Intent marketing is more than just a buzzword used by digital marketers. The truth is any brand can employ intent marketing to attract high-intent users to their website. All that’s needed is an understanding of search trends and a willingness to treat customers based on what they want rather than who they are.
With the Fourth of July coming up, let’s look at what intent marketing could do for a small American business selling firecrackers or grills.
Intent Marketing is About… Attracting Users at the Moment of Intent
When done right, intent marketing gets more accurate results than demographic marketing because it casts a tighter net. Demographic marketing targets specific segments like females or males, young or old people, or homeowners or renters. The problem with demographic marketing is it only achieves limited conversions unless the targets are ready to purchase. Intent marketing targets users at the moment of purchase intent, leading to higher conversions.
For sellers of firecrackers or grills in the US, the period leading up to the Fourth of July is the time of highest intent. Search queries related to fire crackers go up 6-fold in the week of the Fourth of July and 3-fold in the week prior to that, Natural Intelligence has found using data from Google Trends. Searches for “grills,” “barbecues,” “barbeques,” and “bbqs” go up roughly 30% in May and June before peaking on July 4.
Popular firecracker-related search terms include “buy firecrackers,” “best firecrackers,” and “firecrackers near me.” The most popular search term is actually “weed firecrackers,” which is related to the marijuana industry rather than the firecracker industry. The English language is full of double meanings, so it’s worth taking a moment to think about which search terms pertain to your brand.
Searches for grills divide fairly evenly between branded and non-branded queries. Popular branded queries include “Barbeques Galore” and “Home Depot bbq.” Non-branded queries include “best grills” (or “best bbqs,” “best barbecues,” “best barbeques”), “gas grills,” “wood grills,” “charcoal grills,” and “propane grills.” Again, language is important. The singular “barbecue” refers to barbecue restaurants, while the plural “barbecues” refers to barbecue equipment. Terms like “best,” “buy,” and “compare” signal high purchase intent.
Brands can attract high-intent clicks via 2 avenues: organic search and paid search. There are numerous things a brand can do to improve their search engine ranking and attract more organic search, such as optimizing their site for mobile, speeding up their website, and generating backlinks. As for paid search, the higher the demand for a keyword, the more it costs to bid for that keyword on Google Ads. Queries like “buy firecrackers” and “best grills” undoubtedly become more expensive in the period leading up to the Fourth of July. Each business must make a cost assessment as to the value of bidding for these keywords. They should also consider which keywords signal high purchase intent but low brand consideration. For these keywords, it might make more sense to them be featured on comparison websites or partner with influencers.
Intent Marketing is About… Responding to User Queries
Of course, there’s no point paying for users if your brand’s website isn’t set up to respond to their queries. Engaging content that educates, entertains or otherwise gives value to users, helping them in their mission to compare products, offers the best odds of converting.
As we noted in a recent blog post about attracting high-intent users in the mortgage industry, lenders that are transparent about rates and fees have a better chance of converting. Natural Intelligence doesn’t deal with firecrackers or grills and doesn’t claim to be an expert in these industries. The good news is it doesn’t take an expert to know what users are looking for. All you need is the search queries.
Judging by the search queries for firecrackers, users want to know which types of firecrackers are best and which businesses sell firecrackers nearby. Therefore, firecracker businesses must design their website in a way that makes it easy for visitors to compare firecrackers, with key information (presumably firepower, volume, and type of special effect) clearly listed. Given the importance of proximity to firecracker consumers, websites should clearly display the business address (perhaps with a map) and information about delivery speeds and locations.
As for barbecues, the search queries indicate that many people know what type they are looking for, e.g. gas, charcoal, propane, wood. Therefore, barbecue sellers should design their website so that people can search by category. Gas grills should appear under “gas,” charcoal grills under “charcoal” and so on. A good search campaign would direct users who searched for “gas grills” directly to a page showing gas grills. Content is another good way of attracting users and addressing their queries. If we were running a barbecue website, one of the first things we’d do is publish an article titled “Gas grills vs. charcoal grills.”
Intent Marketing Only Works If… Customers Find it Easy to Convert
You’ve found high-intent users and responded to their queries. There’s only one thing left to do: get them to convert. Each industry is subtly different, but the golden rule is to make the journey to the checkout as smooth as possible. Some tricks can be used to good effect across all businesses. For example, Natural Intelligence has found that adding a click-to-call button is an effective way of converting mobile users into buyers.
If your business has the resources, it pays to analyze user behavior. When running analytics, analyzing the users that don’t convert is just as important as analyzing the users that do. Understanding the users who bounce off your home page is helpful in preparing for repeat visits and the next batch of first-time visitors.
We can only guess what a firecracker or grill business would learn from analyzing user behavior. Whatever the lessons, these businesses would have plenty of time to improve their website before the next Fourth of July rolls round.