We’re big believers in the power of a great FAQ section on a B2B website — not just for customer support but for marketing. So here’s our FAQ on FAQs:
What’s an FAQ?
For some, it’s a list of questions that people really do ask a lot. For others, it’s more like a list of questions you wish were frequently asked.
What’s it good for?
An FAQ does a few things that other forms of communication don’t do quite as well:
1) Let you tell your story in an informal, conversational way from the user’s perspective
2) Address some common objections – without having to bring them up in the main ‘product’ copy
3) Provide a level of customer support – helping customers use your products and helping prospects make the right decisions
Who should use them?
Every website can justify an FAQ section but not every site needs one. We like FAQs for companies that are introducing a new category or new application because these tend to generate lots of questions about where the new thing fits into people’s lives. We did one for PressRun because they were pioneering a way to turn print magazines into tablet apps. (Then they got bought by Quark so I can’t even link to it).
What makes a good FAQ?
I’m glad you asked that. A good FAQ is clear, well-organised, gives short answers, uses an open, conversational voice and links a lot to helpful content (on your site and — god forbid — elsewhere).
How many questions should I include?
Twelve. Unless you’ve got a really complicated story, then put in as many as you like, organised by topic for easy navigation.
How promotional should I be?
Go ahead and promote, but don’t be crass. The beauty of FAQs is that they feel like a friendly, open, honest view of your business. If you ask stilted questions like, “Why is your widget so popular among IT departments struggling to stay on top of power consumption ?” people will probably figure out that this is not really a list of questions that are frequently asked. It is a brochure in very poor disguise.
Why do so many leading technology brands choose to work with Velocity?
See what I mean?
Can I use my FAQ to pimp some of my content?
Indeed you must. You’ve produced lots of content that’s useful to your target audience. It would be malpractice not to steer people to this content in their hour of need. Again, don’t be crass about it. Make sure the content is relevant to the question.
Can I use my FAQ to bring up sensitive issues I’d rather not flag in the main web copy?
Yep. FAQs can be a really good place to raise and counter a common objection without broadcasting that objection to on your home page. For AppCentral, the enterprise app store folks, we covered issues like, “How is Mobile App Management different from Mobile Device Management?” and “Why can’t we just use the iTunes App Store?”
What if I can’t think of twelve good questions?
It doesn’t matter. Nobody counts.
Well, some people do. So you might as well make a few extra ones up.