4 Marketing Gurus Who Totally Nailed Intent Marketing and What You Can Learn from Them

By Ilana Hart
Sunday, August 18, 2019

If you haven’t read our previous posts yet, you’re probably wondering what intent marketing is.

I urge you to read more about today’s most popular marketing strategy, but first, let’s see how 4 of the top gurus in this field successfully implement intent marketing in their activities. Let’s take a look at who these gurus are and what we can learn from them, starting with one of the top 10 online marketers in the world according to Forbes:

1. Neil Patel – Target Customers, Not Keywords

Google has changed the way in which it creates its SERPs (search engine results page) in recent years thanks to a machine-learning engine called RankBrain. Google can now decipher and produce search results based on user intent, while keyword stuffing is actually penalized and will not land you the top spot in search results.

Neil Patel examines this fundamental shift, looking at how companies must target customer engagement rather than keyword use. Content that focuses on what customers really want and delivers true value will perform better and rank higher in Google’s search results.

He makes several on-point recommendations, such as:

  • Understand your customers, what they’re looking for, and where they are in the conversion funnel
  • Focus on creating in-depth content packages and resource centers for customers early in the conversion funnel
  • Use keywords in a smart way, to build context into your articles and guides; but do not keyword stuff your posts

Finding that hot spot between customer needs, what people search for and site content rank in SERPs is Patel’s strategy. And as we all know, he personally knows just how to execute this strategy.

Neil Patel explains how to master intent marketing
Finding that hot spot between customer needs, what people search for and site content rank in SERPs is Patel’s strategy.

2. Rand Fishkin – Help Google Help Searchers

According to Rand Fishkin, “only the big winners will be able to keep up the game.”

He’s referring of course to SERP rankings and the fact that the best websites must deliver content that matches the intent of Google’s search query, or forever be shunned from the first results page. And they must do so consistently to remain at the top.

Rand Fishkin explains intent marketing
“Only the big winners will be able to keep up the game” (Rand Fishkin, Moz).

Marketers that get intent marketing right will also enjoy more page clicks, backlinks, shares, repeat visits, and so forth – all of which further contribute to their website ranking high on Google’s SERP.

It is therefore up to you to help Google help searchers by consistently providing high-quality information that answers high-intent search keywords. 

Here’s an example: A user types in high-intent keywords such as “best personal loans” or “top ten mortgage providers.” It’s quite obvious that this user is ready to buy, but didn’t yet decide who to buy from.

They need more information. Right?

The best content to fit these target keywords would be a list of service providers that compares pricing, terms, etc.

These types of comparison sites enable high-intent users to evaluate various offerings from competing providers and choose the best one to suit their specific needs. When all the information is presented upfront, potential buyers often convert to real buyers fairly quickly.

3. Brian Clark – Offer Value Based on the 5 Stages of Buyer Awareness

It turns out that marketing strategies have not changed dramatically in the past half-century because human decision-making and buying behavior, at its core, remains the same.

Brian Clark copyblogger intent marketing
Human decision-making and buying behavior, at its core, remains the same. (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)

According to Brian Clark, there are 5 stages of buyer awareness that were identified over 50 years ago, which are just as applicable today. Companies should be tailoring their content and marketing strategies to 5 types of potential customers:

  1. Completely Unaware: A user who has no knowledge that they have a problem (pain point) or any possible solutions.
  2. Problem-Aware: A user who has identified that they have a problem but isn’t aware that there’s a solution.
  3. Solution-Aware: A user who is looking for a specific solution but doesn’t know that your product provides it.
  4. Product-Aware: A user who knows what you sell, but isn’t yet ready to buy.
  5. The Most Aware: A user who already knows your product and is in the market to make a purchase.

Many of today’s buyers align with profile no. 3 – solution-aware. They often use searches such as “best budget hotel chains” or “top 10 travel agencies” because they care less about a specific provider and more about finding the right provider that will answer their specific needs at the best price point.

Brian Clark teaches you how to detect user intent and master intent marketing
Many of today’s buyers align with profile no. 3 – solution-aware.

These are the high-intent buyers, and the easiest ones to convert if companies can deliver the right information at the right time to help the consumer evaluate an offering and make a decision.

4. Simon Sinek – Ask Why, Not What

Simon Sinek has become well known for his Golden Circle theory, which was designed to help businesses understand how they can stand out from their competitors. The key is in being able to articulate why they do what they do – what their purpose is, or the true reason their organization exists. The what is the actual products or services that they sell.

Simon Sinek explains about intent marketing
Simon Sinek has become well known for his Golden Circle theory.

Now, if you take this principle and apply it to intent marketing, the same approach applies; companies should ask themselves: 

  1. Why are potential buyers behaving in a certain way? 
  2. Why are they using certain search keywords? 
  3. Why are they reading specific web pages? 

By understanding customer intent and pinpointing those potential buyers with a particularly high purchase propensity, companies can deliver the right content strategy and information needed for critical decision making.

Sinek’s theory is based on the notion that humans respond best to messages that target the brain’s center of emotion, behavior, and decision-making. That’s why asking “why?” rather than “what?” can better help companies target high-intent customers and drive more conversions.

Are You Ready to Create Your Own Killer Marketing Plan?

Let’s rehash what we’ve learned from these intent marketing gurus and how we can apply it:

  1. To rank higher in Google’s SERPs, create content that focuses on what customers really want and delivers value and engagement.
  2. Provide high-quality information that answers high intent search keywords. This enables users to easily find relevant and valuable responses to their queries.
  3. Tailor your content based on the potential buyer’s stage of awareness. A high intent user will enter search queries such as “best budget hotel chains” or “top 10 travel agencies.” They want information at their fingertips that will help them evaluate an offering and make a decision.

Deliver the right marketing strategy that leads to conversion by taking a deep dive into the human psyche and discovering the “why” behind your customers’ actions. Are you ready to create your own killer marketing plan? Let Natural Intelligence’s specialists help you get started. 

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