I just finished reading Marcus Sheridan’s book They Ask, You Answer. I sucked up its lessons like a vacuum. Sheridan claims the key to business success (especially in service businesses like ours) is to address customer questions straight on and provide easy answers in the form of blogs, eBooks, articles, and videos. Sheridan calls the most common customer questions “The Big 5” and lays out a simple plan to address each one as a means to kickoff your company’s content marketing strategy. I used the opportunity to address all five, and wanted to share what we’ve learned so far.
I checked our website and realized we don’t talk about price. We have a budget calculator that our sales team uses to guide clients through our initial project discussions, but that’s it. I took the opportunity to write an article called How Much Does a Smart Home Cost? and posted it to our blog. Marcus Sheridan came from the swimming pool world, and he wrote a similar article about in-ground pools with the same “it depends” response we usually give to clients when they ask how much home technology solutions are. Instead of focusing on dollars and cents, our article focuses on the factors that drive costs up and down.
Also By Henry Clifford: Helping Parents Manage Technology
In They Ask, You Answer, Sheridan encourages the reader to list the common issues associated with their products. Luckily for us, home technology solutions (even well-designed systems) have their fair share of common issues. That led me to write a blog called Top Tech Frustrations and Troubleshooting Steps. If we acknowledge issues up front, it helps to set client expectations and builds trust. After all, if the client’s going to find out sooner or later what they signed up for, wouldn’t you rather it be sooner than later?
This one made me smack my forehead. When I go shopping for something new, I always check out brand comparisons. I started small by writing a blog called Voice Activated Showdown: Alexa vs. Google Home. One of the key drivers for writing this as the first comparison blog is that “voice activated” appears to be one of the top search phrases in our industry right now. I plan to continue writing more blogs that pit brands against each other to better address customer questions.
“Best Of” Lists
You’re going to think I’m nuts for doing this, but Marcus Sheridan swears by it. He wrote a blog called “Top Swimming Pool Installers In Richmond, Va.” and listed five of his competitors as the top-ranked companies without listing his own. What’s the catch? No catch, but if a prospect is researching the “Best Of” in the market, they’re going to learn about competitors on his website. Once again, I tried it his way and wrote Who Are the Best Home Technology Companies in Richmond? Livewire didn’t make the list, but we positioned it as a reply to the common customer question “Who are your competitors?” Am I nuts? We’ll see.
Also by Henry Clifford: Care, Water, and Feed Your Company
This one’s easy and hard at the same time. Since we’ve made gathering customer reviews almost a religious pursuit inside our company, having They Ask, You Answer remind us of their importance helps us to double down. We have 75-ish Google reviews. Our nearest competitor has around 40. We have another company who dabbles in our space with over 1200. That makes me want 2000. I took all of this data to our company and presented it at our most recent all-hands meeting. By turning it into a rallying cry, our review rate has moved north significantly in October alone. All I did was appeal to our competitive spirit. Are we going to let Team Livewire get beaten those rascally trunk slammers across town? Hell no!
I can’t recommend They Ask, You Answer highly enough. There’s a ton more in the book that I’ll save for another article, but “The Big 5” is where we’ve begun.
What are you doing to address “The Big 5” in your company?
Stay frosty, and see you in the field.