Frequently Asked Questions…The idea that a whole page of questions should become the ‘go to’ page for marketers-playing-copywriter raises many questions in my mind.
What exactly are FAQs? Why would you list them all together? Why not provide help at the right places? If these questions are so frequently asked, why aren’t they answered on the home page?
Sadly, I think most FAQ pages are a dumping ground for content that no one in the marketing department thinks is exciting. I believe that FAQ pages are where lazy content managers put content they can’t find a better place for.
What do most FAQs consist of?
- What are your hours?
- What is your returns policy?
- Where are you located?
These should never have to be questions!
– Your hours should be on every page. No one should be able to miss them.
– Your returns policy should be prominently linked from ordering pages.
– Your address (postal) location should be on every page and a map with driving directions (if applicable) on your contact page.
My ideal FAQs page
In the copywriting services we provide, I make a distinction between FAQs and Help content. If you think people might ask about your checkout procedures, shipping or returns, put all of those answers in a friendly ‘Help’ section on your checkout area. Even better would be to include contextual help at each point in the purchase cycle.
You’ve probably seen the little question mark (?) next to form fields. That’s contextual help.
I see FAQs as a way of answering the doubts in the mind of your audience; doubts that might cause them NOT to buy.
For example, on a legal website I read recently, the page content focussed on why you would want to make a legal will. The page had the usual information on it: security for loved ones, your wishes expressed, etc. The Frequently Asked Questions About Wills page did not repeat this copywriting at all.
The FAQ page focussed on answering the lingering questions in the minds of the audience: what if I need to change my will? What if I have another child? What happens if my spouse and I split up?
They reassured the reader that other people have these questions too (they are frequently asked) and they provided a way of counselling the potential client – just like a real solicitor would. That’s great copywriting.
Coming next in the series: Copywriting FAQs Part 2 – How to write great questions