FAQs as “Lucky Bags”… how not to improve the marketing power of your website

Increasing the Marketing Power of Higher Education Websites

Do you rely on FAQ pages on your website to answer the most “frequently asked questions” about your university or an office within it?

And if you do, are these really, truly the most frequently asked questions?

And if the first questions people see on an FAQ page really are asked frequently, why are those not prominent in the navigation? A true FAQ is a “top task” that deserves a prominent place in the navigation scheme of your site.

When I review websites, two FAQS that often appear at the top of an admissions FAQ page tell me that people are not approaching this from a marketing perspective: “When were you founded?” and “What is your mission?” are questions that I’d bet real money are seldom heard by admissions reps at recruitment events.

Avoid “lucky bag” Solutions

Yesterday my Customer Carewords partners Gerry McGovern and Gord Hopkins presented a webinar on “Web Customer Support Best Practice.” That’s when I heard Gerry use a phrase that was new to me, “lucky bag,” as an apt description of a person’s probability of finding the FAQ item of interest when they arrive at most FAQ pages.

Rather than really answering frequent questions, most FAQ pages reflect internal political decisions similar to those that create “Quick Links” or are used as another form of public relations to present what an organization would like people to read about itself. Even when that’s not the case, FAQs often grow in length in an unrealistic attempt to include far too many questions that might be asked sometime by somebody, regardless of frequency.

Best to Dump FAQ Pages

In response to a question at the end of the webinar, Gord gave the answer that fits most often: “It is usually better to dump them” than to keep FAQs on a site and risk frustrating visitors who will not find what they need to find on the site.

If you truly know that something is frequently asked about, consider it a top task and change your navigation to reflect the importance it has. The marketing power of your website will improve as a results.

Download the Webinar

If you missed the webinar, you can download the slides and a recording of the wise words at http://www.customercarewords.com/webinar-previous.html

That’s all for now 

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