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Writing for the Web: Always Be Answering
In the classic film “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin played the hard-driving sales trainer whose motto was:
“ABC”: Always Be Closing
If a member of his team didn’t close enough deals, they were “SOL” and out of a job.
“ABC” is still a key factor in business success today, but there’s another important acronym to keep in mind when it comes to your website:
“ABA”: Always Be Answering
ABA is to marketing as ABC is to sales.
What do you need to be answering, exactly? Your prospects’ and customers’ questions.
Who knows what their questions are? They do. And your employees they talk to, such as salespeople.
Where do people expect to find answers? Where should you ABA?
On the web!
Why? Because Google is an answer engine. If you answer the questions people are asking, you get rewarded with more traffic to your site.
The First 6 Questions Your Website Must Answer
You may ask yourself, what are these burning questions my prospects and customers have? Well, we here at Bright Orange Thread like to practice what we preach, so here are the basics and some tips on how to give the best answers.
- What do you do?
- Talk about how you have 5 seconds to tell reader what you do.
- Why should I care?
- Answer with your value proposition (you only have 10 seconds to get it across).
- Who are you?
- Answer with a brief summary statement on your homepage. And you can provide more details on your site’s about page, which is the second most visited page on any site.
- Can you help me solve my problem?
- Include a “Problems We Solve” Page
- I’m interested. How do I get more information?
- Include information on user-centric navigation (mega menus, etc.) Use call-to-action buttons with compelling text.
- In answering this question, you should also address where the prospect may be in their buyer’s journey.
- For those who are in the awareness stage, include copy that speaks to the most common pain points they may be experiencing.
- For those who are in the consideration or decision stages of the journey, include copy that proves you are a subject matter expert.
- How do I contact you? Put your phone number and email at the top of your website.
Sharp Copy Gets to the Point
You need to anticipate—and be able to answer—your site visitors’ questions by having strong copywriting throughout your website. This includes blog posts, offers, and any other content intended to prompt the reader to take action.
Lackluster copy muddies your marketing message and can weigh your website down. Strong, well-written copy works to solve the reader's pain point. Having good answers on your website is key, and the best way to provide those answers is good copywriting.
What About Blog Posts?
Use the force: your sales force, that is.
Ask the members of your team who talk to your prospects or customers what questions they hear often, and turn those Q’s—and the A’s—into content for your blog.
By doing so, not only are you providing helpful solutions, but you’ll score more points with Google and other search engines.
The Featured Snippet Factor
Featured snippets are search results that appear in a box at the top of the first page of Google’s organic results, right below those pesky ads (we kid).
If your answer to a question makes it into the box, you get additional exposure in Google’s search results, which helps drive more traffic to your site. This can result in more leads and more revenue.
Success Story: Making Your Answers Work for You
Marcus Sheridan, an owner of River Pools and Spas in Virginia, understands the importance of “ABA”. In 2009, his company was floundering. Their traditional marketing methods (TV/radio advertising, pay-per-click) weren’t working anymore.
So Sheridan cut his marketing budget from $250,000 to $25,000 and started creating blog posts and YouTube videos to answer customers’ questions about products. And then the business took off. From one answer-focused post alone, the company made $1.7 million in sales.
What’s the secret to his success? He answers the most-pressing questions without giving away everything up front, including information on price.
ABA: Learn It, Live It, and They’ll Love You For It
At the end of the day, people just want to know that you’re listening to them and hear their questions. So the next time you hear a question from a prospect or customer that you are hesitant to answer, think about what you may be missing out on if you don’t.
And you may not have to answer as many questions in the first place if your website does it for you.
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