A Lesson in FAQ Awesomeness From the Powerball Website

by Allen Voivod

Powerball - A Great Website FAQ ExampleZen proverbs? Imaginary dragons? A deep meditation on the number 19?

You’ll find it all on the Powerball website.

This is a story of how every single webpage – even your FAQs – give you the opportunity to make an emotional brand connection with your audience, and factor into your website and content marketing strategy.

But first, a brief prologue.

There have a couple of REALLY big Powerball jackpots this summer, and we finally joined in the frenzy and bought a few tickets. In the process of checking to see whether we’d won (we hadn’t – darnit), and being the curious type, I started poking around their site.

On their FAQs, I stumbled into this:

Greetings Gentle Reader,

“Gentle Reader?” From the “Multi-State Lottery Association”? Really?! I’m already intrigued. And then I scan down the page, and find these examples of dry-witted, laugh-out-loud surprises:

 MY NUMBERS ARE: XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX; DID I WIN?

I can’t check numbers for a million folks a week. You can check your numbers on the web site. Teach a man to fish. Please go to: http://www.powerball.com/powerball/pb_numbers.asp

YOUR ODDS / PROBABILITIES ARE WRONG.
Are not.

HOW COME THE ONLY JACKPOT WINNERS ARE FROM THE [EAST - WEST - NORTH - SOUTH - CITIES - RURAL AREAS]? HOW COME ONLY [WHITE, BLACK, TALL, SKINNY, YOUNG, OLD] PEOPLE WIN?

Powerball is a random game that knows nothing about who buys a ticket or where a ticket is purchased. There really is no white/black/old/young/rich/poor, etc. button on the machine.

DO POWERBALL TICKETS EXPIRE?
Yes. The Universe is decaying and nothing lasts forever. Ticket expiration periods vary from state to state – from 90 days to one year.

I’m excerpting from longer (and percentage-wise, mostly serious) answers, but c’mon…isn’t this great? How often do you come across stuff like this? I’m guessing this is the work of their Executive Director, Charles Strutt, who has a pretty amazing bio. And his further responses to real letters are even more hysterical – and where you’ll find the “Zen,” “dragon,” and “19″ items mentioned at the start of the post.

So, back to their FAQ page: It’s human, it’s helpful, and it’s got personality to burn. It’s everything an FAQ page should be. Check it out, and then go back and look at your own FAQ page – if you have one. And ask yourself,

“How could I have a little more fun with this, and use this as another chance to better engage my site visitors, reinforce my brand, and deliver another useful and effective call-to-action for my products and services?”

Or, check it out just for their answer to this: “Is there secret to improve your chance of winning Powerball?”

There is…and they’re happy to share it, while prefacing it with, “But you have to promise to keep the secret – called THE BIG SECRET TO WINNING POWERBALL — between you and me.”

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