Why understanding customer intent is key to marketing success

Over a cityscape, a half-circle that says "Customer Journey" at the center with segments fanning out from it with icons including a gear and lock.The prominent Italian tenor and multi-instrumentalist Andrea Bocelli once said, “All that counts in life is intention.” It’s undeniable that our intentions matter – and that holds true in the business world as well. Each time someone contacts your company or visits your website, they have a purpose – also known as customer intent or buyer intent, according to the Qualtrics article “What is customer intent?

Marketers must understand what prospective clients are looking for and what they want to deliver a great customer experience (CX) and bring in more leads. However, figuring out current and prospective clients’ plans is easier said than done in many instances. Here’s what you should know about the importance of paying attention to customer intent and how to pinpoint the purpose behind people’s behavior.

Why customer intent matters

If you can figure out what people want and deliver it to them when they want it, they’ll have a favorable impression of your company and be more inclined to buy what you’re selling. This can involve analyzing the tone of everything from the search queries of potential clients to feedback from current customers to learn how to better meet their expectations, according to Qualtrics.

Intent analysis can have an especially significant impact in the realm of search engine optimization (SEO). More than half (53 percent) of shoppers always conduct online research before making a purchase to ensure they’re making the best possible decision, according to Think with Google. That means if you can discern the intent behind search queries, you can fine-tune your SEO strategy and marketing efforts, capturing the attention of individuals looking for your products and services during the information-gathering phases of their customer journey.

For example, if you sell shoes, you might create a page targeting the longtail keyword “best winter boots” with details about your best-selling pair and how they outperform the competition. Someone searching for that phrase is looking to make a purchase soon and weighing their options. Proactively targeting the right keywords will get you on their radar while they’re researching. If you wait for people to reach out to you, you’ll miss those opportunities.

How do you identify customer intent?

Many companies attempt to extrapolate consumer intent based on demographics, Qualtrics explains. This approach often misses the mark, however. Marketers who target consumers based on demographic characteristics alone can miss out on more than 70 percent of potential mobile buyers, according to the Think with Google article “Why consumer intent is more powerful than demographics” by Lisa Gevelber, CMO of the Americas region for Google.

“Intent beats identity,” Gevelber notes. Demographics don’t give you an accurate view of the big picture. For example, while the stereotypical gamer is a young man, Google has found that only 31 percent of mobile searchers seeking video games are men aged 18 to 34.

One way to investigate consumer intent is to leverage Google Trends to investigate what people are searching for in your category/industry. Based on the language searchers utilize, you can determine their intent in line with the following categories, according to SEMrush.

    • Navigational (trying to locate something). Typically, these queries specify a site or brand, such as “Facebook” or “Coca-Cola.”
    • Informational (trying to learn more about a topic). These searches commonly include the words “how,” “what,” “where,” “why,” “ideas,” “guide,” “best,” or “tips.”
    • Transactional (looking to complete a specific task). These will typically be along the lines of “buy [product].”
    • Commercial (intending to learn more before buying). These queries are meant to dig up information on products and brands. E.g., “robot vacuum reviews.”

Some SEO and marketing tools can identify user intent for you. For example, SEMrush will specify the search intent if you use the site’s keyword research tools, and ZoomInfo Intent provides insight into buying signals. A marketing agency or consultant can also help you identify the best keywords to target and fine-tune your approach based on consumer intent.

Our team can assist you if you’d like to learn more about delivering better customer experiences, enhancing your marketing efforts, and improving your SEO strategy. Take the first step toward better performance today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing sales@stratospherenetworks.com.

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