Part I – They Ask, You Answer: A Very Different Way Of Looking At Business, Marketing, And Trust
Like many books written based upon success, They Ask, You Answer has a solid foundation in failure. Author Marcus Sheridan went from an almost-out-of-business “pool guy,” to a world-traveling guru of content marketing. He did this by using content marketing to turn his struggling company into the internet’s most trusted authority site on fiberglass pools.
Sheridan points out that the line between sales and marketing has moved. In other words, this blurry line requires businesses to understand the role of marketing. Marketing builds trust with the consumer by answering the tough questions that consumers want answered before they encounter a salesperson. Then, the organization that has the best answers will stand strong in front of today’s consumer.
So what should organizations write about to draw the attention of prospective buyers? The five subjects are Pricing and Costs, Problems, Versus and Comparisons, Reviews, and Best in Class.
The main concern is chasing away a customer before a salesperson can qualify them being at the top of the list. Using case studies, Sheridan shows consumers will be lost to competitors when answers cannot be found on the company websites.
Sheridan’s view on the blurring line between marketing and sales is something that I’ve experienced in real estate sales. This is the foundation of the book that I have written. I believe he does an excellent job of building his case for content marketing in this book.
Part II – The Impact Of They Ask, You Answer On Sales Teams
In They Ask, You Answer, Sheridan explains the impact of content marketing on sales teams. Properly executed, it increases trust in the brand which increases customer conversion rates. Increased conversion rates will lead to more business and increased personal time with friends and family. All of this while increasing profitability for the organization.
My favorite section of the book is the section where Sheridan defines and shares examples of assignment selling. He defines this as the intentional use of information that a company has created via text, video, or audio that is educational about its products or services for the purpose of resolving the major concerns of the prospective buyer before a sales appointment is conducted. This alone will open the eyes of even the most skeptic reader.
Part III – Implementation And Making They Ask, You Answer A Culture
Implementing a powerful content marketing program is not just a marketing initiative. It must be part of cultural evolution for the entire company. Experts must produce the content. Above all, the best experts at what a company sells or provides are the very employees of the organization.
Content should be created by employees and used by employees. The marketing team ensures that proper SEO techniques are used to enhance the reach of the content. The salesforce will reference the content in their presentations, emails, texts, video, and communications with buyers and customers. The service department will reinforce their communications with customers with references to the best content related to the product or service being provided.
Content marketing is the way of doing business and interacting with the consumer. This interaction is based upon the consumer’s desire to be better educated before, during, and after the transaction. Sheridan cites examples of companies that have undergone the transformation to digital marketing with content and videos. In addition, he also highlights how it has greatly improved sales and profitability once the entire organization has bought in.
Part IV – Your Questions Answered
Lastly, the end of the book answers the questions and skepticism that Sheridan has faced in regards to content marketing foundation. After blogging for years, writing the book, and numerous speaking engagements, Sherman is an expert on the topic. He has heard numerous questions, so he lists the most common ones to aid the reader in making the move to a content marketing mindset.
They Ask, You Answer: Your New Favorite Book
I strongly recommend this book be added to your library. Sheridan tells great stories and shares examples that are easy to understand. You will want this book as you continue your journey towards digital marketing for your organization or blog,
A Great Read for Success
When he started making bold moves in the swimming pool industry, his competition either did not notice, or they laughed. Now, Sheridan’s swimming pool company ranks in the top four for most of the keywords a fiberglass swimming pool company wants to control. Additionally, his business is moving towards manufacturing their own pools since his website is so dominant. In conclusion, if you want to understand how to effectively introduce content marketing to your business plan, this is an excellent read.