When Google gave us search, it was a game-changer. It made us suddenly realize that, as marketers, we had no control. The consumer has the control. They search, we get found. Or we don't.
For years we've tried to game the system by stuffing our websites with keywords but without giving much thought to how potential customers were searching. Google no longer tolerates that type of behavior, and for good reason: consumers don't search for keywords anymore.
Instead they're talking into their iPhones and asking Siri questions. Now you need to be the best at providing the answers your customers seek and they'll find you. And they'll be happy they did.
Four ways to get more relevant attention
Don't worry; I'm not asking you to invest in a crystal ball. All I'm saying is that you need to be as deliberate as Google when it comes to understanding the intentions of your customers when they're searching online. Here are four tips to help you reach the right people more often.
- Ask everyone how they found you. Customers are the best R&D you could hope for. Ask what they were searching for when they found you. Not the category, but the actual words and phrases. Take note of every response and then take the findings to Google's AdWords Keyword Planner. Type in the questions your customers used to find you. What related queries come up? How popular are they? Take the time to find out and then develop new blog posts or even a quick Q&A to address what your audience wants to know.
- Use accessible formats such as video. What if your website site is drawing a lot of traffic but visitors aren't buying the ebook or signing up for your newsletter? These would-be customers may just want fast answers, which you can provide by creating and embedding video on your website. Adobe says that online video viewing grew 43 percent in last year's second quarter; most signs point to at least that much growth in the years to come.
- Engage on social media. Next, take your findings to social media. Engage directly with people who have the questions you're answering at your website, pointing back to your content. Also, presuming you've done the work to build a social media following, you can ask satisfied readers to share your answers with friends and colleagues who may have similar questions.
- Model those who engage with the audience you want. Say I have a nail salon in downtown Chicago and I want to know who in the area is searching for nail salons or talking about getting nails done. On Twitter, I can type in "getting nails done" and remove links from the results. That's my audience; sharing with them links to my most useful blog posts — i.e., answering their questions — could help boost traffic, referrals and revenue.
Reaching a Lot of People Is Easy, Reaching the Right People Takes Effort
Writing a blog post that gets attention is easy. Years ago I wrote one describing how to make a standalone Facebook business page that's not tied to a personal profile. To this day that post is a major source of traffic for us at Social KNX. But it isn't good traffic. Instead of serving the people who want to know more about hiring a social media agency like ours, I'm instead spending lots of time answering questions from the do-it-yourselfer on how to recover forgotten passwords. They aren't interested in outside help.
Don't repeat my mistake; get to know your audience. Find out what specific questions they have and where they ask them. Then, tailor your website to provide the answers. What you give up in chasing millions of page views you'll more than earn back in qualified customers happy to have found you.