If I’m not a good fit for They Ask You Answer, what can I do?
By David Little
Let me guess: You just finished reading They Ask, You Answer, or recently heard Marcus Sheridan speak about all the companies that have experienced a pivot in their business by implementing the inbound marketing methodology of They Ask, You Answer.
Like some people, you might be thinking, “Well, this is great and all but it’s just not right for my company.”
For the most part, here at IMPACT, we’d disagree.
We are firm believers that all companies and industries are a fit for They Ask, You Answer because the philosophy all goes back to building trust with your prospects.
When we think of the word "trust," we might think of a best friend, spouse, or coworker, but why does that trust have to be interpersonal?
The trust you have in a best friend is the same trust we believe all companies can build with their buyers.
By having trust at the foundation of every business transaction, the sales process is more relaxed, and the prospect is often happier with their decision to work with you.
But admittedly, there are some industries that They Ask, You Answer that might not be a good fit.
Who isn’t a good fit for They Ask, You Answer?
When I think of sectors that do not have a long sales process or don't need to build trust to win business, there are a few who come to mind like healthcare, government offices, and nonprofits.
These industries are often transactional, fulfilling a need that does not have to be researched.
Most people are not going to go to a nonprofit’s website and expect them to have content around The Big 5 convincing them to donate money or goods.
Most people see if the charity matches their values and donate accordingly.
There is no educational need to convince someone.
So if you are marketing in a more transactional industry and They Ask, You Answer is not really fitting, here are a few recommendations to help you continue to grow your marketing reach.
Build an email list
Talk about going back to basics, building an email list is something companies have been trying to do since 2006 and still do not do an excellent job of it.
By building an email list, you are especially building an audience that wants to hear from you, and might one day be interested in buying from your company.
Many people do not give their email addresses to companies they do not like or trust, so when you are given someone’s contact information, it speaks volumes.
They Ask, You Answer is all about building trust, so if you go the lengths necessary to build an engaged email list, you’re well on your way to success.
Building a list isn’t easy, however.
People do not want to be spammed, and you have to promise me that you will not abuse this access to someone’s inbox.
Spamming people will hurt your reputation, and your email list will disappear faster than my ice cream on the Fourth of July.
Once you have your list, email them, but do not just send promotional emails; send them educational emails.
Most people get tens or hundreds of emails every day saying we have a sale, did you see this, we support that. Here are some great tips to keep a healthy email list.
But how do I build an email list?
The best way to do this is by, well, asking.
If every person that comes to your website has the opportunity to give you their email address for the exchange of a discount, helpful resources, or just to be nice, they probably will.
For most websites, the only place that someone asks for an email address is in the contact us form or talk to sales, YUCK.
The best way to grow an email list is by asking website visitors if they would like to subscribe to your blog, download an offer, or learn more about something your company offers.
Place a pop up on your site that says, " Hey, provide me that email address, and I promise not to spam you people will subscriber.”
Yes, it’s that simple.
Here is a helpful list of pop-ups that you can place on your site right now to build this list.
But wait, couldn’t you buy a list?
NO! I mean, this is not only a bad idea, but it is illegal to email someone without direct consent such as checking the box on the firm that says “Yes, you can email me.”
Kristen Harold, our director of demand generation, puts it is simple:
“In short, no, [don’t buy lists.] With regulations like GDPR and CCPA becoming the norm, purchasing lists can put your business at legal risk, severely harm deliverability rates, and break trust with your potential customers.”
Create a community
The goal of an online community is the same as an in-person community: to be a place for people with the same goals, thoughts, or passions to learn from one another or just hang out.
It’s like belonging to the local swimming club. You might go a few times a week, see some friends, and, most importantly, feel welcomed.
Our community IMPACT Elite is precisely this.
By building a community, you are bringing others with the same interests and concerns together to help one another. The community is not a place where you can sell your services but a place to truly learn about what those in your community care about and problems they are trying to solve.
Creating a community is a great alternative to They Ask You Answer because instead of your company directly providing the content and resources to address concerns, you are creating a place where individuals can go to find them from others.
You may be thinking, “Is this the same thing as having social media followers?”
The short answer is no.
Yes, the people that follow you on Instagram or Facebook, etc. could be a part of your community and probably care genuinely about what you do or the conversation you are having, but engagement in a community is more personal.
I think Stephanie nails the difference right on the head in her article, but this quote sums it perfectly.
“The key differences start to appear when you look at how you communicate with each group and how you track and measure your interactions with them.
I like to think of it like this:
- Your audience is who you talk to.
- Your community is who talks to you.”
You are building a community to have conversations with your audience, not to tell them about your team or services. That is the difference between say an Instagram follower and someone in your community.
How do I start a community?
You may as well be asking me how to put a man on the moon, David!
I know starting a community is not easy, but it is worth it.
Here are some necessary steps to get you started in the right direction.
- Identify who your community will serve
- Create a mission for your community
- Decide where to build your community
From there, the best place to start is by inviting all of your customers and then building the rest organically.
Remember, this should be a community, not an audience. People should be finding this community through referrals or promotion on your website.
If you want to know every detail about starting and running a community, this is just for you.
Network your a$$ off
Listen, I am not sure if anyone likes small talk, but for the sake of your business, this is a must. You know the old saying, "it's not what you know; it is who you know."
This principle still holds while running a business.
You never know when you need that referral or ask a person to make an introduction.
Building trust either happens face-to-face, or it happens over the internet.
If you are not creating They Ask, You Answer content on your website to build trust with potential buyers, you will have to do it the old school way.
Networking over the years has changed, and now living in a COVID-19 world (and hopefully a post-COVID world shortly), face-to-face networking is probably going to change even further.
Now online networking is going to be crucial to growing your business, but let’s look at both.
Local, in-person networking
If you live in a small town, this might be something you are already really good with. Maybe you even went to high school or are friends with all the other local business owners.
But if you live in a big city as I do, there is always someone new to meet and a connection to be made.
Here at IMPACT, we love our local Better Business Bureau. This is a great place to meet other business owners and just get your name out there in the community. If you are looking for a group to get connected to, here are ten that might just be for you.
Social media networking
Nothing like sliding into the DMs to only be rejected, but you have to give it a shot, even professionally!
With both in-person networking and social media networking, you cannot be afraid to break the ice. It's okay if it is awkward at first, but it has to be done.
Find 20 people on LinkedIn that are in your industry and just connect with them. From there, build a relationship, send resources that are going to help them.
Be a giver!
Yes, a giver.
Not a taker.
Give content, resources, and anything your network needs. One day, when you need that referral or help grow your business, your network will be there to support you.
The best way to drive traffic to your website is by creating content that users can find while searching on Google, also known as organic growth.
If your company is not a fit for They Ask, You Answer, however, organic growth will be hard as you’re not targeting the questions people are actively searching.
A good supplement could be paid advertising — but this isn’t easy.
If paid advertising is done wrong, it can end up being costly and very frustrating.
That is why it is highly essential to ensure you have the right strategy in place and that your website is set up for conversions before driving paid traffic to it.
Think about it, you would not invite someone over to your house if you did not have furniture
The same is true for paid ads. You should not drive paid traffic to your website if it is not ready to have people on it.
Now, if your website is ready, and has content that people are going to have value in, consider paying for ads. But until then, follow this guide from Google to get your website ready for paid advertising.
How can I start?
I would highly recommend using a service like Wordstream, and they will help get your ads set up and train you on how to manage your ads account.
In the meantime, get Google Analytics, Tag manager, and the Meta pixel on your website ASAP. This will start collecting data that way, you can make the best ad decisions from day one.
In terms of budget, spending anything less than $5,000 a month on ads will be a waste of time and effort. We have realized that with a small budget, there is not enough data to drive the success required to justify the spending.
Overall, $5,000 per month should be the least amount you spend per month.
Even though you believe your company is not an excellent fit for They Ask You Answer, I would encourage you to see if it is.
When someone works with your company, are they doing it because your company is their only option or are they working with you because they trust you?
We have found that there is a way to make They Ask, You Answer work in almost every industry, but it is the time commitment that’s the real problem.
If your company is 100% sure it is not a fit for They Ask, You Answer, then start with the items above and always return to one thing that drives success in all business: Building trust with your buyer.
If it’s not, then do not do it.
Because trust is not about your bottom line, it is about doing right by your customer.
Wondering where to begin?