The Internet is all about finding answers to questions. Where’s the best place to stay in Bali? How do you know which digital camera to buy? What do you need to know about selecting the right college?
One of the best ways to get found online is to anticipate your ideal client’s questions and provide great answers in a well-crafted, strategic, optimized FAQ (frequently asked questions) page in your website.
Remember, Internet marketing is consumer-driven. Your most important web content provides value to the people you want to attract as customers. Help solve their problems with free information, and chances are good they will come to you as paying customers.
Identify Your Ideal Client’s Top Ten Questions
As always, you need to know your audience. If you’ve been in business for a while, you won’t have any trouble listing the ten top questions you get asked all the time. And if you’re just starting out, an hour or two of Internet research about your line of work and some time spent reading blogs in your field will help you to figure out what your ideal client wants to know.
Write the list of questions in a logical sequence. Content is easier to skim if the questions go from general to specific. Keep the language as straightforward as possible. To help your reader identify with the questions, write in the first person singular (How do I know when to . . . ?).
Find Out What Your Competition Has to Say
As you think through your answers, take some time to search what your competition has to say on the subject. You don’t want to plagiarize, but you do want to have a solid sense of what they’re writing about, if anything, as well as the quality of information already available. Your goal, of course, is to provide the clearest, most accurate answers to your ideal client’s questions that can be found easily on the Internet.
Do Keyword Research for Search Terms to Include in Your FAQs
You’ll boost your chances of getting found if you take the time to research keyword phrases that are relevant to your list of FAQs. Google’s Keyword Tool is free and simple to use, and you don’t need an AdWords account to access it.
Type in the question that you plan to answer, and you’ll see a list of keyword phrases used by people searching for answers to that question. Incorporate the most relevant, frequently searched phrases in both the questions and answers that you craft. Keywords that have high search and low to moderate competition are your best bets.
Develop Answers That Reflect You as an Approachable Expert
Armed with your competitor and keyword research, now it’s time to write your answers. Keep your responses short and easy to skim. One or two paragraphs is usually all you need. You can include useful links to other resources as part of your answers.
Craft your answers as if you were advising a friend over lunch. Avoid jargon and stilted, formal phrasing. Use the second person (you) to create a personal tone. Read your answers out loud, test them out on a friend, to see if you’ve hit the mark. This is key website content that will help you to present yourself as an approachable expert—write answers that are easy to understand, accurate and supportive.
Use a Format That’s Easy to Skim
Since FAQ pages can get long and require a lot of scrolling, you want to be sure that visitors can find your answers quickly and easily without having to dig too far down the page.
One solution is to list all the questions at the top of the page, with anchor links to the Q&As, and back-to-top links after each question. However, this can get a bit clunky with a lot of content.
My favorite FAQ format is to use an accordion display. The page lists each question, and when you click on the question, the answer opens up below it. You can see a sample of this on the FAQ page for the website I created for Attorney Marcia Tannenbaum of Solutions Through Mediation. It’s neat and clean, and the format enables you to include a lot of substance in a tight space.
Use Your FAQ Content as a Sales Tool
A well-crafted FAQ page not only helps to boost visits to your site, it also provides a handy sales tool for your client outreach efforts. Pass on the link to your FAQ page whenever you meet someone who might be interested in your services. Encourage them to share your information with others who could benefit. Incorporate your FAQs into a sales brochure about your business.
Solid, strategic FAQ content takes an investment of time and thought. But your effort to develop accurate, helpful answers to your ideal client’s most frequent questions will pay off in dividends.
Evelyn Herwitz is a marketing consultant who loves to help service professionals tell great stories about their good work, to establish them as approachable experts and to grow their businesses.
Tags: FAQ pages