In a recent post, I talked about warming up a list for my Quilting Business website. Basically, I have not communicated with the list for quite some time, and I need to reengage the community to build a relationship before I start to sell any products or services to them. I’m doing this with a combination of humble apologies, giving them some great free resources, and by answering some of their questions.
Answering questions is a great way to bond with a list. Every time I’ve asked for input from any of my communities, there’s been a flurry of questions and comments. It seems that there’s a lot of people out there with questions, and answering their questions is a wonderful way of:
- Bonding with the list: When you answer a real question from a real community member, it shows that you are engaged and want to interact on a more personal level. When you answer a question submitted in the questioners own voice, and answered in your own voice, it shows a sincere commitment to the community.
- Creating new content: Answering questions can generate a lot of new content for your website. Depending on how many questions you want to answer, and the size of your community, you can develop a LOT of content quickly. And the content is targeted to your most influential members – those who will raise their hands and ask questions.
- Showing your expertise: When you successfully answer a question, with some style and knowledge, you show the community that you know what you’re talking about. Good answers build credibility for you and your business, and can work almost like a testimonial in helping move browsers into buyers.
- Increasing search engine rankings: When you answer questions that are right in line with the subject of your website, then you are doing what Google and other search engines want – generating targeted content that will answer people’s search queries.
Any business that wants to build a rapport with their community can use this tactic. If you have an email list, send out an email asking for questions. Make sure you specify what you are looking for in the questions. Here’s what I told my Quilting Business community about submitting questions:
- Be Specific: Try to narrow your questions to just one specific topic, not a general question. For example, asking me “how do I start a quilting business?” is not a very specific question, but “how can I market online to my local area?” is much better.
- Be Concise: Don’t send really long questions. If you need to cover quite a bit, break it down into multiple questions instead of a very long single question with too much detail.
- Be On Topic: Please confine your questions to how you can start, manage, market, and run a quilting business. I really want to make the content on this site as targeted and useful as possible.
- Be Interesting: And finally, try to make your question as interesting as possible. Think about how you can frame the question in such a way that other people would want to know the answer as well. That way, everyone wins.
You can make up your own suggestions depending on what you’re trying to achieve. You may want to tailor your question submissions to a specific event or time of year. For example, a pool supply company may want to have questions about how to close a pool in the Fall so they can provide good information and suggest some supplies that are needed (available at our store) for the pool closing.
The more information that people have about your business, the easier it is to make a decision to purchase from you. When you take the time to answer a lot of basic questions, and provide excellent content that’s useful for browsers, you’re sure to convert some of those browsers into buyers.