Regardless of whether you're creating blog posts, infographics, podcasts, or conducting webinars, at the end of the day, it all boils down to answering your customer's questions. And some of their questions are more common than others. We refer to these as FAQs (frequently asked questions). And banks are overlooking FAQs, making them an untapped opportunity to educate, connect with, and better serve your customers. (Not to mention, the process outlined in this article will also give you a big boost in search engines and make your bank more visible on the web!)
Bring Your Bank’s Staff Into the Conversation
The first step is to gather a comprehensive list of your customer’s most frequently asked questions. This is a great opportunity to engage with your staff in all departments. Whether you sit down and have a conversation with them or send out an e-questionnaire, you want to hear from every department. Learn what kinds of conversations they’re having with customers. What regularly comes up? What are customers confused by? What concerns your customers? From the teller to the loan officer, you will learn what is important to your customers.
If you’d like to go one step further, you could also go directly to Google and start typing in a phrase and seeing what the search bar autocomplete function recommends, as those are typically questions people are asking. You could also use a website such as AnswerThePublic.com and type in a base phrase and see what questions come up through that service.
Next, compile your list of FAQs and put them into categories. You should have an FAQ list for each of your products or services. Think about questions a mortgage customer has when buying their first home. Or, what are the questions somebody has as a business when giving consideration to something as comprehensive as cash management? Think about the questions you hear from your different customer demographics - a millennial likely has different questions than a baby boomer.
Prioritize and Answer
Now that you have your categorized list of FAQs, prioritize them from most important/common to least important/common. Then, start answering! For some questions, you might want to recruit team members in other departments to best answer them.
At this point, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. Answering all these questions thoroughly sure feels like it will take up a lot of time! But, thanks to a helpful technology hack, it doesn’t have to take as long as you’re thinking.
I’d recommend talking out your answers rather than typing them out. It will feel more natural for you and your team to simply answer the questions in the same way they do every day for your customers. You can then take those recordings and have them easily (and cheaply) transcribed with a service like Rev or Temi. Or, you can use the Dictate feature in Word or Voice Typing in a Google Doc - both of which are available for free!
In fact, I “wrote” this article by dictating my thoughts into a recording on my phone, had it transcribed, and then our team edited it. Writing doesn’t come easily or naturally for a lot of us. You can cut down a lot of time and headaches by just talking out your answers, have them transcribed, and then quickly edit them to fit your desired format. Badabing-badaboom!
Ways to Use Your Answers
You now have a lovely and comprehensive list of all of your customers' most burning questions and their answers. Fantastic! What do you do with all this information? This is where the magic of this process really kicks in.
FAQ Section on Your Website (Naturally)
If you don’t have one already (and many banks don’t!) you’ll want to create an FAQ page and/or sections on your website. Depending on your bank, you might just have a single FAQ page in your navigation. And that’s fine. However, you might also consider creating FAQ sections at the bottom of each of your product pages. This makes for a better user experience since visitors will more easily find the answers to their specific questions.
Generally speaking, your answers should be concise. If your user needs more information, then make sure your contact page is easily seen and also user-friendly. Plus, Google likes short answers, so this will give your website another SEO boost!
You’ll probably notice that a few questions require more thorough answers. This is a fantastic opportunity to create a blog!
Again, you can talk out your article idea in an audio recording, have it transcribed, and then quickly edited into an article format. Once the blog is published, you can promote it on social media.
As you build your catalog of articles, you can continue to link to related articles. For example, if you're answering a question about cash management or treasury services, you likely will be talking about things like remote deposit capture, online banking services, fraud prevention functionality such as positive payment, etc. PLUS, you can link to the blog on your website’s FAQ sections in case your visitors would like more in-depth information. These kinds of crosslinks make your website more user-friendly and, again, helps your bank’s SEO!
Gather Answers for Comprehensive Guides
After you’ve built this wildly helpful catalog of articles full of related topics and crosslinks, it’s time to provide even more value to your customers … in a super quick and easy way!
Choose one topic, like mortgage loans. You likely have at least 5 or more articles on that one topic. You can put all those articles into one document, create a table of contents and a title page and you now have a helpful tool your customers can download at any time and learn from. These guides save your customers from having to scour the internet for answers to their series of questions that come with looking for loans, etc. They will greatly appreciate you for this thorough support and service. And the added benefit for your bank is when they request the free guide, you also get their email address. This can open up an opportunity for your staff to start a conversation with soon-to-be customers (or at the very least, they could be opted-in to your free newsletter).
Explore Other Formats
Lastly, you can go back through all of these helpful resources you created and ask yourself, “How else could we communicate this message?”
You could answer some FAQs with a helpful infographic. You might have a bank team member record a short video answering some questions. You might put together a webinar delving into bigger topics and answer those questions. You could even create a podcast or a series of downloadable slide decks. You might create helpful calculators or tools as well. The opportunities are endless. Get creative.
Share and Promote
By starting with your FAQs, you can establish your bank as a helpful and thoughtful resource for both your new and existing customers. Continue to share these resources and promote them online and on social media and this can be a continuous lead generation engine for your bank!
Would You Like Some Help?
If you’d like to learn more about how your bank specifically can use this process or if you don’t want to do this all yourself and would like a team to manage everything from soup to nuts, then we’d love to have a conversation with you! Just contact us and we can talk about what an FAQ-driven content strategy would look like for your bank's website and overall digital strategy.