The options for small businesses to market their products and services online are numerous. In fact, many marketers' efforts to promote online are fragmented and can result in significant waste of effort and a disconnect with customers. In the mix of online marketing tactics, SEO and PPC have been rated the most effective for conversions and ROI.
In the search engine marketing game, relevance is essential for improving marketing effectiveness. Better understanding your customers, the keyword searches they use and the offers they're most likely to respond to are the key to making your online marketing more targeted and successful.
In order to move from fragmented to segmented and relevant, here are three key questions small business marketers should answer as they develop their online marketing strategy.
1. What are your searcher personas?
Understanding the needs of your customer is basic marketing. To really make a difference with more targeted online marketing, search marketers need to become more sophisticated in their understanding of customer profiles and developing personas to represent who they’re trying to attract via search. Delivering generic content to a searcher looking for a specific product is a common mistake.
Knowing what kind of content and what type of digital asset your customers will best respond to can improve effectiveness at driving traffic from the search visibility you’ve achieved through SEO. The same goes for designing Pay Per Click ads and landing pages that are relevant to the needs of customers you really want to reach.
The buying cycle is another dimension that warrants attention to make sure you’re creating, promoting and optimizing targeted content that is relevant to where your customers are in their search/research process. Broad concepts usually represent early stages of research versus more specific phrases which often indicate a buyer is closer to purchase. Understand the differences in your customers and your keyword research will be a lot more effective.
2. What is the ideal keyword mix? Many companies start with a list of keywords they think are best for SEO and implement them with on-page optimization and link building. Don't make the mistake of thinking your ideas about keywords are more important than those of your customers.
There are many resources on creating keyword glossaries, but it's essentially about collecting a raw list of concepts, topics and phrases from sources like website content, interviews with front line employees and actual customers, competitor web sites and good old fashioned brainstorming. That raw list is brought into a keyword research tool like Google Adwords Keyword Tool which will provide a list of actual phrases plus variations sorted by popularity.
Keywords are extracted from the sorted list according to web site content and mapped to specific web pages for SEO and also grouped and used to create pay per click ads. Understanding keywords from the perspective of the searcher and where they are in the buying process allows the search marketer to properly optimize content, landing pages and ads accordingly. Making the ads and landing pages more relevant leads to better performance when it comes to click through rates and conversions.
From an organic perspective, specifically optimized pages that have attracted relevant links from other related web sites will result in higher rankings for keywords that are being targeted. Customers will self-segment themselves with the search terms they use. If you've done your home work, your website content and ads will better target customers in a relevant way, leading to increased sales.
3. Is your content optimized for specifics? By content, I mean web pages, digital assets and any other documents that can be optimized for organic search. Optimization also applies to landing pages used with pay per click advertising to improve quality score.
Web page content optimization should focus on 1-3 keyword phrases per page. If you don't have enough content to accommodate all the keywords you're targeting, then you have an opportunity to create more content. Being focused helps search engines understand and rank the page so that customers get what they're actually looking for. Delivering on the promise of a compelling search result is priceless for conversions.
Additionally, pay per click ads should point to specific landing pages, not the website home page or generic category pages. Some companies program their landing pages to dynamically optimize for the keywords used by the searcher. If you don't have the resources to do that, you can manage your keywords using a third party tool and monitor/adjust to find the best mix of ad creative, keywords and landing page design.
Improving the targeting capabilities of your online marketing can involve a mix of different tactics. Because search engine marketing is so effective when it comes to conversions and ROI, it's worth paying attention to the development of searcher personas, doing your homework with keyword research and optimizing specific pages for specific phrases. The result will be a more relevant experience for customers and the likelihood of conversions and sales.