Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Website Must Be an Answer Machine

Customers are searching for answers first, products second. 

Make your website a Library of Solutions,  an Answer Machine.

Product hype is not enough anymore.

Many potential customers are in the problem solving exploration stage. 

They're not ready to buy a product. They're asking questions related to problems your product solves. If your website has FAQ type information that answers those questions, Google will send you a lot more qualified customer traffic. If you answer their question, they may suddenly be ready to make a purchase from you.

While some customers know what they need and are searching for products to meet that need, many customers are in the exploration stage. They see a problem, lack, or opportunity. They are seeking enlightenment. They want to know more -- before they'll be ready to shop for a product.

When a customer searches online for information related to your products, the question they enter into Google is about a problem your product solves. They'll be asking how to solve, fix, customize, repair, upgrade, adapt, or replace something.

Customer types questions into Google. Google then, through its new Hummingbird search engine, seeks the best answer to the customer's questions. That's where you need to be. Not hawking the product, but announcing the answer, and then promote your product.

Notice, I did not say "Google then seeks the best PRODUCT for the customer" -- but rather, "the best ANSWER."

So if your website just contains we-oriented generic fluff, boasting about how great your company is, saying what any competitor could also claim, and spewing forth the froth of product technical data and specs, guess what?

Google is not going to consider your website a good match for the customer query. That customer with a question will not be sent to your website.

Favor will go toward the website that provides complete, authoritative, well-written, original answers to customer questions.

To take full advantage of this to gain competitive superiority, use the FAQ format to present information about your products. Information designed, not to glorify the products, but to explain how you understand the customer's need, and explains how to solve the customer's problem, by way of your products.

Your website needs to describe the problem in the language used by customers, not by your marketing team, sales force, engineers, or vendors. Speak the same words your customers use when they talk about their need, problem, or enhancement to their lifestyle. Google will be looking for a match based on the words and the intention of the customer query.

Example of Website as Answer Machine

Let's say you sell silver jewelry.

Many potential customers already own some silver jewelry. Right at this moment, they need some sort of polish that will clean silver jewelry they already possess. Your opportunity lies here: if you have a webpage that discusses how to polish silver jewelry, what to use and how to do it, those people may visit your website to read that.

They may then look around at the silver jewelry you have for sale. Some of them might be so impressed at the styles and affordability, they buy some of your products.

Another customer may be wanting to learn how to evaluate the quality of silver jewelry and how it compares to white gold or steel. Still another may want to discover new jewelry gift ideas for a graduating college student, like a diamond studded iPhone case.

If you know what the most common questions are that potential customers are asking, and you provide answers to these typical questions, you'll impress Google and your website traffic will surge.

This is how you expand your market and how you make your website more productive in attaining your business goals.

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