The most interesting content you can create for prospects and customers is content that answers their questions.
Prospects now prefer to do their own research before making sales inquiries, especially if the product or service is complex. If you provide the information they need, you’ll help them move further along the path to purchasing quicker (and likely get yourself on their shortlist). When you provide the answers that customers need, even if it seems like a boring topic, you help them solve their issues.
In either case, the content piece will help them see you as a trusted resource. It will also show that you know their business.
To create such content, you’ll need to understand your customers’ problems or talk to someone who does.
Sources within your company for discovering customer questions
Prospects’ questions will most likely revolve around whether your offering is the right solution for them. Customers may have questions about integrating your offering with their existing technology, etc. However, you’re going to have to do some digging to figure out exactly what questions either group is asking.
Two prime sources for finding out what’s on the minds of your prospect are sales meetings and sales calls. If you’re holding the meetings or calls, make a note of any questions that prospects regularly ask. If you have a sales team, ask them what questions they hear repeatedly.
In either case, aim to collect the five to 10 most common questions that customers and prospects ask. If sales reps have trouble remembering, ask them to go through their emails, especially their sent folder. That way, they can see if there’s a pattern to the responses they typically send to prospects or customers.
Note: Put objections and misconceptions that your sales representatives (or you) often have to tackle on the list. Of course, customers may not always express their misunderstandings or objections as questions. However, content that addresses these issues is another powerful way to pave the way to a sale.
Plus, that content will make your sales reps’ jobs easier. They’ll be able to direct curious or objecting prospects to credible information. Even better, some prospects will discover that information on their own. That means that they will be even more sold on your offering by the time they make content.
Customer service can be another source for finding frequently asked questions. It’s a sure bet that many of your prospects and customers will also appreciate being able to find answers on their own. And your customer service team will welcome content pieces that remove the hassle of repeatedly answering the same question.
You can also get ideas for content by looking at your online traffic analytics. Determine what keywords people are using to find your website. You’ll also see which of your blog topics and web pages get the most traffic. SEO tools such as UberSuggest and SEMRush can show you frequently used keywords. Additionally, you may be able to make use of UberSuggest’s free Content Ideas tool (though it gave me nothing for “answer customer questions.”)
Go where your potential prospects are asking questions
As previously mentioned, potential buyers are going to do their own research before contacting you. Some of their research will be via online communities and other websites. So, it’s also a good idea to visit those online venues to see what questions are being asked about your field or the types of products and services you offer.
Some resources that can help you know what people are asking or searching for are:
- AnswerThePublic – A keyword tool that draws on autocomplete data from search engines like Google and then quickly cranks out every useful phrase and question people are asking around your keyword.
- Reddit – A network of communities where people delve into their interests, occupations, and hobbies.
- Quora – A question and answer website where people can find information.
- Google Trends – a free data tool from Google that shows the popularity of specific searches in Google and YouTube so marketers can see what audiences are looking for in real-time.
You can also engage in social media listening (monitoring social media for mentions of your business and your competitors as well as related keywords). For example, you can follow hashtags that relate to your product or services to see what people are saying or asking on a particular social media platform.
In all these cases, you can use the questions, concerns, or misconceptions that you find as raw material for content.
When and where to publish content that answers questions
If you have the time and it’s appropriate for that online venue, respond to the questions on the venue itself. That way, people who have not visited your website will see your expertise. You can answer the question there and then create a more in-depth post for your website or blog. Conversely, you can create the content for your own site first and then share it (or an excerpt) on the venue.
With the second option mentioned, it’s usually advisable to wait a week or two before posting on the venue. That way, the search engines find the content on your own site first. You want your own online properties to get most of the SEO credit for authoritative and reliable information. Of course, it depends on the specific situation. If you can potentially build a good relationship with very desirable prospects by posting on the third-party platform sooner, then go for it.
Just guessing what prospective and current customers will want to learn can result in content that’s geared more to what interests you. You might want to go on at length about the latest feature on your platform or widget. They might want information that’s much more basic. When you can find what they’re actually asking, you can get rid of that disconnect. Publishing content that actually answers their questions will establish you as their trusted source.
Kelle Campbell is a content writer for e-learning and B2B software companies. Contact her to discuss your next project.