In marketing and PR we often talk about engaging our audience through a two-way conversation, and there are few better ways to start this open discussion than with a question.

Questions hold immense power in any business, offering the opportunity to connect, engage, understand and learn.

So, let’s look into the power of questions in business and when and how they can be used to great effect.

I’m listening

In any conversation, a question acts as a central point. It indicates interest in another party, fosters engagement and indicates you are willing to learn about the views, situation or insight of another.

In business it’s no different, with questions providing a unique opportunity to interact with your audience on three key levels.

Understand

By asking your audience questions, you begin to understand them. You know who they are, what they like, where they hang out and what’s likely to appeal.

This is an invaluable tool in both marketing and business in general, allowing you to intimately know your ideal customer and respond to their needs.

Learn

A willingness to learn is the key attribute of any successful business owner. By asking your customers for their insight, you open yourself to new skills, opportunities and new knowledge.

You may also gain an understanding of the areas in business where you need to improve, and can then actively seek the knowledge you need to better service your customer or audience.

Engage

When you ask questions of your customers, including seek customer reviews and feedback, you are essentially asking your audience a question…”what do you think?”

And in doing so you are looking to understand what they need. What is it that they need to engage with you, remain loyal to your brand or purchase from you?

So how and where can you ask questions in business

  • Through open-ended questions on social media
  • Via surveys or feedback
  • At the end of blog posts to elicit engagement
  • Through quizzes
  • By asking for feedback on products or services in development

 

Connect

On the flipside, you can also open the floor to have consumers and your audience ask you questions about your business.

And this is a great space to talk about who you are and what you do. Answering questions posed by your audience is not about selling, but about offering a solution so people get to know and like you as you build a reputation as an authority in your field

When it comes to answering questions, there are also a series of key places you can open up the opportunity for your consumers to seek information directly from you.

  • Host a Q&A – You can actively seek questions from your audience through a Q&A session on social media (like LinkedIn and Facebook), in a webinar or via a podcast. (For example, I hosted a series called Ask Linda, where my audience members were encouraged to pose their PR and marketing questions).
  • Through authoritative websites – If there are commonly asked questions about your industry or arenas within it, you can seek to answer them to establish your authority and expertise. (Quora and similar sites are great venues for this).
  • By answering your most commonly asked questions in blog posts

Questions offer a unique opportunity in business to engage with your customer on a personal level. They allow you to find out what they need and better meet their requirements.

They also allow your audience a greater insight into who you are and what you do.

Together all these factors make questions one of the most useful tools you can employ to build your brand, your business and your understanding of your customer.

How and when do you use questions in your business?