If you do One Thing to market your business this month, answer a question on your website.
I feel like I’m “punting” to give this piece of advice. Adding content to your website will always help you market your business. In this case I’m suggesting a specific kind of content: content that answers a question.
How will this help you market your business?
Answering questions will help you get more website traffic
More traffic from organic search. Since Pigeon update, Google loves questions and answers. People turn to Google for answers. If you have a post that answers them, you have a chance at that traffic. Don’t just answer one question per piece of content- answer a few. Longer content helps you take advantage of the long tail. You’ll find your article answers more questions then you knew people were asking.
Questions that generate content tend to get traffic but not conversions. Normally we’d be interested in leads and sales, not just traffic. In this case traffic is good. The more people see our answer, the more are introduced to your company as a potential solution. They might not be ready for your help now, but when they do they know you can help. Content like this also has the ability to generate organic links. This will help your website grow in authority. As your site grows in authority, you’ll find all your landing pages will show up more in the search engines.
More traffic from social media websites. Content that answers commonly asked questions tends to be shared on social media. This helps by introducing more people to your business. This also sends social signals for your website, improving its search engine visibility.
Social networking websites are search engines. People ask questions of their followers. People will even search social networks for answers- beyond their network. Having answers to these questions will bring traffic beyond those already following your account.
Answering questions will help your sales team get more leads
Customers often ask the same questions. If you have an answer ready for them, you can make a good impression and make the sale easier.
Has a salesperson told you something that ended up not quite being the full story? Having consistent answers to common questions also avoids confusion, later. It’s always easier to keep customers than get new ones. Having prepared answers can help your sales team’s retention rate.
Now that I’ve convinced you to provide answers on your website- how can you learn what questions to answer?
What questions should you answer?
What are people asking over the phone?
Keep a pad of paper near your phone. Maybe it’s by your receptionist. Maybe it’s on your desk. Maybe it’s a shared Google Doc that everyone can add a question they’ve been asked. The point is: people are asking you questions all day, make sure you keep a record of them. Once you start a record like this, you’ll find a treasure trove of content for your website.
What are people asking your salespeople?
Ask them. Have a monthly sales meeting? Ask your salespeople. Do your salespeople speak with customers over email? Have them forward you an email with a question. Your salespeople are on the front lines with potential clients and existing customers. Make sure you tap into their experience to find the questions people are asking.
What are people asking Google?
You might not have a sales team, or even a receptionist. If this is you- turn to Google.
Google Autosuggest. Ever notice that Google anticipates your search query as you type it? If you type slowly you’ll see Google is suggesting some queries. These come from commonly asked queries from other Google users. These are also a great source for potential questions to answer on your website.
Google Related Searches. Ever travel to the bottom of a Google search page? Next time you do a search, notice that Google adds a series of “Related Searches” to the bottom of the page. These are queries that people might have meant to ask, given the query you entered into Google. It’s another great source of questions to answer.
Do a Google Search
Enter the following into Google, replacing “keyword” with a phrase related to your business:
Keyword who OR what OR where OR when OR why OR how
This will give you pages on the web that have already identified questions about your topic. They might have tried to answer that question before but your company has a better answer, right?
If you answer a question, that someone else has already answered, be sure to take a note of this. We’ll use it, later.
What do people ask on social media?
What do they ask you? If you are active on social networks you already have a great source of questions. It’s hard to answer a question accurately in 140 characters on Twitter. If you answer a question on Facebook, how will non-Facebook users find it? Answer it on your website, instead.
What do they ask your competitors? Don’t have an active social presence? Poach questions people ask your competitor. The fact is, your potential customers might have the same questions. Since your services are better than theirs, this is your opportunity to stand apart from them.
Search social networks
Just like we did with Google, you can search social networks for questions:
Keyword who OR what OR where OR when OR why OR how
Now that you have a bunch of questions, what should you do with them?
How should you answer these questions?
Publish the answers on your website
Answer questions in your blog. I hope this is the obvious answer. Sometimes people try to focus on the fancy new thing and overlook the simple solution. Your blog should answer the question that the title asks.
Not have a blog? There’s nothing magical about the word, “blog.” Do you have a “News” section of your website? Do you have an “Articles” section? Publish your answers there.
Answer questions on your landing pages. Potential clients have questions, too. Make sure you provide the answers on the page dedicated to a particular service. Like I mentioned earlier, Google’s Pigeon update loves questions. This might send the landing pages more traffic. You might also see a higher conversion rate as you dispel a prospect’s questions.
Whether you blog or update a landing page, be sure to keep each page unique.
Record a short video that answers a question
YouTube is a search engine. Even your phone is a video camera. Take five minutes and answer the question over video and the load it to your channel. If you want to be more successful, take some time and spend some money to have a professional video made.
There are a couple advantages of video over text. Video can make complex topics easier to digest. Video is also easily shared. You can also publish the same video on many websites, expanding your reach easier than rewriting the article.
Prepare a White Paper that answers common questions
White Papers can generate soft leads. People might not be ready for your services. These people still have questions. Provide something for them to download until they’re ready to contact you. You might ask for an email address, before they receive it. If you don’t, be sure you setup tracking. You will want to know the White Paper generated the final lead- when they finally need your services.
White Papers can reach an offline audience. Your sales team will not always be in front of a computer. Give them something to hand to a prospect. In turn, this will give them something to hand up the ladder to the real decision makers.
White Papers can reach C-level employees. C-level employees don’t read blog posts or watch videos. That’s delegated to someone beneath them. White Papers, however, have the ability to reach these decision makers.
So, if you do One Thing this month, start answering questions. Take note of what questions people are asking and provide them the answers they need.