The Secret Sauce for Optimizing Your FAQ Page

photo credit: photopin

photo credit: photopin

Having the human touch is a no brainer for companies that are starting out.  It’s undeniable that, cost aside, companies would much rather have sales people closing deals in addition to their support team personally answering every inquiry and problem that arises.

However, many times this model simply isn’t scalable, which is why it is important to have a strong FAQ page.  A powerful (and often underutilized) tool, FAQ pages can be leveraged for both sales and customer service, playing a pivotal role with both current and prospective customers.

There are many reasons why customers would benefit from using your FAQ.  They may be following up from a sales presentation, they may be investigating about how to troubleshoot an issue, or they may be responding to your outbound campaign and are looking for more information.

Thus, its importance on your site is undeniable. Let’s walk through some ideas for how you can better leverage and quickly optimize your FAQ page.

Create Enticing Answers

When customers come to a FAQ page, they’re looking for specific answers like, how to cancel a membership, exact shipping prices, or fees associated with your product.  A yes/no answer is good and all, but having enticing and informative answers allows you to implement selling into your page.

Mix your answers with a catchy CTA.  For example – the FAQ may read, “Is there a deadline to register?” While a yes or no answer will work great here, use this opportunity to implement  Answer: “Register 3 days before the event and save $500.  Register Here!”  Embed clickable links and/or buttons in your answer so that your customer can easily execute on your CTA.

As a side note, don’t worry if you know nothing about programming or design. There are plenty of tools like Button Optimizer, and the WordPress Calls to Action that allow you to create beautiful calls to action for your website.

Search Function = Growth

Adding in search functionality is a must for any FAQ page. This functionality allows them to find information faster and for you to track their search queries, which sheds light on what your customers are most interested in on your FAQ page.

Knowing this information will allow you to improve other sections of your site.  For example, if customers are frequently searching for your return policy on your FAQ page, this should indicate that it isn’t prominent enough on your site, your product needs to be improved, or this question should populate higher on your page.

Allow For Further Reach Out

I’ve been to plenty of websites that have adopted this FAQ model, solely relying on it for their customer support.  I agree with the “let the customer answer his or her own question” approach, but quite frankly, only when it is easy to use.  For example, some sites use a forum as their FAQ, and I often find myself running in circles trying to find the answer to my questions.  To make matters worse, I then discover that there is no “contact us” option.  Chances are, you have been frustrated by a similar FAQ in the past.  Not good.

What makes a well-optimized FAQ forum is having the option to ask the network, but also the ability to call the company directly for more in-depth support.

New Hires are Your Best Friend

As your company grows, leverage the new employees that join your team. During their first week, make sure to set time aside to have them read over the FAQ. The content is new to them and they aren’t indoctrinated in the phrases and acronyms of your company culture. A fresh eye increases your ability to spot confusion and stagnation. Make it an onboarding task to review the FAQs and point out anything that looks a little iffy.

Build in SEO Friendly Words

Many times FAQ pages are like overcooked Yukon Gold potatoes – bland and dry.  By making it SEO friendly you will not only make it easier to read, but you’ll simultaneously boost your SEO rankings.

To do this, make sure each question has words and phrases that relate to your business.  For example, instead of “how does it work?” change it to something like “how does the grocery delivery service work?” This small change makes your content more relatable and relevant to outsiders who might stumble upon your content.

As you can see, having these small additions to your FAQ page will boost your customers happiness, improve the UX of your site, and at the end of the day boost sales.

IMGP2199As a marketing manager at HourlyNerd, Todd Stewart leads the charge in promoting, facilitating, and curating business content for the leading on-demand business consulting platform.  In October 2014, he wrote an eBook for HourlyNerd, LinkedIn, and Hubspot on personal online branding, and in January 2015, he wrote a sales eBook on how to use your 2014 sales data to plan for a strong 2015. Outside of marketing, Todd is an adjunct Public Speaking Professor at Bryant University in Rhode Island specializing in introductory, persuasive, informative, and motivational speaking.  Todd currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts and is a competitive marathon runner. 

Why Smart Technology Use is the Key to Better Customer Marketing Data

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photo credit: pexels

If you haven’t already heard, 2015 is the year big data became a ubiquitous business necessity. Whether used for operational efficiencies or customer information, the benefits of big data are limitless.

For manufacturers, data from warranty product registrations has the potential to be a gold mine for their marketing efforts. Historically, manufacturers offer warranty registrations in order to obtain customer data and use it to improve their marketing and sales processes.

“Manufacturer’s warranties play an important role in the business cycle,” explain Chris Walker and Scott Cederburg of PricewaterhouseCooper in a recent article for Warranty Week adding that warranties are critical to the success of a company’s sales and marketing efforts (source). Unfortunately for manufacturers, the opportunity to collect big data from warranty product registrations is currently not being leveraged efficiently due to an outdated, laborious process for the consumer.

The Current Process is Tedious

Most warranty registrations still require customers to fill out a paper card and return it via mail to the manufacturer. In the digital age, these long and tedious forms are a turn-off for many consumers, especially since a separate warranty card must be completed for each product the individual wants to register. Consumers hate the redundancy of having to fill out the same information for multiple products, whether it’s a Fender guitar or a Black and Decker drill. These cards place the burden on the consumer, whose apathy results in a lost opportunity for retailers to obtain the valuable consumer data.

In addition, product warranty registrations, whether they are online or traditional card-in-a-box, suffer from a “perceived lack of trust” from customers regarding what will be done with their data (source). While some registration cards ask for simple information like name and address, others dig deep into the consumer’s personal information by including questions about ethnicity, income, education and family structure. It’s no wonder that less than 10 percent of customers fill out warranty registration cards (source).

Reduce the Burden on the Customer

It’s clear that the warranty registration process is broken, but companies are more eager than ever before to obtain data from their customers, as it presents a very lucrative avenue for gaining repeat customers. So how does a manufacturer increase the percentage of customers that fill out those registration cards and increase their stores of customer data?

Put simply, reducing the burden on the consumer by streamlining and simplifying the warranty registration process makes it much more likely consumers will submit their information. By making the process automatic and digital, companies reap significantly more data from their customer base, data that has traditionally only been held by retailers and receipt processing companies.

Several solutions to this problem are popping up, including apps that automatically start the warranty registration process based on consumers’ purchase data. Not only is this a benefit for the consumer, allowing them to digitally and automatically submit a warranty for every product they wish to register, but it also delivers value for manufacturers in the form of all-important customer data.

The manufacturers’ product warranty registration process is broken, and all too often there is little thought given to how technology can be leveraged to increase customer response rates. But with the digital resources like one-time entry databases and automatic submissions, the process can be revolutionized. Marketers in the manufacturing industry will finally be able to unlock the wealth and depth of customer data from product registrations.

headshot1Emily Farrar is the Director of Community for Shoeboxed, a receipt tracking company based in Durham, NC. At Shoeboxed, Emily focuses on keeping users happy and engaged. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Relations and an avid Tar Heels fan.

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