Questions, questions, questions. We all have them: Whether they are thought provoking such as : How do I calculate ROI on my marketing activities? or silly questions such as: Do horses and monkeys get grey hair when they get old? Whenever a question pops up in our head, we are most likely going to google it up. The average searches performed a day according to Statistic Brain are 5,134,000,000 ! That my friend, is a lot of searches/questions.
Google announced a new search algorithm called Hummingbird update – which was created to improve the quality of search results. Google will now focus on understanding and responding to conversational style search queries.
This means that pushing highly optimised content on various channels will not bring marketers success in terms of ranking high in search results anymore. Research shows that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results which means that in order for your content to succeed it needs to comply with Google’s rules.
In a nutshell the rules are: the content that marketers publish on the web should be able to answer questions according to the 5W’s – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
Personally, I love the new update. I love that Google is focusing on answering questions and making sure that the results are suited best to answering people’s questions.
However, in 2014, Google should not be the only one answering questions but marketers should join the club!
How to answer questions like a boss!
1. Write content that answers questions
From blog posts to E-guides marketers should focus on writing customer-focused content. Thinking about your customer’s potential questions regarding your offering allows you to create content that will be searched for, read, and shared across social media.
Think about it: If a prospective customer has a question related to your product or service he/she will probably search for it on Google. If you published an online article that answers that question he/she will click on it and land on your website. If you answer the question better than your competitors, with some luck you may land a new customer.
It’s that simple.
2. Use social media to answer questions
I really don’t have to tell you that social media is a powerful marketing tool , because this is the mantra that has been chanted for the last few years. Sadly, marketers still fail to engage their social media audience.
The way marketers can engage fans on social media is by finding questions that they can answer with their expertise or by presenting the product/service that would answer the question.
When fans/followers/connections are asking questions related to your expertise or the product/ service that you offer, they are high up in the buying process – which means that acquiring them could be really simple if you answer their questions better than your competitors.
It happened to me! I was on a LinkedIn marketing group,monitoring the conversations that were taking place when I saw this: Does anyone know of a marketing course I could go on?
The inbound marketing agency that I work for – Tomorrow People – gives marketing training courses, so I decided to send the member of the group a message and to ask her more questions about the kind of training course that she was looking for. After I knew that our course suited her needs, I encouraged her to have a look at our website and let her figure out if she was interested or not. I didn’t want to be pushy or sound too salesy – I wanted to answer her question. Once I knew that she was interested and she would not be scared by a phone call, I asked our sales team to get in touch with her. And guess what? After some chats, she signed up to the course.
Your product/service is the answer to somebody’s question! So make it a point of answering questions! The more questions you answer the higher your chances to sell your offerings!
Here are few ways of sparking conversations and answering questions :
Facebook – encourage discussions, questions, debates! Get people talking.
Twitter – is full of questions. A popular service called Replyz provides a platform allowing anyone to participate in question-answering on Twitter in an organized manner. Find out more about it here
LinkedIn – be part of groups that are relevant to your expertise and the product/service that you have to offer and jump on conversations and start answering questions
Forums – the place where it is all about asking questions and answering questions – be on there!
Q&A Sessions – encourage fans to bombard you with questions during a set time
If you want to find out more about engaging your fans on social media and turning them into buying customers read the free Eguide : How to generate leads from Social Media.
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