The Perfect Product FAQ

There's a lot of debate about a Product FAQ

Some people will tell you that it's a must have (ahem, I'm in that crowd). But others will tell you that a Product FAQ is the wrong way to focus your efforts. So before I tell you how to create the perfect one, let's look at the most common Product FAQ mistakes.

The three mistakes people make with their product FAQ sections

Mistake 1: They're not FAQs

The whole point of an FAQ is that they're frequently asked questions. But what sometimes happens is that it's copy by committee. In other words, they're not frequently asked questions at all. They're just the dumping ground for everything that everyone wanted written.

That's easily going to turn into a hot mess and not be worth your time.

Mistake 2: It's too much

If your FAQ section is more like your knowledge base, then there's a problem. First, it's frustrating trying to get my common question answered if I need to use the search or some other fancy organizing technology to handle your 100 questions. It's clear you've missed the “frequently” in the FAQ.

If you have to add a search or navigation solution to your FAQs for a specific product page, which is what I'm talking about, then you need to do a better job of finding the core FAQs.

Mistake 3: It's not enough

If you only have 3 or 4 questions, maybe you've gone overboard in your selectivity. But you can see how this can get tough. What's the right number? I don't know, but I'll tell you, for me, it's likely between 5 and 15.

Building the perfect Product FAQ

Knowing what not to do doesn't always tell you what you should do. So let's dig into the three things to keep top of mind as you build the perfect Product FAQ.

First, try to eliminate the FAQ altogether

Maybe you've heard me talk about my Bridge Framework. Over and over I've championed the need for product folks to build trust with an audience by being clear about the pain those prospects have likely felt, and how your product solves that pain.

When you use that approach, you're taking the most common objections and the most common questions and answering them in your copy before they're ever raised directly.

If you do that well, you'll likely removing a lot of the content that most people would put in a Product FAQ.

Second, talk to your organization

If you follow step one, you might wonder what's left to put into the FAQ. That's when you want to circle back to your support organization and get the most commonly raised issues from them.

You might also want to talk to your sales team and see what they often hear as questions. All of this helps you generate the most common questions everyone raises.

Now, before you put them into the FAQ, see if you can address more of that in your existing product copy. In other words, revisit step one.

Then we're good to move to step three.

Third, link to key information

Your answers should be short and focused. This isn't the time to write 500-1500 answers. Instead, a few sentences should do the trick. The point, on the product page, after all, is to help convert a customer. As long as you can help someone know that this isn't a worry or objection, they can get on their way.

But don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that your answer to, “What if this shirt doesn't fit?” should be “See our return policy.”

I'm saying that you should keep it short, but also link to key information that exists on your site.

“Our shirts run true to size, but that doesn't mean you're in trouble if it doesn't fit. Our return policy ensures that you can return anything that doesn't fit for a full refund.”

And when you write, “return policy,” you're creating a perfect link opportunity for people to dig in more if they have a serious issue or concern.

This also means that if you don't have a page to link to, it's time to go write it. That way your answer can be focused and you can use the link strategy to point to the deeper / more complete resource.

The Goal of your Product FAQ

Here's why I am a fan of a Product FAQ, and why I don't like other approaches.

The goal on my product page is to help someone go from interested to committed. I want to overcome their objections and place an item in the cart. A small set of Product FAQs can help in that endeavor.

Now imagine the alternative.

I visit a page on Zappos that has an interesting pair of shoes. But I have a question about whether they're waterproof. I can't get that information on the product page, because they don't have it.

Instead, they give me a link to their FAQ.

Now I'm on a different page. And I'm reading. And I have a lot to read. I start having other questions, from reading the set of questions presented to me.

And you know what never happens?

That's right. I never put the shoes in my cart.

That's why I think having a focused set of FAQs that are focused on obstacle removal and risk reduction is the best strategy.