They Ask, You Answer 2
Welcome back to the Lemonade Stand Book Club blog!
This entry will be a continuation of the last one based on the incredible book They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.
If you liked the last one enough to be here again for this one – first off, thank you! Second, I hope that you can learn as much from this one as the last one. I have a few more concepts from this book to discuss here that we all learned together as a team.
I hope they help you to learn more about marketing your company!
Content is King
The most far reaching and widely discussed concept from this book is that content (good content) will catapult your business more than any other marketing strategy around. Marcus has some great reasons and evidence from his own company to back up why he feels this way.
He has been able to tie millions of dollars in revenue straight back to specific blog articles that he wrote about his company. Millions. Multiple millions.
So how does this work?
Well, not just any blog article that you write or create is going to generate that much revenue. We must apply the concept that he calls “They ask, you answer!” This means that we need to look for the things that customers (or potential customers) are asking about in our specific industries, and then make yourself the expert on those things. Make yourself the only possible solution, because you are the only one around answering the questions about things that people want to know regarding your industry!
For pools, this was mostly about price. People were dying to know how much a pool would cost them! Nobody would tell them without giving them a specific quote. It would take time and energy and all of the feelings of guilt and being trapped that happen when you start talking to a salesperson from a specific company. People just wanted to know without having to talk to someone!
Instead of just accepting that giving out custom quotes was the way the pool industry worked, Marcus decided that he would be the one to answer this burning question for people. He did so by writing a blog article about all of the various factors that could affect the price a customer would end up paying for a pool. I touched on this article in my last post, but it is crazy important, so I’m talking about it again. Since writing that article, he has been able to track over a million dollars in sales coming in from people who found that article.
In every industry, there are things that people want to know but that nobody is providing information on. Be the person who provides the information, and you will see more leads coming in than you ever have before. Answer people’s questions!
The more content you have, the more questions you are answering, the more people that will be able to find you online. Consequently, this means that more and more people will end up selecting your company to buy a product or service from.
It really can be that simple!
One other major point that he makes regarding content – it isn’t just having a blog. Video content is becoming at least as important as written content – if not more important. This trend is not looking like it will slow down anytime soon either. Video content is necessary!
Both types of content, though, are incredibly important and necessary to your business for success. Some people prefer to read and others prefer to watch. It’s important to have both, so that you can get the same information to a much wider audience.
Remember, content is king!
Have a Content Manager
Marcus tells us that we NEED to have a content manager! Well, what’s a content manager?
This is going to be an employee or team member who has one focus. That focus is on creating and managing content for your company. This is how important content really is. The question is brought up “what if we do not have the funds to hire a person for this?” Marcus’ response? Nobody has the luxury of not needing a position like this. It might seem like a sacrifice of capital initially that could be used elsewhere, but this person will be able to grow your business more than whatever other thing you are tempted to spend that capital on. They are a necessity!
He dives into a lot of specifics about this position, but mainly it needs to be a person who can be wholly dedicated to this one job. They shouldn’t be having another job as their main focus and getting around to your content when time is convenient. That’s just another way of saying that it isn’t going to actually happen. You need to free up their time completely to focus on getting your name out there with quality content and answering all of the questions that your potential customers might have.
Change the Industry
The final point that I want to touch on is that of changing your industry entirely.
A few examples of this are included in the book. My personal favorite? Carmax.
Applying the concepts of They Ask, You Answer might mean that you need to completely change the way business is done in your industry. This can seem impossible. You might have thoughts like “well, this is the way it’s always been done, so we just have to do it.” That’s not true though! Doing things differently – doing things better – might just be the step that will rocket your company into space!
So, let’s look at Carmax. Carmax entered the used car industry. This is not the flashiest nor the most fun industry to hop right into. Generally, people do not like used car salespeople. They do not enjoy going to a dealership. They do not enjoy driving around a bunch of cars until they find that might work and then having to haggle on the price and try to stand up for themselves all while feeling like the dealership/salesperson is just trying to get as much money out of them as possible while providing them with the lowest value in a car that they could ever find.
That sounds like an awesome industry to want to be a part of!
The people behind Carmax thought, “why can’t people enjoy buying a used car? What’s the harm in people actually feeling good about this kind of purchase?” They brainstormed all of the things that people don’t like about the used car buying process: pushy salespeople who want top commission (more expensive the car you buy, the higher the commission – best interest of the customer is not important in this case – only the price of the car that they can trick you into buying is), fear of buying a car only to find out that the car has plenty of mechanical issues that you were unaware of, getting ripped off (paying way more than a car is actually worth due to an imbalance of knowledge between the dealership and the customer), etc.
The next step was to address all of these issues. People want to know the dealership employees are going to help them buy the car that is right for them and not just push a more expensive vehicle onto them. “Ok, so how about we don’t pay our salespeople commissions based on the price of the car? A sale is a sale. We only want people to buy what they want to buy.” Check! People don’t want to buy a lemon. “Cool. Let’s implement an intense inspection process so that we only buy the best of the best. Anything that we buy that doesn’t pass our inspection will not be included as part of our inventory. Oh and how about we let potential customers actually see that inspection process and know exactly how it happens and what we’re looking for?” Check! People don’t want to be ripped off. They want to know how much the car is really worth. “Great! Let’s include the Kelly Blue Book value of the car right next to our price as well as the carfax report, so people really know what they’re getting and what it is worth!” Check! People hate negotiating prices. “People hate that? Well why are we still negotiating the prices of used cars? Why is it different than any other product you could find at a store? Let’s institute ‘no-haggling’ prices. What you see online or in the dealership on a price tag is exactly what you will pay. Negotiating with our team members won’t even be an option.” Check, again!
Carmax addressed all of the issues that people had with buying a used car. They were able to do it! When they were starting up, they definitely got hit with the usual phrases when someone is trying to disrupt a market “oh that will never work!” “Good luck trying that out. Our industry is the way it is for a reason. Nobody wants anything different!” “You’ll fail if you do that, and you’ll lose a lot of money!” etc. etc. They decided not to listen to those people and went ahead and started Carmax anyways. Well, we know the rest of the story – Carmax has become the largest used car dealership in the country and has now started setting industry standards that other dealerships are being forced to copy just to keep up. They changed the way that we do business, because it’s what the customers wanted, and the customers certainly proved them right!
I love this example! It’s amazing to me that one company can completely change an entire industry. This is done by examining what a customer really wants and then taking care of those needs. If you can master that, you will always be the company that a customer wants to do business with. You develop trust and loyalty with those customers. It’s truly incredible!
They Ask, You Answer has so many other gems of wisdom and practical business strategies that I wasn’t able to touch on. I could go on and on and on about this book. It is one of my all-time favorites.
Hopefully this has been insightful and you were able to learn something from this amazing book. Definitely encourage you to grab a copy of that one here, or you can reach out to our delightful little team here, and we would love to send you a free copy!