In prior posts, I’ve talked before about keyword research and niche research, Unfortunately, a lot of training out there skips the step of explaining what these are and why they’re important. I’ve even heard people referring to their keywords instead of their niche. While they are connected, they are quite different.
What Are Your Keywords?
Keywords describe your business, what you’re selling, where you’re selling, and how you’re selling. This is important for two reasons.
First, you should be clear on what you’re selling and focus your marketing around that. You don’t want your Twitter account to mention widgets and your Facebook page to mention gadgets while you’re main web page discusses doohickeys. It’s important both for your buyer’s perception and for Google’s impression of you.
When Google is evaluating your site, it looks at your keywords and your social media. So it’s important that you put your best keyword forward. That being said, you can have other keywords.
Is your site is selling lower cost but unique light fixtures to homeowners who enjoy DIY or those who want to have a custom home but hire people to do the work or own rental homes and want to get a quantity discount, or all of the above? If you have all those keywords on your home page, Google won’t know who to send to your site. But if your main page is lower cost unique light fixtures, and then you have pages for DIY, custom decorating tips, and bulk purchasing, you can have a variety of keywords on your site without the confusion.
Buying and Researching Keywords
People search differently when they’re researching than when they’re buying. It’s important to know the difference. If you push for the sale when people are still researching, they won’t be happy. And if you keep offering research when people are ready to buy, they’ll go somewhere else to talk to someone who will sell it to them.
A researching keyword would be like “best first car for a teenager.” The searcher would expect to see blog posts or articles discussing things they hadn’t thought about yet like initial cost, maintenance costs, reliability, etc. This is where the potential buyer is figuring out what they know, what they don’t know, and what the next steps should be.
And that’s where you can enter in. It’s important to slowly build up a positive relationship with potential customers, and the sooner the better. You should have researched ideas for content and what problems they fun into. Then, when they find your site, you can offer them an ebook or email series that explains what they need to know and to do.
Buying keywords tend to be very specific. “Best DSLR camera for underwater” is a researching keyword. “Nauticam 7D Mark II housing” is close to being a buying keyword. “Nauticam 7D Mark II housing for sale” or “on sale” are definitely buying keywords.
What Is Your Niche
Your niche is your well defined market including who you’re going to sell it to as well as where you’re selling it. When you have defined your niche, you will know how your ideal customer will find you, and how much information they will want to make an informed decision. You will know exactly where to advertise to get their attention. You’ll know when to give information and what type to keep them moving along the sales process. This is sometimes called a “sales funnel.”
If you’re selling kitchen items to people living on their own the first time, you will want to find out what they’re searching on and provide them with what they need. I’m suspecting they’re searching on easy or foolproof recipes that don’t require more then the one pan they own. If you have a few impossible to mess up ones posted, they will probably hang around your site and read your reviews of slow cookers, stand mixers, etc. When you can get them to see themselves using what you’re recommending, then they will be ready to buy. The key is testing and figuring out what’s motivating your niche.
Once you get started, you then refine your niche and expand your products or services to better serve them. You do this through polls and other engagement techniques as well as using your analytics
You can also learn more about their hobbies and interests using Facebook’s ad system. When you get to a certain number of page likes, you can get expanded metrics that include other fan pages that your tribe likes.
What Are Buying Cycles?
Ok now we’re going back to marketing When you go from a potential customer potentially being interested in your product or service through where they’re ready to buy is a sales funnel. You want to get them the right information at the right place in time to help move them along.
A sales funnel could also be called a sales cycle, but generally the sales cycle is a part of the sales funnel. In the sales funnel, you have people entering and dropping out. In the cycle, you’re defining the research keywords through buying keywords. When people talk about sales cycles, they often talk about the three phases.
- Beginning of buying cycle – buyers start with basic research about the products or services. i.e. “printer reviews” “luxury sedan comparisons” “wine refrigerators for apartments”
- Mid-stages of buying cycle – buyers are narrowing their online searches. “color laser printers” “audi sedans under $55,000” “12 bottle wine refrigerator”
- Final stage of buying cycle – most marketers focus only on this final stage where the customer is ready to buy. This is a mistake since you want to be in a solid relationship with the buyer by this time so it makes sense to only buy from you.
How Do You Build the Relationship?
This is why it’s important to do your homework. When you know about your ideal customer, you can enter into a relationship with them when they’re first looking around. You can have the authority website that captures their email address. You can have the active Facebook group that helps answer their pre-sales questions.
The email address really is key to get. Then you set up an email series to send them regular information about what they’re researching. You could send them notes about how to use the product or service, or notifications that you just published a YouTube video showing them how to use it.
The key is to get them excited and visualizing that they’re using your product or service. They can achieve that goal and get rid of that pain that’s been bothering them. And you’re there to help them. You’re there to guide them.
Just don’t sell to them. Remember, people love to buy but hate to be sold.