According to the American Association of Marketing, marketing is “the activity of, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”.
A definition on Hubspot says, “Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal customers’ interests.”
From these definitions, you recognize that marketing is all about the customer, and creating an experience that demonstrates what your product or service is delivering, how it’s performing that task, and why the end-user should care.
Stop for a second and consider the numerous encounters a day you have with marketers: maybe while scrolling through Facebook, or while reading the newspaper, or when looking through your email. Can you confidently say that these daily occurrences are bringing you value as a customer, or does it more often feel forced and unasked for?
These unemotional and simply transactional occurrences are because marketers are straying away from asking themselves why they are performing these actions, and simply doing them because of what the action successfully measures (for example, an impersonal ad that has a high click-through-rate).
KPIs are important, but they can also support a marketing effort that is striving to create real value with a message that people can support.
So how can we move forward as marketers that focus on delivering results for our company, yet also serve our customers in a way that makes both sides feel appreciated?
The answer is helpful marketing.
What is helpful marketing?
At Q-Answers, we look to make marketing an act of helpfulness by creating value in people’s lives without interrupting them.
Participating in helpful marketing is about understanding human behavior. To get in this mindset it’s best to put yourself in the shoes of the customer (which isn’t too difficult because you are a consumer throughout much of your life). How do you want to be approached online and through other forms of media? How do you want to feel when getting marketed to?
Helpful marketing creates an experience for the end-user by contributing value that’s on-demand and what the customer sets out to gain knowledge around.
A customer should be approached by a marketer like a friend or colleague that asks, “How can I help you today?”
Why do we spend so much time, money, and effort creating marketing campaigns that we think will provide incentives for the customer? Instead, we should be interacting directly with our end-user by creating content around the questions and needs they are asking about.
Marketing in this way ultimately demonstrates to the user that you care about them – you are empathizing with them. Additionally, it places the customer and the marketers on a level field. Be natural, and don’t attempt to lure a user into something they aren’t searching to be sold about.
What is question marketing, and why is it a great way to practice helpful marketing?
Question marketing focuses on delivering valuable content directly to the pain point questions a customer has about a business’ operations from the top to bottom of the sales funnel. Answering these questions most importantly instills a sense of trust and loyalty for a business. It provides the consumer with the proper information to move forward in their buying decision process.
Take this question on Quora for example.
The individual asks, “How safe is PayPal?”. It’s a simple question with only four words, but the potential impact is quite substantial.
If you look at our Google Chrome extension, Q-Stats, on the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see that this question has been viewed over 65,000 times and since April of 2015, still receives an average of 960 views per month.
Additionally, the question only has 10 answers, and the first answer shown doesn’t exude a sense of confidence in the eyes of a potential customer. Not having a thoughtful answer from a stakeholder that represents PayPal simply puts a damper on their brand identity.
Weary reviews on an important pain point question that discusses matters of product’s safety can very well deter a customer from using that product. Customers are looking at these answers while in the information search and evaluation of alternatives stage of the buying process.
It’s critical that marketers perform helpful marketing at such a foundational step in the customer journey because it properly informs the user with relevant and useful information that allows them to make better decisions. By doing so, PayPal demonstrates their credibility with thoughtful answers that
- Proves their safety protocols
- Assures the customer they aren’t trying to hide any information
This is essentially what question marketing looks to achieve.
We perform question marketing because it’s helpful marketing, and helpful marketing is sustainable and productive for society.
By utilizing these marketing tactics we are creating an informed online experience. We are building a precedent to combat information asymmetry, where one stakeholder (in this case the business) knows the same information as the other stakeholder (the customer).
Most importantly, we as marketers are performing question marketing at the request of the customer! They are the ones asking the question – the marketer doesn’t even have to create the opportunity. We are simply marketing to the customer’s needs by being a useful resource at a critical stage in their journey.
Where can you begin practicing question marketing?
*Disclaimer: We will be promoting our own product for the purpose of promoting helpful marketing.
- Answer the questions yourself. If you want to learn how to write amazing Quora answers, check out our 6 tips on writing an awesome question on Quora, written by one of our expert Quora content writers.
- Try our Google Chrome extension, Q-Stats, to both find amazing question opportunities and the ability to receive writing assistance from our Quora content experts.
Getting started with Q-Stats
- Make sure you download Q-Stats from the Google Chrome Store.
- Open up Quora, and use our Opportunity Ranking tool to find an amazing question that you can bring tremendous value towards.
- If you’d like one of our expert content writers to help you answer the question, press the “Answer this for me” button, which will lead you through a short funnel to personalize your question experience.
4. On the first screen, you’ll be asked to provide a short brief of what you want included in your answer, or you can choose to have us create the brief for you. The next screen will simply show an overview of the answer you selected, and some other relevant information surrounding our services.
5. The next screen will ask you to pick the answer level you’d like us to write your answer in. Click on the different options to see what’s included in each.
6. Finally, choose the package of answers you’d like to go with.