Like I previously mentioned, question and answer sites can be an overlooked marketing tool. If you haven’t considered using them, I highly recommend you explore it as a new marketing avenue.
I’ve used sites like Quora, Clarity, and many others for years – and have attracted a good number of consulting clients.
When using Q&A sites, it is important to remember some best practices that I’ve discovered. Here is what I’ve learned and has treated me well.
How to Use Q&A Sites to Grow Your Business
- Be helpful, not salesy. This one is somewhat platform-dependent. Some platforms, like Clarity, are both a question and answer forum and a booking tool for subject matter experts. Because of this, adding a call to action (“Feel free to book a call with me” for example) is acceptable. Whereas forums like Quora is for information sharing with no sales aspect. In fact, pitching your services or including calls to action are against their terms of service. If you are incorporating Q&A sites into your marketing strategy, make sure you understand both the terms of service and the community culture.
- Give Clear Advice. Over the years, I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of answers to questions on these sites. It becomes clear when marketers are using copy-and-paste a little too eagerly and not actually answering the question. When responding the someone’s question, make sure you are addressing the question they asked, rather than trying to speed through to build up your exposure numbers.
- Establish Credibility. Most platforms have an area for experts to list their credibility. But this is often limited to a low number of characters that cannot accurately reflect your knowledge or experience. I like including credibility-building statements in my answers (but mindful of not being salesy). For example, “I’ve helped business owners with their websites for nearly 20 years, a couple mistakes I’ve seen are ….”
A statement like this builds credibility without the unsolicited sales pitch.
- Stay in Your Niche. For exposure purposes, it makes sense to write answers in a lot of categories. This is the “Wide but Shallow” approach. I prefer a “Deep and Narrow” approach, where I spend most of my time in my expertise – digital marketing, social media, online sales, etc. If I were to venture over to unrelated topics – dating, religion, or automobiles, for example – I’ve strayed outside of my “lane.” I don’t want to attract prospective clients for those other categories, so I stick with areas that I can be the most help and people who may be interested in my services.
- Be Respectful. This should go without saying, but I am surprised at how many professionals lose their cool in a public forum. Keep in mind, the people who are asking questions on these sites are often entry-level or novice. That is why they are asking questions in a public forum. Don’t belittle them or expect them to understand terminology, concepts, or intricate ideas about your industry. This is where you can step in to help and be an advisor. Additionally, remember you may disagree with the position or advice of another expert. That is okay. You can respectfully disagree – but don’t lose your cool or professionalism.
- Finally – Be Generous. Others may disagree with me on this one, but I’ll argue this to my grave. As an expert, it is okay to be generous and give away your expertise. Again – this comes with balance. I give a lot of information away, but I also charge for advice. When using Q&A sites, you will come out looking like the hero when you are generous with sharing your knowledge. I promise you, your generosity will be rewarded in the form of business back to you. It may not be from the original poster, but could very well come from someone reading your answer who is in the market for your service.
I’ve used Q&A forums for years, it has helped me attract high-quality clients, served as an entry point to my brand, and helped me refine my delivery and advice.
I highly encourage you to consider question and answer sites in your marketing strategy. If you have questions for me about this – ask. 🙂