Episode 111

How Adding Q&A Content to Your Product Detail Pages Can Increase Conversions and Drive Traffic

James Arnold - Answer Base
March 25, 2020
SUBSCRIBE: iTunesStitcher

We’ve all had the following experience.  We’re on a quest for a specific product hoping if will fulfill a very specific need.  So we visit a product page on Amazon or another eCommerce site hoping that this might be the product we’ve been eagerly searching for….But, to our disappointment the product page doesn’t clearly tell us if the product will meet our need or not.  So we don’t buy.  Uh-oh.

Pop quiz.  What can increase customer engagement, improve conversion rates by 2-10x, and drive substantial organic traffic?  Easy - Q&A content.  My guest this week is James Arnold, the Co-Founder of Answer Base a SaaS platform that makes it easy to collect and leverage Q&A and FAQ content.  In this episode we dive into the following:

  • Why Q&A content on product details pages is so powerful
  • Taking a cue from Amazon where and how to use Q&A content on PDPs
  • How to build a Knowledge Based that answers 80%+ of your shoppers questions
  • How to structure your Q&A content to rank well on Google….HINT:  Google LOVES Q&A Content.  And so do shoppers.  
  • How to leverage FAQ pages
  • Plus more!

Connect with James Arnold - Co-Founder at Answerbase.com

Via LinkedIn

Answerbase.com - Answerbase Q&A Software - Add Q&A to Your Website

Via LinkedIn

Via Facebook

Via Twitter

Via YouTube

Mentioned in this episode:

RVupgrades

Why We Buy” Book by Paco Underhill - Amazon

eCommerce Evolution - Episode 107 - Anmol Oberoi

ePestSupply

Episode Transcript

Brett:

Well hello and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. Today we are talking about answering your shoppers questions through the use of Q & A content, FAQ pages. We're talking about how to use that specific content to increase conversions and even increase traffic. This is going to be extremely useful, practical information you can use to grow your store.

Brett:

Hey, Brett Curry here. Before we dive into today's topic, I want to talk quickly about YouTube ads.

Brett:

People ask me all the time, what makes for a great YouTube ad? And it's true, the ad is the hardest part for getting YouTube to work. Now, I love the campaign structure. I love audience targeting, and I love tinkering with bids and using the smart bid algorithm, and I even like budget management. I like all that behind the scenes stuff, but I've seen it time and time again where the exact same campaign structure just limps along with a mediocre video. But you get the right video with the right message that resonates with people, and that same campaign structure just takes off. It scales. And so over the last couple of years, my team and I, we've been collecting good YouTube ads. We've been watching, we've been paying attention and looking at our own clients, looking at the numbers, finding what are ads that resonate and work on YouTube. And so we started building this little guide, this little guide that we use internally.

Brett:

And we started categorizing ads and giving them fun names like The Manifesto and the UGC Mashup and the Have It All. And so we started kind of breaking down what elements in these videos make them work. And so I was speaking at a recent event, and I just happened to mention that this resource existed, and people sort of clamored for it. Like everyone's like, "Hey, I want to see the guide. I want to see that resource. I want to see all these successful ads." And so that's what we've done. We put together this resource, kind of first time ever, going to share it with a broader audience. It's free. So check it out and get our list of winning YouTube ad formulas with lots of examples. Let this be your inspiration for your next killer YouTube ad.

Brett:

So this is a free resource. We'll link to it in the show notes to this show, but you can also go to OMGcommerce.com, click on resources and then guides, and it's the YouTube Ad Templates and Guide. Check it out and I hope it inspires your next killer YouTube ad campaign. And now back to the show.

Brett:

I'm delighted to welcome to the show my guest today, he's the cofounder of Answerbase. Answerbase was started in 2007 and my guest Mr. James Arnold has been helping run the company since that time. He now works with all their enterprise clients and he is a wealth of knowledge on this topic. And so with that, James, welcome to the show and thanks for taking the time.

James:

Thanks for having me, Brett. Excited to talk about a Q & A and what it's doing for eCommerce stores.

Brett:

Yeah, absolutely. You guys have built a really phenomenal solution here, a great platform and tool. And we'll, we'll get into that later in the show. Want to talk about some of the hows and whys behind Q & A content and FAQ content because I think there's something here that likely a lot of the listeners are potentially either missing out on or not fully leveraging. And so we're going to go deep on a couple topics. We'll talk about some specific client case studies as well, but walk me through Q & A content. What is Q & A content and why is it so important to include on your website? And we'll talk about kind of the how and where and things like that in a minute. But first, what is it and why is it so important?

James:

So, question and answer content, when we refer to that, is about other questions being asked about products that eCommerce merchants are selling and the answers that best address those issues and problems. So I'm sure many people, or most people, have seen it on Amazon's product pages, how they have questions and answers around products. So yeah, but it's really important to provide that content, to provide that engagement, and really just solving the problems for potential customers that are leading up to a purchase, whether that be really high in the funnel or really low in the funnel towards the conversion.

Brett:

Yeah, it's really interesting because sometimes what's listed in the bullet points, what's listed in the product description, what's in the specs of a product, maybe that doesn't quite answer a question or maybe it leaves a little bit of ambiguity out there. But a lot of times if you look at, and Amazon's a perfect example of this, you look at that Q & A content, a lot of times the question that's right there at the top, or maybe it's second or third, is the question you're asking about that product. Right? Does it fit this application? Will this work on my skin type? Will this upset my stomach? Things like that, whatever. And that Q & A content sometimes gets right to the heart of the matter and answers the question that someone has when they're looking, and I know it makes a big, big difference.

Brett:

We're going to talk, go into a lot of details as we go here, but I think one of the things to always keep in mind as we're trying to create this great shopping experience for our customers is what would someone ask if they were about to buy this product in the store? What questions might they ask a sales assistant? What questions might they ask whoever's helping them before they buy. Sometimes that can be pretty, pretty useful. Why, other than what I just said, and then maybe I summed it up, but what are the whys behind why this content is so powerful, so useful?

James:

Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, obviously everybody knows that you need to have a really good product description, and that impacts your conversions. But you have different people who have different ways that they prefer to get information. I mean, not everybody wants to read through a few paragraphs of a product description in order to find the answer that they're looking for, which is really the roadblock to a sale. So you'll notice even on Amazon's landing pages, I mean they have, or product pages, they have the ability to ask your question even before you dig into the product specs because they want to make that as easy as possible to hit the nail on the head for that specific customer and what they're looking for. So the amazing thing about the engagement there is that you can actually use that engagement to then identify the most popular questions that are asked and then look to revise their product description from there.

James:

You know, it's funny. So retail stores, I mean they... I went in to buy some furniture the other day and I asked the retailer a question about the product, and you know, very nice a woman, but she didn't have the answer to the question that I wanted. And I had to kind of press a little bit to get a manager. So it took several minutes to get the answer to the question. Not minutes, I mean it was a bit of time.

James:

So there's online content, you have the ability to give the user a great experience all the time. You know what's being asked over and over again. You're going to refine that answer so that it's really serving every single customer well. And once you do it well once, that content is not subject to a bad day or a bad attitude one day, or even just needing to rush to lunch or these other things that sometimes you experience with the retail experience. You have a chance to have a great experience all the time for those customers.

Brett:

Yeah, it's so funny. And I love making the offline comparison just because it's a great visual. I went to Walmart a few weeks ago, needed to get an Apple TV, and we kind of wanted in a hurry, not that we really need it in a hurry, but wanted it. Anyway, so walk in, talk to a lady like, "Hey Apple TVs, where do you keep those?" She's like, "Oh yeah, we don't carry those." Like, "You do." And so we're talking like, "No. No. We don't carry them." So I said, "Okay, where are your Rokus?" Because I knew they would be close. And she's like, "Oh yeah, those are over here." Well, the Apple TVs were right next to it. Anyway, it's one of those things where that's not a helpful experience.

Brett:

I've also had some experiences where you're like, "Hey, how does this product work?" "I don't know how it works, but it's over here. Just go get it." But I think if you think about it, there's some online experiences that are that way too. Right? Or you wouldn't want to come to a clerk and say, "Hey, will this product work for this application?" "I don't know. Here's the manual. Just read it."

Brett:

But that's what we do with our product pages. Right? Someone goes to look at a product with a specific question, a specific need, and rather than getting that answer, we give them the product manual or obviously it's a little shorter, a little better hopefully. But our product descriptions can almost feel like that at times, where I compare it to... One of my best shopping experiences was with a local company that sells high end barbecue grills. And the guy that kind of runs a place, he's become my barbecue Yoda. I talk to him and he always gives me advice, but I can ask him any detail about how to cook something, or will this grill do this for that, and he knows the answer immediately. And he asks the right questions, just a beautiful experience. But-

James:

That's a great point. I mean my same retail experience, and there's been a few of these where you go and you ask a question about the product. Well, the person goes straight to their phone or computer screen and they actually look it up on their own website. So having that content available as self service content, and even can help service the other retail locations that you might be servicing as well. That's, yeah. I mean it's just, it's happening right now.

Brett:

Yeah. It's so valuable. And so you talked a little bit about Amazon, where now you can even ask some questions before you get to the product description. Is that where you're seeing it being effective, where you're posting this ability for someone to ask a question. Where are you often recommending that be placed on the page?

James:

I mean, certainly within the product pages, there's a couple points. So, you want to engage the user early on. So, typically under the product title, you'll see a couple calls to actions. First of all, the number of reviews, and the five star review that it has, or four star or whatever that is. And then typically right under that you want to show how many questions have been asked and then give an easy ability to go ahead and ask that question. So, a little bit further down on the page, you do list out the most popular questions and answer combinations for that product, and then obviously have a very easy way for them to post their new question on the page as well. So, there's a couple of things that can do for you from an SEO standpoint and a conversion optimization standpoint. And then also saving time, so your staff doesn't need to answer the same questions over and over again via email or a contact form or something like that.

Brett:

Yeah, I love that. I love the idea of posting the most frequently asked questions, most popular questions and their corresponding answers, because I think if you look at the way people shop, and I would definitely fall into this category, I don't love asking the question. I don't love getting involved in a chat conversation with an online merchant. But I will definitely scan those questions and see if my question is being answered, and then I'm good to go. And that's the way a lot of people like to shop. Some people like to ask the questions. Some people like to be involved in that dialogue. Most people do not. And so if you have it there, that's great. And so I want to definitely talk about the traffic side of things because that's the G commerce know we're more of a traffic agency, so that side really excites me.

Brett:

But let's talk first about the conversion side. So, what are you often seeing? So now you've got the ability for someone to ask the question. You're also posting the most frequent questions and their corresponding answers. What are you seeing that do to conversion rates?

James:

Sure. So, there's a couple things that are going on there. So a customer's engaging, you don't necessarily need to post a new question to pose your question. So when they pose the questions, you can auto suggest results that are already available. So they don't need to wait for an answer, they can get the answer immediately. So we see about up to 80% of the questions that are posed through the ask question field are addressed automatically. So that's existing content that's addressing the answers immediately without any new engagements from the eCommerce merchants.

Brett:

Great. James, what percentage did you say? What percentage did you say were answering?

James:

80%, up to 80%.

Brett:

Great. Great. Awesome.

James:

So that's one touch point. For questions that are answered, we actually have another case study on our site where, RVupgrades.com, and they see 75% of the questions that are answered through Answerbase convert into a sale. So there's been studies in the past-

Brett:

Just to clarify real quickly. First of all, what was the merchant again?

James:

RV Upgrades.

Brett:

And what do they sell?

James:

RV accessories.

Brett:

RV.

James:

Anything you want for a recreational vehicle.

Brett:

I heard Harvey for some reason.

James:

Oh. Okay. No. RV-

Brett:

RV, got it, recreational vehicles. Fantastic. Totally makes sense.

James:

Yeah. Yeah. Think motor homes.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So someone actually poses the question and whether that's answered in the 80% that are answered through the auto suggest or whether someone actually has to answer it. What you're saying is 75% of the people that ask a question and get it answered, they convert. Is that what you're saying?

James:

Convert to a sale. Correct.

Brett:

Wow. So, I love the psychology behind why people buy and what leads to purchase and things like that. I'm sure there's several things going on here. One, just the value of getting a question answered is super important. But I know I've seen studies here, there's a great book that I've referenced before called Why We Buy by Paco Underhill and he talks about the physical store shopping experience. But there's something to be said about once you start engaging, if you engage with a salesperson, you're more likely to purchase, start engaging with the website, you're more likely to purchase.

Brett:

I even remember reading some material from people that were in the catalog business from back in the day where they said if you can just get someone to start even clicking, filling out a check box on the order form, if you just get them started, they'll start ordering. It's like just getting them to take an action. I think there's some psychology there as well, just getting them to take action. But are you seeing that fairly consistently where people that interact and ask a question, they're much more likely to convert?

James:

We're seeing a lot of conversions through the Q & A activity. We track who touches Q & A. We're tracking multiple things there as far as who's asking the questions, obviously, who's looking at the existing content, and it's just a significant amount of conversions coming through from that engagement. So yeah, depending on the size of the site and how many current page views they have, I mean that'll determine how many people are posing questions or asking questions, and then what that flow looks like. But yeah, we've seen a very healthy... Our customers, we look it to give them multiples on their investment that they invest into Answerbase, and we've seen that in spades.

Brett:

Great. Great. That's awesome. Let's talk a little bit, and again we'll get to the traffic side of the equation in a minute, but let's talk about FAQ pages. We're talking right now about putting FAQs and answers, question and answers, on a product detail page. What about FAQ pages? I know we got some considerations there from schema markup and a variety of other things, but talk to me about FAQ pages and how those work.

James:

Yeah, they're really powerful. You can dynamically build these pages, and like you said, I mean Google and other search engines recognize the schema markup for certain types of content. So you can break that down into the microdata to let them know what's a question, what's an answer, et cetera. And so we can manage this in a couple of different ways for our customers. So, if they have more short form answers, maybe less than 250 words for the answer, you can break that down into a really high quality, most popular frequently asked questions and have that serve you very well, and even getting traffic on its own and serving the customer well through that.

James:

And then for the longer form content, we actually turn those into landing pages of their own that are indexable, and their schema markup, if you have community features enabled for QA page, which is specific to that. So Google and other search engines recognize what's there too. So, if you have an approach where you know what you're going to be servicing on your product page, you know what makes sense for an FAQ page, you want to still engage the customer.

James:

I mean FAQs, nobody really wants to read through 30 questions to try to find their question. So to make that easily searchable, easily browsable, is very important. I mean they're important but it needs to be done well in order to really service the customer well.

Brett:

100% makes sense. And you know what's really interesting about... so we could maybe transition here to the traffic side a little bit, but as we look at how people are searching differently on search engines, there is an increase in voice search. And so quick, quick plug, episode 107 I interview Ann Moll from Emitter and we talk about voice commerce and what's going on there, and voice search and things like that. But as people interact with either a Google home device or even just their mobile phone, or Amazon Alexa or whatever, a lot of the searches being done there are posed more in the form of a question. And so Google especially loves returning that FAQ content if you pose your query like a question.

Brett:

So what are you guys seeing in terms of whether it's the Q & A content on a product detail page or whether it's FAQ page, what are you seeing in terms of traffic and ranking and things like that?

James:

For sure. I mean, we've been in business since 2007, so we have a large, a long amount of time that we've been able to see what Q & A content does and how that gets gobbled up into search and spit out and what the results are there. We have some case studies where we spawn a new landing page for the Q & A threads where it makes sense to and have those indexable. And as the content continues to grow, we've seen year, over year, over year organic traffic grows to those Q & A landing pages through Google. So similar with a markup, you can choose whether you want those to be featured snippets or not, have them be featured snippets. Different merchants have different preferences there with their SEO teams and agencies. But yeah, we have customers where when you search, they'll be in the featured snippets. We've quadrupled the organic traffic for one particular merchant, which we have a case study on, who's Epes Supply. On our site there, you can see that case study. So-

Brett:

What you mean by that is you've taken, prior to using Answerbase and really leveraging this Q & A content and FAQ content, since that time you've quadrupled their traffic that were getting traffic from search engines?

James:

Yeah. So we're responsible for over 75% of their organic traffic now and over 50% of their overall traffic. So that includes the directs and all the other acquisition sources and referrals. So the most interesting thing about that traffic, I mean traffic's great, but it needs to convert for you.

Brett:

Absolutely.

James:

We have seen Google Analytics under the users area, they have a average lifetime value, our customer lifetime value stat, and we're able to track that and have the Q & A content be recognized under its own line item there. So we've seen that the traffic going through the Q & A content, specifically, has an average lifetime value up to two times higher than the normal Google traffic that's been coming in. And what that really speaks to is where these people are who are asking questions, where they are in the customer journey.

James:

A lot of times if they're on the site, or if they're on another eCommerce site and that merchant has not addressed the product question on their site, the first thing they'll do is they'll go up in their Chrome bar, they'll ask the question right there, a Google result will pop up, and if you're in that spot and you can fill that need, you can build that trust because you have the expertise around the product and then a really quick call to action to go ahead and purchase from you to take advantage of that product. So it's a really powerful engine for drawing traffic and we've seen that with many of our customers. And again, since 2007 we've seen uphill's chart, up into the right as far as organic traffic and what Q & A's been able to do.

Brett:

Yeah. In my opinion it's kind of, you can almost look at it as an added bonus. It's a pretty large added bonus. It's really valuable and really enticing. But I think even if you just looked at this subject from purely a conversion optimization standpoint, it's totally worth it. You will see better conversions and then to add to that that hey, your organic traffic can increase and it's going to be really good quality organic traffic. Because what you said totally makes sense. If I type in just a really broad keyword, something like ceramic grill or something, that's one thing. But then if I type can I do this on a ceramic grill, or how hot can I grill, or can I grill and smoke and some of these other things, that really indicates how serious I am.

Brett:

And then like you said, it shows that, some questions show that you're really closer to making a decision. You're further along in your journey, than maybe just a really generic query. And I think the beauty of this is, and we'll talk in a minute about how your tool kind of brings us all together, but you're really trying to focus in on the questions that are most frequently asked. And a lot of times these are buyer questions. Right? These are the questions people are asking before they say yes. So then you can leverage those for people that are asking those questions to Google and they end up at your site. That's pretty awesome.

James:

For sure. Yeah, we look at it as you have the short term benefits of the conversion and the reduction in duplicate questions, so just being able to say cost there on your customer service policy as well as increasing conversions at the same time. And then you have the long term play, which is the building of that content and getting that organic traffic growing and being a new customer acquisition channel for you over time. And what's interesting about that, I mean, if you read many posts about content marketing, what should you be writing about? Many times, if not most times, they'll say, "See what your customers are asking about."

James:

And they tell you to go to your customer service people, go into your ticketing system, see what's the most commonly asked questions and use that as material to create value as far as content goes. So we see this as well. So it naturally happens for the Q & A engagement. But what you can do is you can track that engagement. You can see what is turning into traffic there. You can see what's turning into conversions and then you can use that to guide your content marketing, what has proven to already convert, what's proven to already build traffic at a nice growth trend, and then you can do a deep dive. You can do a deep dive in a video. You can do a deep dive in blog posts, and really you know it's worth your time and effort to dedicate resources towards that topic because it's serving your target audience.

Brett:

I love it. I love it. Well James, let's talk specifically then about Answerbase because I know you guys have built a phenomenal tool, a tool that's used by some really large brands, and challenging brands, and growing brands as well. How does Answerbase work and how do you guys help make this process easy?

James:

We have really easy integration in the product pages. That's where everything starts. We have both APIs and a widget that people can plug in. That will power the calls to actions on the product page as far as being able to ask a question and being able to see the most popular questions per product. Everything starts there because as soon as you, if you have an active store, you're going to see engagement almost immediately from your customers and you can just get that content train moving for you. And then we have a knowledge base and community features. If you want a community, we have it, so that can build alongside and build those landing pages out and get the engagement even from other customers who have purchased the same product, et cetera, in order to build that content out and be able to see that organic traffic growth that we've been discussing there.

James:

So those are really the two main pieces of Answerbase's integration. You have all of the administration tools and moderation tools that you need to manage the content and users, et cetera. But those are really the foundation of what we've built and what brings value to the merchants there.

Brett:

Very cool. And you guys integrate with essentially all the major shopping cart platforms, website platforms. I'm sure you're platform agnostic.

James:

Yeah, we're agnostic. We have, again, we have JavaScript snippets that you can plug in if you don't want to really dig into APIs. We have entire communities that are built off of our API as well for some of our enterprise customers. And all those are available on our business plan. The customers can choose how deep they want to dive in. But it could literally be a half hour install, if not less than that, for some of the platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify. We have one click install and then that gets the engagement going for you, and then you can do whatever you want from there.

Brett:

Awesome. What tips would you give someone on it, if they're just getting started? So if someone's listening to this and they say, "Hey, obviously Amazon's doing this and that makes a lot of sense." Because you guys are talking about these increased conversion rates and traffic and increase and stuff like that, and people really hopefully are getting excited. What are kind of the tips for where you start? What would you tell the merchant listing? What integrations, what features should they use first?

James:

Get the product page working for you. You'll see an immediate impact on conversions there. Again, that's a very quick thing to do, as far as the install, that can be under 10 minutes for some of the platforms that we have integrated into their app stores. So if you have traffic, existing traffic where your users can engage immediately, that's the first step. And then everything spawns from that because you're going to start answering questions. Those answers are going to start being answered automatically, and that's a great place to start.

James:

If you're even a small store, I mean, we've had some customers that have started with nothing and they just had a lot of knowledge about the products that they were going to sell. And so they can import and that's, depending on what they want to do there, but we had one particular customer import I think like a thousad Q & A combinations, really great content that they'd built out. They made that available. Once they imported, it automatically spawns those landing pages and they were seeing a few hundred thousand visitors after a year through that content, just using what's up here in their head in order to just communicate that in a clear way and communicate that in a way that Google really likes with original good content.

Brett:

It's awesome. I love it. I'm checking out the website right now, Answerbase.com. It looks like you have plans starting at $19 a month to get basic features in Answerbase, Q & A platform, and then goes up a little bit from there, but seems very affordable, very approachable, very usable both for small business on up to enterprise. Any comments or thoughts there?

James:

We set the plans up and the pricing in order to ensure that you're getting, our customers are getting a healthy return on their investment, and we can track that and report that to our customers as well. So it should be an easy decision, even within the 30 day trial period for active sites. I mean they should be able to see a return on investment through that. So yeah, I mean our goal is to provide value and build value, and obviously make it be a great decision for any commerce merchant to have on their side.

Brett:

Awesome. Check it out at answerbase.com. James Arnold, ladies and gentlemen. Any resources, tips? Where can people check out some of these case studies you were referring to, and then any closing thoughts, James?

James:

Yeah, just they can go to our site. They can look under customer success and see some of the case studies there. And certainly servicing customers has always been an essential part of converting sales. But customer support content hasn't really been utilized as it needs to be in order to become a customer acquisition source. So just understanding where those overlap and being able to effectively utilize that content can do great things for these merchants.

Brett:

Yeah, absolutely. Love it. Love this topic. Love the benefits here that people can can get under the customer success tab. I see the RV Upgrades case study and many others. So check that out as well. Good stuff. James, really appreciate the time and thanks for coming on and educating us about Q & A content, FAQ pages and all this good stuff.

James:

All right, appreciate it Brett.

Brett:

Yeah, absolutely. So that's a wrap for today. As always, we'd love to get your feedback, any other topic suggestions you have or feedback on the show. We'd love to get that review on iTunes if you feel so inclined. That helps other people discover the show. And with that, until next time, thank you for listening.


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