But the question that often comes up is whether the time spent is worth it. Just looking at the steps involved tells us that forums can be huge time suck. It’s not like we can just go to the forum and start answering questions.
In order to do it properly, we have to follow the three steps:
- Isolate keywords to search for
- Search for relevant discussions on forums
- Answer questions
Just looking at the list above tells us that this can take hours to complete.
But it does not have to
Having answered hundreds of questions on forums, I have learned some simple shortcuts that allow me to find and answer questions without spending no more than 10-15 minutes a week.
And the first thing we need to do is focus on is the keywords.
Step 1: Select only highly searched keywords
Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, just focus on the questions where your expertise is going to come through. So if someone is looking for help with their invitations, don’t bother with it. Spend your time looking for things that are high in impact.
The five keywords that work well are:
- room block
- gift bag
So if you see a bride asking about wedding gift bags, jump in and let her know how hotel front desks are used to handing them out to wedding guests at check in. Or if they are wondering about great venues in your city, answer that as best as you can.
Once you have narrowed your search terms to the high impact keywords, it’s time to bookmark each one.
Step 2: Use bookmarks instead of searching every time
In order to find discussions on wedding forums that are relevant to us, we need to search with the following criteria:
Keyword+Month+Year+City (e.g. Room Blocks Oct 2013 Philadelphia)
Once you do this search on a wedding forum like weddingbee (click above to see the results), then bookmark the page. Do the same for the rest of the keywords you selected in step 1 above. Once you have all the search terms bookmarked, you can just click on the links every week to see if there are any new questions that can be answered.
And if you do find a new question to answer, it’s time to use a template.
Step 3: Create templates for questions
On wedding forums, there are 5-10 hotel related questions that are asked all the time. While you will have to answer them manually the first time, simply save your answer as a template in a word document. The next time you see the same question, simply copy and paste the answer.
Here are five of the most frequent hotel related questions we see on wedding forums:
- What is a room block? Advice on room blocks
- How to negotiate with hotels
- What wording should i have on my invitations for room blocks
- What is attrition?
- How many rooms should I block for wedding
Answer the questions above ahead of time and you’re ready to copy and paste, make some minor modifications to personalize, and you’re done.
Following the three steps above will allow you to answer 3-4 questions a week in less than 10 minutes. And the business you will pick up will be more than worth the time invested.
Just make sure they know who you are
Just because you are answering the question does not mean they know who you are. Make sure you include some kind of signature at the bottom that tells them that you are a hotel sales manager at XYZ hotel. Provide a link to your hotels website too. Brides can have a look at your location, and if they feel it is a good match, they will reach out to you.
But that is not the only advantage
Forums are read by millions of people a month. In fact, weddingwire alone gets 200 million visitors a year. The questions you answer will be read by hundreds of other brides, some of whom will be looking for hotels as well. So in effect, your answers will serve as a perpetual source of leads.
In summary, answering questions on wedding forums can be quite profitable for a sales manager. But it can be a huge drain on time of we don’t use some simple shortcuts that let us move faster. By isolating keywords, bookmarking the URL, and using templates, it should be very easy to answer questions without spending a lot of time.
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