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Mr. Joe Asks, How Questions Impact Digital Marketing

I never liked going to the supermarkets with my mom and dad when I was little. It was a routine chore on every damn weekend, which I couldn’t escape from. My young mind wanted to stay at home and play video games rather than pick milk from the shelf and potatoes from the pile.

The boredom of the entire trip doomed upon me specially when I sat by the window seat in the car while my parents spent the time discussing taxes, work bitches and Mrs. Susan’s tasteless lasagna at last night’s dinner.

Yet in all those loathsome trips, one thing always fascinated me – The billboards on the roads. I would gaze outside the window upon every billboard. It intrigued me how an image and a few words could make so much sense and heavily impact a person.

The words along with images had so much influence on me that I would read every billboard and try to make out the story behind that advertising. The ones that caught my attention the most were the billboards with questions.  It somehow made me obligated to answer whatever the hell was asked in the billboard.

A billboard would only say “Why Not?” with an image of a healthy woman eating farm fresh salad.  Immediately I would form the story for it. The woman is healthy because she is eating fresh salad from a specific farm. She is choosing a lifestyle that is good for her.

And since then I have had this vivid attraction with digital marketing.

Why ask questions in marketing?

It’s true to say that questions have a great impact in marketing. In fact, let me rephrase it. Questions have a great impact in every field, whether it is blogging, teaching, lecturing or advertising.

Your words are like the trunk of a tree. They just stand in one place with the main big idea. Questions however become branches of the tree. They bring actions, opinion, suggestion, comments etc.  and thereby actually help your main idea grow and spread around.

One question will branch out million answers.

So, to understand how questions impact digital marketing, let us first understand “Questions.”

A question is,

“Derived from the Latin root word, quaestio, which means to seek. “

It is interesting to find that inside the word ‘question’ itself is the word ‘quest,’ suggesting that within every question is an adventure, a pursuit, a curiosity which can lead us to a hidden treasure.

Questions Make A Ripple Effect Wherever Asked

Questions have the tendency to ignite an urge into people to respond with their respective answers. When different answers accumulate for one single question, it starts a rapid fire response.

Suppose you are giving a lecture on professionalism in a room full of 500 people. They are all listening to you. Some are yawning too. Some want to know when the “after lecture lunch” will be served. But then, you wrap it up by asking, “Do you think women are less professional than men?”

When a few answers come up, immediately there will be a sizzling hot debate, discussion and strong comments coming from all of the 500 people.

Now, how does a question make ripple effect in digital marketing?

Because everyone is now on social media and everything is connected to it, when a person responds to a question associated with your product, it immediately gets shared on their connected social media. It goes on twitter, facebook and instagram.

This introduces your product to a new audience.

This new audience will further like, rate, comment or share your product. And this starts the ripple effect.

You asked one question on your product and it reaches a million different destinations because people love to respond and share their feedback and opinion.

Try posting a question on your product on twitter and see how many tweets, retweets and comments you will get. Your mind will be blown.

Types of Strategic Questions

Asking right questions in the digital world is equally important as in real life. When you ask the right question, you will be promoting a dialogue that will permit you to make relationships and eventually develop those relationships.

You can use different types of questions to communicate with your audience. Different types of question have different impacts.

A well asked question is a well-played strategy in digital marketing.

To find out, I checked several brands websites and social media pages to see how they are using questions strategy for interaction. Here are all the strategies with examples.

  • Fill in the Gaps:
    Example question: “Your favorite category of our blog post is?”

    People love investing their time in Mind Libs. Ask your audience what they think, is the best way for improvement and to generate some ideas as well.

    Type of Questions on Social Media

  • Survey:
    Example question: “Your favorite thing about our product is?”

    Everyone wants to be heard! Ask your audience to speak up and give feedback about your services and products. The good part of feedback is that you do not have to invest for this functionality to improve your online services or products.

    Types of Questions on Facebook

  • Audience opinion:
    Example question: “Do you like our new product?”

    Ask for your audience’s opinions to show them that their opinions matters, which in turn helps to build trust and devotion, and further strengthens your brand presence and repute.

    Types of Questions on Social Channel

  • Experience:
    Example question: “Which product of ours has helped you the most?”

    Again, this is an important way of keeping your audience on the edge, as they will understand how much their opinion means to you. A happy audience leads to a happy business.

    Type of Questions on Social Network

  • How Can We Help?:
    Example question: “Which product would you like to see next?”

    Such type of questions are useful when you are trying to develop your services and are looking for new ideas from the audience. As you do this, you will know what they want from you and your services.

    Types of Questions on Instagram

  • Attention:
    Example question: ” Are You Ready?”

    An upcoming product launch or the poster of a match screening, this question would generate excitement and curiosity amongst the masses who would impatiently await the product or rush out to buy tickets.

    Types of questions on Twitter

  • Feedback:
    Example question: “How likely will you visit us again?”

    This helps you gauge the customer’s response to your product and the extent to which they enjoy it. Restaurants and online shopping sites can use these questions to unveil their true customers.

    Types of questions on Social website

Overall, you need to ask open-ended and simple questions to keep your audience focused and engaged.

Successful Ad Campaigns | Learn from the best:

California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk?

This is an American advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of cow’s milk. According to reports this campaign brought a remarkable increase of 7% in Milk sales in merely a year. The advertisement’s impact permeated across borders and was not only able to strengthen brand loyalty but was also able to attract new consumers!

Budweiser: Whassup??

Whassup? (also known as Wazzup) was a commercial campaign for Anheuser-Busch Budweiser beer. The term itself is an unclear version of the phrase “What’s up?”, however it managed to reign the advertising world by becoming a pop-culture catchphrase and setting the comic bar high for other beer/soda companies to emulate in their advertisements.

 ‘fun, anyone?’ Ad campaign from Playstation2

Sony Computer Entertainment NZ, unveiled the “Mountain” television commercial as …fun, anyone? New PlayStation®2 Brand Campaign. The Ad campaign came with the strategy to diversify the consumer base and the appeal of PlayStation 2 to a wider audience as a social, accessible and fun form of entertainment. PlayStation’s marketing strategy- in this case ‘Curiosity’ had quite a turn out. It remained one of the most successful, effective marketing campaigns of all time.

Playstation Mountain from Jordi Bares on Vimeo.

Have you driven a Ford lately?

The slogan ‘Have you Driven a Ford, Lately?’ wasn’t loud or flashy, however it did succeed in sticking in the minds of. The 1982 jingle was attractive, and believe it or not, the montage of Ford’s full line taking tight turns and pulling cargo was innovative for its time. Modern car commercials haven’t strayed far from this format, a testament to the success of Ford’s slogan and campaign.

Are you using the right words?

It is funny, isn’t it?

I just asked a question, to help you understand questions.

The trick to asking effective questions is to use the right words. Researchers have long known that the way a question is asked can influence underlying psychological processes, and, consequently, can affect the response to the question.

A trick to asking questions would be to ask only that question that prompts your target to give only the response that you had intended.

For Example:

A teaching institute website may advertise:

” Do you want to learn more? ” – Incorrect

” Wouldn’t you like to achieve Excellence?” –  Correct

A Bank website may advertise:

“Would you like to upgrade to PREMIUM?” – INCORRECT

“Want to avail more amazing discounts, savings and what not? ” – CORRECT

A consultant medical practitioner website may advertise:

“Would you like to have a consultation service? ” – INCORRECT

“Do you want a healthy life for you & your Family?” – CORRECT

The thing common in all the incorrect questions is that they all are vague and allow the reader to reasonably ponder upon them and say “no”.

An effective question would be one that compels the readers to say “yes, yes and YES”.

All the correct questions are leading questions that provides the reader with the possibility of a favorable outcome, for example: savings, healthy life etc. and then question the need for it. Thus, making the customers wonder:

“Why wouldn’t I want this?” instead of “Why should I get this?”

This transition in consumer mentality allows very little room for the consumer to say “no” to a question or generate a negative response, thus attracting him towards the product.

Use your questions wisely

It is important to ensure that you don’t go overboard with the questions like an annoying TV reporter and instead, ask the right questions at the right time. Questions may not be an effective marketing strategy in the following situations:

  • When you have a significantly competitive market you ought to use questions in order to develop a niche. However when your product is an easy sell questions may not be necessary. For example, in the summers you may not have to use questions to sell an Air Conditioner, however in the winters you would need to adopt this strategy to create a new selling point such as “Are you tired of waiting in long lines?”
  • Questions can make you look untrustworthy or your product questionable when you have certain negative relation to the market. For example, a dealer of used goods when asks too many questions may come across as dishonest or aggressive and may cause the loss of credibility in their products

Quick tips to nail your questions

  • Be Precise: Your message should be covered in one sentence; longer sentences or too many questions tend to put off the readers right away.
  • Know your message: Your question should not only capture attention but also be able to convey your message. Your question should provide enough to help the audience to reach a particular conclusion about your product.
  • Know your target audience: Your question must be mindful of the features of your target audience i.e. lifestyle, income etc. and be phrased in a way which would be unique to these features so the audience can respond/react appropriately.
  • Tone: Keeping a friendly and engaging tone will always do the trick. This may vary depending on the age of the audience or the nature of the product. For example, a toy would require a more playful tone whereas a medicine may require a serious tone.
  • Refrain from Complex Questions: The question should be simple and easy to understand. When the question is too complex and the audience has to think about the answer they may get distracted and lose interest.

Marketing Magazine shared data that showed 70% of 18-24 year olds in the U.K. stated that brands that fail to personalize marketing would lose them as customers. This personalization comes because of interacting with your customers. In the digital world of advertising, with the internet saturated with a variety of products, the key to personalize your products and make them stand out is to ask effective questions. This gets your audience curious about your brand and persuades them into visiting or getting involved with the marketed good. The trick is to ask the right question at the right time to the right audience and Bam! Your question will be just enough to garner the attention you need.

Are you still struggling to come up with the right questions? Do you have any queries? Feel free to contact us at any time to get you out of this ques-ception!

Kumail Hemani

Kumail Hemani is an SEO Consultant and a full-time SEO Manager at a well reputed SEO Agency. He is a passionate blogger and loves content marketing. He also helps businesses increase search and online visibility through online media. You can read more about him HERE or get in touch with him on Twitter or Google+

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