Educate.

That’s the answer. I figured I would just tell you right up front in case you didn’t have time to read the entire post. For the rest of you overachievers out there, keep reading because there’s some good stuff in here.

You see, if you are in business, then you are in the business of solving problems. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. If you are good at solving problems, you will succeed. If you aren’t good at solving problems, you will not succeed. It’s as simple as that.

Where most online strategies fail is that they focus on solving the wrong problems. Problems like driving more traffic.

Don’t get me wrong. Traffic is great. But if that’s the problem you are focused on solving, the story doesn’t end well for you because we as your visitors are no longer buying the questionable link building practices, poorly written blog posts that offer no value, the “shove it down your throat” social media mentality and your bastardized website pages stuffed with keywords that read as though you don’t have a good grasp of the English language.

You need a better plan.

Stop Selling People that Are Not Ready to Buy

The problem is often that you are too busy trying to sell to figure out what it is that your visitors really need. After all, the majority of business websites are considered sales tools and so their purpose is to sell. So, you hone in on search terms like “New Jersey Roofer” with the idea that if someone is looking for a roofer in New Jersey, there is a good chance that they will search that term and find your website.

But there’s a big problem with that approach.

Selling is actually Step 2 of the sales process. By only focusing on selling people that are ready to buy, you are turning away the majority of your visitors that are not yet ready to buy. When someone begins their search, they are not looking for a vendor. They are looking for answers. They have questions like “How do I know if my roof needs to be replaced?” or “How long does a roof last?” or “What is the best type of shingle to use on my roof?”

Before your customers are actual customers they are students. And the first step for them does not include having their credit card out waiting for you to sell them something. For them, the first step of the sales process is education. They are searching for answers and they will find them online. It’s just a matter of where they will get them from.

Here is the reason why you want it to be you. During that education phase, they are building trust. The are building rapport. They are learning from you and you are asking nothing in return. So, not only did they find you early on in the process of searching, but you answered a lot of their questions. You have positioned yourself as an expert to them.

When they get to a point where they are ready to buy something, who do you think they are going to buy from? Just anybody they find off the street? Or the company that has been helping them throughout the process and has asked for nothing in return? Their expert.

There is a funny thing that we have as humans. A nagging feeling that suggests we give back to anyone that gives to us. If you give someone a referral, that person will work ten times harder to return the favor and give you a referral back. So when we educate someone and help them, not only do they see you as an expert in the industry but they feel a certain obligation to at least give you a chance at doing the work when it comes time to actually hire someone.

What Do They Want To Know?

The challenge is to figure out what your potential clients are struggling with. Before you are able to solve everyone else’s problems you have to discover what they are. What are the things that have them trolling around the Internet looking for a solution to? What are the things that are keeping them up at night? What is the proverbial thorn that you can pull out of their toe?

You need to know what these questions are. And they need to come from your clients. You see, you tend to think like a business owner. A business owner that stubbornly thinks they know what their clients want. Instead, you need hear these questions right from the horse’s mouth. Your potential clients. Not what you think they might ask and how you think they might ask them. But word for word what their questions are.

Keep a notebook by the phone and anytime someone calls with a question, write it down. In fact, make sure everyone in your company that interacts with your clients or prospects is keeping an ear open for questions and writing them down.

The reason this is important is because chances are they or someone just like them is searching that exact question. Word for word.

If you are just starting out or don’t easily have access to your client base, then you can make the questions up yourself. Just make sure to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think like them. Talk like them. Be them.

Make a list of at least 25 questions that you know your visitors are struggling with. For example, if you are a plumber, one of those questions might be:

“How can I tell when my hot water heater needs to be replaced?” or “What is the difference between Brand X and Brand Y furnace?”

Don’t stop until you come up with at least 25, 50, 100…or better yet, just don’t stop! The more questions you have the more opportunities you will have to help a potential visitor. And the more chances you have at helping a potential visitor, the more chances you have of building a new relationship online. And that’s what really leads to a new customer.

All You Need is the Right Answer

Now all you need to do is construct a comprehensive answer to each of those questions and schedule them as your weekly blog. Or a Facebook live post. Or a podcast. Or some form of media that helps you get the message out.

Just remember. The answers that you come up with need to be EXTRAORDINARY. No exceptions.

You have the answers. Share them. Educate. Often. Become invaluable. The site with the best content and the best answers is the one that is going to win. Every single time. It could either be you or your competition. That part is up to you.