As a regular contributor to the community, here are some advice I would give to beginners who want to maximize the chances to get some help from the community:
1-Choose the right place to post
Post your products questions to the place where you have the greatest chance to get a quick answer. This is set at the bottom of the discussion entry screen:
- "Products" is the best place for anything related to the use of the products (MLM, RTP, ...). Most of the time, this is THE place to start. Most of the community members start to look there when they have some time to answer questions. Furthermore, questions and discussions in this place resurface each time someone comments them, making them more visible
- "Community help and feedback" is the best place for anything related to how this community works
- "Champions: the Marketo elite" is not that a good pick, unlike what one would think: only a small subset of the users are monitoring this place. the questions there do not show on the pending question lists and you are quite less likely to get a quick answer. My experience is that questions posted there receive far less answers.
[EDIT]: based on Liz' comment below, "Champions: The Marketo Elite is for people to find out more information about the Champion program." And if you did post it to the wrong place, you can ask Elizabeth Oseguera or Scott Wilder to have it relocated.
2-Choose the right type of post
The choice of the type of post will impact the quality of the answers you will get as well as the timeliness of these answers:
- Questions: In order to post a question, you have to create a "Discussion" (weird, isn't it? ). "Discussions" are for any questions and information and by default, a "Discussion" will in fact be a "Question". As a contributor, like all other community contributors, I know that questions are from people who need real help, most of the time quickly. Start there, unless you really know your post belongs to somewhere else.
- Discussions: You can also transform a question in a simple information to the community, un-clicking the "Question" checkbox. This will make your post a simple information for the community. Always very appreciated from everyone . But then, do not necessarily expect an answer, you are more likely to get "thank you's" here.
- Ideas: Create and Idea only if you are sure it is a missing feature. If you are not sure, start with a question. If you are pointing out a missing feature, the community will often answer something such as "That a nice idea, post it, we will vote". Do not post questions here, it will not help you as you should not expect a "how to" answer. On the other hand, accept that idea relevance can be discussed by other community members. And always search before posting ideas. Idea duplication is very frequent and it dilutes votes, which makes them less likely to attract PM attention.
3-Focus on question length and clarity
The way you will right your question will condition whether or not you will get an answer:
- Ask only 1 question per post: the longer and the more complex a question seems at first glance, and the less likely it is to get an answer quickly. Really! We (other community members) browse questions and if we get only 5 minutes ahead of us, we will focus on short and clearly expressed questions that we can answer in this short amount of time. Also, on this side, avoid asking a question as a answer to your or someone else's question if it is not directly related to the primary question. Doing this, you are again limiting your capacity to get a quick and rich answer, as most people will not see your question.
- Do not ask a new question in the answer thread of another post. This most of the time will be ignored by contributors because it has no visibility at all (only people who have already contributed to the thread will see it).
- Add screenshots and code samples. Do not hesitate to add some screen copies of the smart lists, flows, scheduling tab, admin sections you need help on (anonymize them if needed). If you need some help on an HTML template, post the code. Same for API usage.
- Do not ask the same question in multiple posts. It will scatter the answers at best, having various contributors answering multiple times on distinct aspects of the question in different places. At the end of the day, you will spend more time reconciling the answers and these answers will be of a lower quality because the contributors will not have the whole picture. It will also give people who answer the impression they become crazy, wondering whether they have dreamt answering it or not . If you have entered the question twice inadvertently (it happens) delete one of them rapidly.
- Use ideas as clues for something missing: If you have the feeling something is not working as you would expect it from the product, search the "ideas" section. Very often someone has had the same need and entered an idea, indicating the need for an improvement. It will tell you that you are right. And then vote and look at the discussion in the idea if any workaround has been posted by a contributor.
4-Reward answers and responders
- Rewards the answers. Community members spend graciously some time trying to help and appreciate to be recognized for this. And believe me they also have a job aside from this. So, do not take it for granted, hit the "helpful" and "like" buttons as often as you want, and do it even if you did not write the question in the first place.
- Mark them as answered when you are done. This is done clicking the "correct answer" button on one of the answers and give the signal to other community members that you are OK and that they should concentrate on other pending questions. Also remember this is a way to reward the person who helped you, so hit wisely and do not reward yourself
- Vote for ideas when you find them relevant. It is not a waste of time, even if the number of open ideas is much larger than the number of done ones