How to write great FAQs in 10 steps: a case study with Jack
Get them right and you'll save cost, add oomph to your marketing and drive sales. But get your Frequently Asked Questions wrong and customers will stop trusting them — and you.
One company whose FAQs really stand out is Jack: Business insurance on a first-name basis.
So we've partnered up with Ashley Baxter, the woman behind Jack, to share our top tips for writing awesome FAQs.
In this post, you'll learn:
- Where to start with FAQs if your business is new
- How you can use customer service information to create FAQs
- How to use your FAQs for content marketing
- How to measure your FAQs' performance — and
- Why your FAQs' tone of voice matters.
Where to start with FAQs if your business is new
1. Use search engines to find out what people really want to know
Don't make things up — it's better not to have any FAQs than to have irrelevant ones and damage their effectiveness. Because if people don't learn something interesting, they won't return to them, even if you improve them later on.
Ashley uses Google to research what confuses her audience about insurance: "When I search for something business insurance related, I’ll look at the related searches and go down that rabbit hole. You can find a lot of relevant content from that. This gives me an indication as to what questions people are searching for."
2. Validate your FAQ ideas with keyword research
Don't worry if you're not familiar with SEO and marketing practices: there are lots of free and easy-to-use tools you can use to check what people are searching for. For example, Ashley uses answerthepublic.com to validate what she believes to be common questions: “It provides a visualisation of commonly asked questions relating to whatever keyword you search for. “
How you can use customer service information to create FAQs
3. Add real questions from your customers and prospects
Make time to review emails, calls and chats from your customers at least once a month, and update your FAQs accordingly: "If something is asked more than once, I make a note of it and add it to the FAQs. Improvements ... stem from continuing to speak to customers and researching freelancers’ confusions and questions about insurance."
4. List the most frequent, most recent questions first
OK, this may seem obvious. But lots of FAQ pages out there still list them alphabetically, or add new articles at the bottom of the page. F is for frequently, and visitors are much more likely to trust your competence if they can get the help they need, fast.
Brilliant FAQs: where customer support meets content marketing
5. FAQs: your blog's little sister
Your blog builds trust by showing you know what interests your audience and that you share their values. The same is true for the most useful FAQs. So treat them like mini-blogs and make them part of your content marketing strategy. Consider turning meatier topics into a blog post: "A lot of my target market know nothing about insurance and I have to remember that, then build Jack’s FAQ and content around that. When I notice the same questions popping up, I add them to the FAQ or even create a blog post around them."
Our favourite example of how Jack combines FAQs and blog is the new tool, What insurance does a freelancer need? It literally only takes you seconds to find out what insurance you need. There's also a related blog post to help freelancers looking for protection.
6. Give each question its own URL
Ashley told us: "To be honest, I think few people take the time to read the nitty gritty parts of an insurance site. I don’t blame them!" (Neither do we.) That's why she’s planning improvements to help people find the right content: "I’ll build in search functionality so people can find exactly what they’re looking for. I also think that page is good for SEO."
While a searchable FAQ page is good for SEO, it's even better if each of your articles has its own URL. Because we know that customers tend to google their questions instead of reading through a dedicated website, top to bottom.
Here is an example of what this looks like: At LEGO Consumer Service, one of the projects was to drive more traffic directly to the LEGO® help topics. The following screenshots show how easy it is now to google a specific issue and get the best help in one click:
How to measure your FAQs' performance
7. Check if people ask you about things explained in your FAQs
Are customers praising them or asking follow-up questions? That’s a good sign (you'll never be able to give answers for everyone's specific circumstances.)
If you still get questions you've answered online, try making your FAQs more 'findable' (see above), or changing the wording (see our tips below).
8. How long do people spend on the page — and what do they do next?
Analytics are very important to a web based company such as Jack, so we weren't surprised to find that Ashley's done a bit of number crunching: "For the people that do read the FAQs, Analytics tells me they spend an average of 4+ minutes on the page. Considering there aren’t too many questions, I’m happy with that level of engagement."
It's also worth tracking where your page visitors go to when they leave the FAQs:
- Brilliant: They go on to another FAQ item or your blog, sign up for your news, or make a purchase.
- OK: They contact you with a question.
- Warning sign: They move on to a search engine or a competitor's site.
Why your FAQs' tone of voice matters
9. Use your customers' words to write your FAQs
😍 "Yeah you should consider this cover." 😍
If you build your FAQs on keyword research and customer service info, you're more likely to speak the language of your audience: "The danger of working in an industry for so long is that you forget what it’s like to not understand any of it. The terminology, the process, etc."
Some of Jack's FAQs tackle insurance terminology like ‘errors’, ‘omissions’ and ‘duty of care’ head-on and explain it in a conversational, informal tone. So prospective customers feel confident making an informed decision.
10. Make your FAQs sparkle with some help from a professional
Ashley knew from the start what she wanted Jack to feel like: "I was inspired by https://www.simple.com/. They’re tackling a similar industry to Jack (banking), in an approachable manner and with design at their core. This is the exact direction I wanted Jack to take, but I needed a copywriter to bring that vision together."
Do you struggle to write in the style you want? Not sure your tone of voice permeates what you've written? Many copywriters offer a quick review and some tips for little money.
Or you could ask for some tone of voice training to grow your skills.
If that's something you're interested in, feel free to get in touch.
Ashley Baxter is currently building Jack, business insurance on a first name basis.
With 12 years' experience in insurance and 6 years as a freelance photographer, Ashley bridges the gap between creative and insurer.
Based in Scotland, Ashley likes video games, walking her dog and taking photos.