If I had to recommend one book to anyone running a business, it would be They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.
It’s not your typical business book. There are no complicated theories or convoluted processes to get your head around. It’s merely the story of how Sheridan transformed the fortunes of River Pools and Spas, his swimming pool business, and saved it from the verge of collapse during the financial crash of 2008.
His method was ridiculously simple. He answered his clients’ questions, in the form of articles or videos that he placed on his website, and by doing so began to generate leads for his business.
After a few months, and dozens of articles later, he’s turned his company’s fortunes around. Before long, his website became The Go-To Place for Americans thinking about buying and installing a new swimming pool.
What The FAQ?
Of course, the principle of answering customer questions is not unique to Sheridan, as anyone who has ever written a Frequently Asked Questions list (or FAQ) will tell you.
But what Sheridan stumbled upon was the fact that answering question after question in great depth turned him into an authority about swimming pools. For anyone thinking of taking the plunge and investing thousands on a pool, the River Pools and Spas website became a trusted resource where you could do as much research as you wanted.
Many of these potential buyers found their way on to Sheridan’s mailing list. Once there, he sent them more helpful content until they were ready to place an order.
And when that time came, which company was in pole position to make the sale? River Pools and Spas.
So, what does this have to do with my three little PDFs?
The PDFs in question were FAQ documents. I asked one of my clients, a team of architectural designers, to answer as many of their customers’ frequently asked questions as they could remember. Then I sprinkled a little graphic design magic over them and turned them into three branded PDFs.
After that, I created three dedicated sales pages on their web site for the company’s services, and we included a downloadable PDF on each page. If readers wanted a copy, they’d have to sign-up to my client’s email list.
Once on the mailing list, subscribers received an email newsletter every month containing more useful content, which kept my client’s business at the forefront of their thinking and established them as an authority in their field.
I always tell my clients that they must measure the results of any marketing activity. Otherwise, they will never know if they are getting value for money.
My client’s service is not something they can deliver instantly – it sometimes takes a period of months to complete. So, we decided to measure the results after 15 months had passed, to give us enough data for it to be meaningful.
I thought the results were good…
We had 95 signups during the period (mostly organically, we only advertised one of the services right at the start). Of those signups, 15 went on to become paying customers, with a further seven in the pipeline. This meant a 15.7% conversion rate, and the revenue generated for my client from these leads was just short of £41k.
…then they got even better
When I discussed the results with my client she told me the final revenue figure would be much higher. Their service is usually split into two phases, and this revenue was just for phase one.
She expected most of these customers would spend as much again, if not more, on phase two. Her predicted final revenue total from these customers would be at least £80k.
And it’s not over yet – the PDFs are still there now, generating leads. They’ll continue to earn even more money in the future.
And all because we answered a few client questions.
If you run a creative business and you need help with lead generation and building your reputation, let’s talk. Give me a call on 01530 588 110.