Boost Sales with FAQs

Many people enjoy shopping online for one main reason: convenience. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on your website will save your customers time by providing them with quick answers and relevant advice. At the same time, it will also save you time by eliminating repetitive questions. A well-produced FAQ will reinforce buying decisions and shorten the time it takes to order from your business. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your FAQ section:
  • Answer each FAQ with well-written content that will also help rank in search engines for keywords relevant to your industry. Doing this can help turn your site into a resource for customers and other prospects.

  • Allow answers to expand and minimize with a single click, so the questions remain easily scannable and readers don't have to wait for a new page to load each time. Do not create the FAQ as a separate file (such as a PDF) that customers need to download to read.

  • Update FAQs frequently to ensure answers are still relevant.

  • Organize questions so they are easy to find, such as by category, with the most popular questions first.

  • Use brief, informative answers. If detailed answers are required, provide a link to more information. Have the link open in a new window, so the visitor doesn't have to leave the current page.

  • Focus on providing helpful information. Avoid flashy designs that distract from your content.

  • Include various contact methods should the reader want more answers. In addition to general contact information (phone, fax, email, mailing address, etc.), provide a question form that's easily accessible from your FAQ page.

Become a Resource for Your Customers

The average prospect is bombarded by so many salesmen eager for their business that they can be selective over the solution provider they choose. While quality and price will always remain important factors, the level of expertise and guidance provided is often just as important. Here are a few ways you can become a resource for your customers:
  • Offer hands-on training as an extension of your customer's organization. By enhancing their ability to anticipate, understand, and solve problems, you can help them develop solutions faster and more efficiently than on their own.

  • Provide a newsletter, or encourage customers to sign up for your blog. Then fill that newsletter or blog with tips, articles, industry trends, new product highlights, and relevant industry articles and resources. Create an archive section on your website that makes all previous information you've provided available for viewing.

  • Create a resource page on your website that offers a comprehensive list of engaging and helpful links to industry resources, helpful websites, associations, event calendars, etc.

  • Create an industry chat forum through your web page that gives people with similar interests the ability to chat with others about your industry, products, resources, etc.

  • Stay current on industry trends and new products, as well as competitor solutions, so you can offer educated answers to your customers.

  • Stay involved with your customers. Periodically check in to see how they are doing and to show that you sincerely care about them and your relationship with them.

  • Put yourself in your customers' shoes. Learn more about their industry, customers, associations, events, etc. Think of creative ways you can help them be more successful in their ventures.

  • Don't just use a sales pitch. Instead, share your enthusiasm and knowledge. Salespeople who are passionate are the most successful because their belief in the products or services shines through.

What does a $300 million cable have to do with your bottom line?

We've all heard the adage that time is money. Well, in the financial markets of New York and London, they measure that time in milliseconds and the money in hundreds of millions of dollars.

More precisely, a new transatlantic cable, currently in development, will save traders about 6 milliseconds per transmission. The project's cost: $300 million. Once finished, the company behind the cable plans to charge as much as 50 times more to use the service than existing alternatives, and financial companies are already chomping at the bit to pay.

Why? According to one estimate, a savings of just one millisecond would add $100 million to a large hedge fund's annual bottom line.

So where can your company shave time?
  • Start small. Sure, you're not likely to see a $100 million savings, but even little time-savers -- a few minutes here, a couple seconds there -- add up and can help you work more productively.

  • Streamline processes. Engineers working on the new transatlantic cable project studied commercial flight paths between New York and London in planning their route. As a result, the new cable will be about 310 miles shorter than existing lines. What best practices can you follow to achieve similar savings at your company?

  • Plan for the future. This is the first new transatlantic line installed in the last 10 years, and planners have spared no expense to make sure it lives up to its promise. If it fails -- or someone builds a faster conduit -- all they'll have is a very expensive piece of cord lying at the bottom of the ocean. So how can you plan ahead to keep momentum going? Start by investing in technology, building up infrastructure, and creating a mindset of efficiency and effort at your company.

Why You Must Diversify Your Marketing

If you ever listen to financial experts, you will inevitably come across an often repeated phrase: "Diversify your financial portfolio." Why do financial planners preach this ad nauseam?

History has taught them that, if you put all of your eggs in one basket, you increase your risk of losing your portfolio. The greater the concentration in one type of investment (just stocks, or just bonds, or just parking cash in a low-interest money market account), the greater the risk that you will lose in the long run. So diversification in this instance is really just risk management.

Advertising and marketing have been around a long time now. Traditional options range from mass marketing like radio, TV, billboard, and newspaper ads to personalized print and direct mail advertising. Websites, email marketing, social media, and mobile ads are the new kids on the block. Experts in each of these specialties claim their medium is the best investment. Whether a fresh-out-of-school social media guru or an old-school yellow page ad rep, each has a valid point to consider that paints their tool in the best light.

So what should you do? Which medium really is the best to use for your business? Only you can answer that, but the smart money may be to take a page out of the financial experts' wisdom and apply it to marketing your company: diversification. You don't need to use every advertising medium known to man, but you shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket either.

The prospects, leads, and customers you are looking for use different media for different reasons. When you only use one, you are only reaching a small portion of your audience. So manage risk in your marketing campaigns by diversifying your marketing portfolio. When you accomplish this, your financial portfolio will be much happier, too!

Measure twice

There's an old adage among carpenters: "Measure twice, cut once." A moment spent verifying a measurement can save the time and frustration of having to re-cut, sand, or replace a board if the size is off by even the smallest amount. Taking shortcuts can literally lead to "short cuts," which require more time, resources, and expense to fix and make right.

The same idea holds true for pouring a slab of concrete, laying tile, hanging a door, installing cabinetry... and running a business. Sometimes, in the rush to get things done, we all forget to "measure twice" before pushing forward on a project or policy. We think we're working smarter, when in reality our shortcuts are short-circuiting our efforts and making us spend even more time, energy, and money fixing mistakes we would never have made if we had just taken the time to do it right from the start.

Of course, measuring twice doesn't mean delaying decisions indefinitely or dragging our heels for fear of making a mistake. That could prove even more harmful than moving too fast. What it does mean is taking a step back, verifying our course, and then moving forward more confidently than before.

So the next time you're tempted to cut corners, just to get things done, stop for a minute, assess the situation, and make sure those corners aren't important to the structural integrity of your project before you pull out that blade.
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