Summary Of ‘They Ask You Answer’ | A Must-Read Content Marketing Book


Did any client ask you how great your company is or how superior you’re from competitors?

Probably No.

But in reality, most of the companies and individuals are trying to prove themselves great.

From interacting with a brand for the first time to closing a deal, every consumer faces questions like:

  • Should I trust the brand?
  • Are they credible enough?
  • Do they have enough experience?
  • And many more…

If you closely observe yourself as a consumer, you’ll find hundreds of questions come to your mind.

Then how many of these companies and individuals are focusing on helping customers by answering these questions?

A small portion.

This approach of answering customer’s questions is the core foundation of the book, ‘They Ask, You Answer’.

In this blog post, you’ll get to learn a revolutionary approach of Inbound strategies and content marketing (discussed in this book).

Who’s this article for?

If you:

  • Believe in a customer-centric approach rather than brand-centric.
  • Want customers to believe in your brand by educating and presenting the truth, instead of shouting “We provide the best service”.

(Download the sample pdf of this book)

Let’s dive right into this.

In this book, the author (Marcus Sheridan) has mentioned the concept of Big 5.

Big 5 basically represents five different subjects of content such as:

  1. Pricing and costs
  2. Problems
  3. Versus and comparisons
  4. Best in class
  5. Reviews

Let’s start with understanding one by one.

You can also watch this video to learn more about BIG 5 Concept.

Pricing and costs

price and costs

As a service provider or business owner, probably the most asked question is “How much do you charge?”.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

Even though pricing is one of the most asked topics, most of the businesses and individuals prefer not to talk about price on their website.

Yes, there are some valid logics that are stopping people from talking about price openly.

One of them is “I will scare away my customers if I show them the price.”

I will scare away my customers if I show them the price

To help you understand this, just think about getting leads that can’t even afford your services.

The idea here is to get qualified leads not just leads.

Consider two scenarios.

Scenario 1.

You get frequently asked about the price from your customer and just like most companies, you also don’t make it publicly clear.

Now, consider you’re getting 50 leads/ month.

Chances are a good portion of your leads will be wasted because many of them might not afford your services no matter what.

That means a chance of getting a low conversion rate as well.

Scenario 2.

You’re like Marcus Sheridan who has discussed your pricing structure clearly. Now, even if you get 30 leads/ month, the conversion rate is going to be higher.

Because people who’re asking for your queries are already familiar with your charges.

That was one example.

Another complaint people might have is, “Our competitors will get to know our pricing strategy and that’s not good for our business.

This is a myth that your competitors are not familiar with your pricing. Everyone including your customers knows what others are charging. Even if they don’t know they can easily find out.

The third complaint is about “I don’t have any fixed price. What should I do now?”

This is really a valid question. 

But the fact is it’s not necessary to put a fixed price on your website. Instead, you can add a price range like “price starts with $xxx”.

But what about if your price is too high as compared to your competitors?

In this case, you can follow the exact way that Marcus followed for his River pool.

Marcus wrote a blog post on “How much does a Fiberglass pool cost?.”

In this article, he has discussed the factors that influence the overall cost. If River Pool is charging more than his competitors, then they have explained the reason behind this.

Quality of the materials that they use, Pricing range for different size of pools, etc.

That single article helped River pools to generate more than $3,000,000 in sales (On average installing a fibreglass pool is around $50,000).

Luckily this article is still live since 2009. Have a look at the article.

And the funniest part is Marcus didn’t even mention the actual price of the service.

He just explained a price range and different factors that influence the pricing.

Likewise, you can also create content showing different points for why you’re going to charge more as compared to others.

And most importantly, mention the price range (if adding a fixed price isn’t a good fit for you).

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    write content about problems in your niche

    Every service or product comes with strengths and weaknesses. But we often try to showcase only the positive sides of the product.

    This isn’t the ideal way of earning trust from customers.

    For example, installing a Fiberglass pool also has some weaknesses in terms of maintaining, cracking issues, etc. Even though it is a drawback for River pool business, it is true.

    So instead of hiding these objections, Marcus suggests creating content that indicates the drawbacks of the product.

    The primary aim is to gain trust and the only way to build is by showing the real and transparent side.

    Just like the previous example, Marcus also decided to create a detailed article on “Top 5 Fiberglass pool problems and solutions.”

    As a result, they got more than 260,000 people website visits just from articles related to problems of fiberglass.

    Likewise, you can also turn your weakness into strengths.

    To do this make sure you ask two questions to yourself.

    1. What do your buyers see as the negative side of your services and products?
    2. What do your competitors say negatively about your product or service?

    Once you get the answers for these two questions, identify how you can answer these queries honestly and transparently.

    In that way, buyers will get to know the negative sides of your business directly from your business.

    Not everyone is going to fill the ‘request a quote’ on your website but this will definitely help you to earn trust and credibility.

    Versus and comparisons

    versus and comparison of big 5

    It’s no surprise that comparison based content works very well. 

    Whether it is Nike vs Adidas


    Pepsi vs Coca-cola.

    You need to start with listing down all of the buyer’s questions related to the comparison.

    But that doesn’t mean you only have to compare your brand with others.

    Within your industry, you’ll also find some alternative services or products.

    For example, In my content marketing field, Paid advertisement is one of the alternatives that my buyers can think about.

    The point is to create a list of comparison based questions relevant to your audience.

    In my case, I have options like:

    Content marketing vs paid advertising

    Inbound vs outbound marketing.

    Comparison can be in the level of service or products or even in brands.

    Like previous cases, you need to answer these questions honestly and transparently.

    Your product or service might not be the best for everyone but still, you need to be honest and give your unbiased opinion with the help of content.

    Last two content subjects are reviews and best in class.

    Reviews and best in class

    Reviews and best in class

     Now, this is going to be super unorthodox for you.

    In this category, Marcus is suggesting to find out “best of class” types of content in your industry.

    Example: List of best CRM software of 2020, Best graphic designing tools, etc.

    You got the idea.

    But you can be out of the list of best in class if it seems correct.

    You don’t need to put your brand forcefully into the list.

    Again think about honesty and transparency.

    But you might say isn’t it going to hurt my credibility within my industry?

    I have seen many rubbish “best in class” content where the brand that creates that content tries to prove themselves the best.

    But in reality, they aren’t.

    This is where the problem begins.

    Two key benefits that you’re going to get from this are:

    1. You’ll build a network with other experts in your niche (Similar thing happen to River pools)
    2. You’re going to earn trust from your audience for being honest.

    Here’s an example of ‘Best-in-class’ content from HubSpot

    Hubspot also uses a similar kind approach where they’ve created a best in class content within the email marketing niche.

    Here’s the ranking.

    Source: Hubspot

    Next is review-based content. Obviously that’s not a new concept any more.

    But still, you got the idea of answering buyers’ questions unbiasedly.

    These are the content subjects of Big 5 that everyone can easily implement within their own business.

    Whether you’re freelancing or having a startup, educating customers is one of the biggest revolutions in marketing.

    These are the elements of BIG 5.

    Let’s have a quick review of each of the elements of Big 5.

    So before you leave, let’s have a quick review:

    • Pricing (Never afraid of discussing price even if it seems risky. If people are asking frequently, then you should answer)
    • Problem (Buyers might see problems even in the best available product in the market. Make a list of weaknesses of your product or service and confess them honestly. Also give the solutions for that)
    • Best-in-class (Whether you tops the list of best-in-class in your industry or not, if your audience is interested to know, you need to answer)
    • Comparisons (One of the most popular content subjects in the list. Make a list of  possible contenders for your brand, service/product. Try to create content to answer these questions)

    Final words

    I read this book a few months back and I must say that for a beginner who doesn’t have much technical experience in content planning, give this book a try.

    The book ‘They Ask You Answer’ is not just about the Big 5 theory. From case studies to easy to practice framework for dealing with content marketing makes it a must-read for all marketers.

    Click this link to purchase this book (I’ll get a small commission and you’ll get your book at no extra cost)

    Keep learning.

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