brand. So reveal the quirks and characteristics that make your people unique. Done right, FAQs can be a memorable content moment for your prospects.

Who are your competitors?

FAQs can help you position yourself clearly in a niche or market segment while allowing you to stand out notably with your USP (unique selling proposition). Use bold language that distinguishes you from the pack. And don’t be afraid to mention the competition, as long as you define what makes you different. Remember different trumps better, because better is just too subjective.

Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

What are your prices?

Oh, this is always a sensitive spot. But you need to come clean and let people know what their financial commitment is for purchasing your product or service. And really, this is a great way to qualify your prospects. It’s a way to filter the people you want as prospects in your sales funnel. Be creative. Use ranges or terms like “monthly investment” plus it might be best to consider a three-tier pricing format.

What are you promising — Warranty /Guaranty?

FAQs are an ideal way to reveal any assurance promise of your product or service. Best advice here, instead of a money-back guarantee, try language like this: if you are unhappy for any reason, we’ll do our best to make it right.

Customer service contact info
FAQs are a logical place to have your support information for customers,  even if you have it elsewhere. And this can be a great way to start a dedicated Twitter relationship with your customers to encourage a support relationship. More and more companies are leveraging Twitter to handle their customer support requests. It’s pragmatic and can be very affordable. Another excellent format for customer service is Zendesk  https://www.zendesk.com/
Need more ideas?

Check out the last six months of your incoming email from customers. These correspondents will have all sorts of meaningful questions and inquiries. See which are most common and use them as FAQ content.

Remember, FAQs can change over time. New trends and concerns will become apparent in your business and marketing, so take advantage of these by updating your FAQs now and then.

 Bonus: The hidden FAQ value
All these words and phrases that are being discovered and used in your FAQ process may just be the most powerful SEO terms ever. That’s because they’re drawn from real, honest and candid conversations with your customers — the exact ways they are describing their problems, issues, concerns, and questions. So keep that in mind as you sell this FAQ to “the powers that be” in your company.

 


Brands I’ve Enhanced

Posted on by paul in Articles 1 Comment


Marketing on the Internet

A wide range of experience with some of today’s most recognized brands has taught me that you must push (extra hard ) to keep these monster brands fresh and meaningful.

I’ve enjoyed engaging these and numerous other brands both large and small. From print marketing to digital lead generation, promotions to loyalty, my wide and deep experience has put some gray hairs on my head, and created some valuable branding insights…

1) Visualizing the big picture
I’m concerned that any marketing effort lines up with the long-term goals and purpose of the brand.

For example, by presenting the idea of your family enjoying a stress-free mealtime where actual conversations can happen, Schwan’s Home Food Service was able to grow acceptance and deliveries into micro localities. See the example here

2) Tapping into the new
New technology can make our marketing so much easier, but don’t get caught in the trap of new for new stake. Cool new technology must deliver real results.

For Imation I identified and developed a keyword strategy that helped drive organic search traffic to specific product landing pages. Here is a post on a related advertising project I completed for Imation

3) Validating with proven standards
I’m a believer in direct marketing. And the Web offers amazing opportunities for direct marketing to thrive. But it’s best to have a great offer, a solid call-to-action and an easy to use capture experience.

When Sage Software needed to improve their lead generation efforts, I drove my team to develop a prospect survey that resulted in an infographic as content. This strategy beat all of Sage’s previous controls. See the infographic here.




Do you know your 10 most important keywords?

Posted on by admin in Articles Comments Off on Do you know your 10 most important keywords?

 

SEO 101 for marketing on the web, plus two cool tools to use today

(This article was originally published on Forbes.com)

 

Minneapolis Content MarketingAs published on Forbes.com

 

After 20 years as an ad & marketing guy, I’ve found that most businesses know their business and have an established set of words & descriptions. But too often many simply don’t always know or understand their online marketing lexicon. And by that I mean the words prospects are searching online to solve their problems.

When you think of the web search queries, try to think of Google or Bing or YouTube as being an enormous help desk  — or better yet a concierge. A smart, efficient helper directing you to a solution. So make sure your words and search meanings line up. In other words, speak your prospect’s language.

For example

  • You may think you are selling home heating systems 22K searches per month when furnace gets 5 million searches.
  • If you sell dog accessories 110K searches per month, consider emphasizing hot items like dog bed 450K and dog collars 673K searches per month.
  • You may be a cosmetic dentist 368K but you’d best be using teeth bleaching 1 million monthly searches as one of your 10 words.

 

I know this exercise may seem overly simplistic, but these 10 words are the foundational logic of your business online. And finding the right words is really a process of relation. By that, I mean you should first nail down the core 4-5 words you know are critical and then branch out for more related terms or phrases. Confirm your 10 words and load them into your web marketing efforts. Share with your internal and external teams so you can be speaking the same language across your content and digital marketing efforts.

Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Think beyond your website
Your 10 words need to live well on your website as SEO magnets. But they also need to be sprinkled into all your online effort like your blog, press releases, articles, white papers, case studies and your social media. Remember, YouTube is the #2 search engine, so it’s important to be there with the words that connect with your prospects.

Here’s how to start, or restart
As an established business you may already have a pretty good grasp of your 10 words. But it’s important to examine and even re-examine these from time to time. I believe trends, new business demands, and changes in your industry can continually influence your 10 words.

It’s all relative
For starters try this cool Visual Thesaurus tool from Think Map to start determining the different words that relate to your business. This Gantt-Style mapping tool lines up related words in a diagram. The movement and motion of this online tool is quite addictive! Using these related words will help you determine a wide range of terms for your business.

Value your words
Next, take that big bunch of related words and see what they are really worth. Try plugging them into KeyWord Spy. This is a neat tool much like Google Adwords. You can use their basic plan for free to get started. I like the simplicity and insights it provides.  You get tables that display the searches per month and the cost per click for online advertising. So it’s a real demand /cost analysis of keywords that are being used. And it can be quite revealing.

So go explore with these resources, discover your 10 words and embrace SEO with confidence.

Want to discover your 10 words to use in the fastest way possible?