Alignable offers small business owners the chance to ask any question that affects their work. Everyone has different experiences, problems, challenges, and success stories they are willing to share.
With all this help, many questions still go unanswered. Why is that? After reviewing many of the unanswered questions, they seem to fall into these 7 categories:
1. You already know the answer to your question.
For example, an SEO company asking about how to do SEO. I am a marketing consultant and persuasive writer. Like me posting "Who knows the best way to write persuasive messages that get results?"
2. 'Business card toss' questions
These are questions that are really just tossing your business card into the middle of a crowded room and hoping it attracts people. "Does anyone need marketing help?" would be the example of this with me as one posting the question. Don't expect any answers…
3. Your question is clear to you but no one else
Sometimes, when composing a question, it's best to try and back away for a few minutes and put on someone else's shoes. (Remember the 'take a walk in someone else's shoes'?) Then write out your question and see if the next door neighbor, the janitor at your business, or someone in a completely different field, would understand what you are asking. My example: "What part of the Golden Triangle of Marketing is unclear?" Most readers would have no clue what the 'Golden Triangle of Marketing' is. (this also violates Rule #1!)
4. You are looking for answers from a specific group of readers but don't say it.
Not everyone takes the time to research the person who posted the question. So a question like "What is the best way to get more customers?" will get answers from bakers, insurance people, real estate agents, and marketing folks. Each will have different ideas, almost none of which would apply to the person asking the question about his business 'Wiggly Worms of Wisconsin'. Putting a small explanation under your question will allow others to frame and offer an answer that hopefully is a good solution. Another good tip, add your industry to the question name.
5. 'Post and run'
People take their time to provide sound answers and rarely get feedback from the person who posted. Was it useful? Did it give you some insight, direction, or idea what to do? If you are going to post a question, please be polite and try to interact at some level with the people responding. Even the politeness of a 'like' says something.
6. Questions that need an 'admission of guilt'
These questions will rarely get answers because no one wants to be jumped by sales pitches, nor do they want to admit they have a problem. Common examples include "What is your biggest problem with your website?" or "How much do you pay for…" If this were a one on one conversation that could work. But in an open forum, probably not.
7. Question fatigue
Sometimes it seems there is no research done before asking a question. If the same, or virtually the same question is asked 3 times within a week, many responders get tired of saying the same thing and will only answer one of the questions. These questions might be "What's the cheapest way to…' or "How do I get more people…" and may have been answered several times already. Consider researching the Topics area before posting (upper right corner when you first open the Ask & Learn page.) There are hundreds of answers that may help.
Almost everyone on Alignable is trying to help others. While there are always a couple jokers or wildcards in the deck, people are unselfishly giving of their time and energy.
Avoiding these few simple mistakes will make you smarter, more respected, and get you better solutions when you have a problem others may also have faced.
This is a great platform when used properly. Keep posting great questions!
Mark Mehling is a frequent contributor, marketing consultant and author. He writes the Tablet Marketing Academy (www.TabletMarketingAcademy.com) for those who want to improve their marketing. He also hosts Phone-In Fridays, an opportunity to talk privately, 1 on 1 (it's not a webinar…) with a marketing expert at no cost or obligation. Read his recommendations and then send a connect request if you'd like the info.