The Holy Grail of marketing is to give everyone the right message about the right product at the right moment. When this goal is reached and a formula of sorts is found, we can say that a marketer’s job becomes obsolete. However, marketers need not fear, because we are nowhere close to that moment.
We are, however, capable of advancing marketing techniques and combining them with data to create a new breed: intent marketing. Instead of giving a cold and bare definition of the term, let us imagine that you are sharing a piece of content on a topic that someone was actually thinking about.
Since you are not a magician who can read thoughts, you may wonder: how did this perfect match happen? The answer is: you were actively researching what the person is interested in, what they intend to read, do and buy online and you realised that they were interested in the said topic.
This is, in a nutshell, intent marketing: using customer and market research data to predict the general trend of your target customers’ interests and needs.
For all Intents and Purposes? Not Exactly!
The important aspect marketers need to understand is that there are a lot of trends going on at the same time, among the same group of customers. “Oh, so it is a lot of work, creating messages for each separate trend.”
No–that is not the answer. There is hard work indeed, but this should be focused on the right kind of trends, on the right kind of intents. There are shallow intents and there are deep intents.
Shallow intents are those related to mere curiosity—who is the oldest person on Earth? How high is Mount Everest? When people type this kind of questions in Google, they are probably engaged in a debate with friends. Once the topic is closed, the intent disappears.
Deep intent creates questions which need detailed, complex answers. For instance: how can I grow productivity without hiring more people? Or: what software and tools do I need to open a SEO business? People who ask these kind of questions are not simply curious: they have a FURTHER intent in mind. This further intent is what you are after: the chance to get them to buy the products answering their needs and questions.
What Kind of Data Helps Create an Intent Marketing Strategy?
We talked about the fact that intent marketing is based on data. What kind of data are we talking about? There are many sources you must use:
1. Keyword Search Tools
In order to match your content with intent, you need to use the right keywords, the ones a regular user types in Google. Google’s own keyword search tool is very helpful—it gives you all the possible combinations of search terms used by actual people when searching for your product or service.
And when you find the right combination between search volume and competition, stop and think about the true intent of the keyword. Does it refer to a stringent need? To a future need? Does it add value to a customer’s life or is it a basic necessity? Understanding the intent will shape your content.
2. Website Data
Website analytics holds a wealth of information for intent marketing. For one, you can pull all the search term used by visitors in the Search box of the website. Another valuable piece of information is the order in which they navigated through the website, the time spent on each page and the page they were browsing when they left the website.
3. Sales Data
The data you get from the sales department says a lot about trends. Some products become more popular, while others are less in demand. If we are not talking about seasonal products or products with a long term of use, these fluctuations are significant from the point of view of intent.
4. Social Media Data
This is yet another rich source of data. What are your most popular posts? What made them popular? Did they create a lively conversation with a thought provoking question? Did they generate a lot of shares because the information was new and interesting?
As a side note, add your social media ads analytics to the data collected on your account activity. The responses to ad campaigns are just as relevant as the way people interact with posts on your pages.
5. Blog Data
This is a little different from website data. What you want to observe in detail is how visitors consume your content. Are they subscribers? Do they land on your blog page from a social media share? How many articles do they read in average during a browsing session?
Once you have this data, you will start the truly hard work: sifting through it, finding deep intents and creating the right content to answer to them. Good luck!