Content may be king but the consumer is at the center of everything. This shift from static content to dynamic consumer has become more evident by the latest efforts by the big search engines to create a more real-time, interactive, and dynamic search experience. This emphasis focuses on predicting the motivations of the inquirer’s online behavior before displaying the search results. How does their shift from the static to the behavior inform the type of strategies that online companies should use in their marketing efforts? It simply boils down to needing to understand the target consumer on both a static profile level and a real-time, behavioral level.
Initially, the task of a marketing strategy was to create a profile of the target consumer.
- income range
- skill level
An accurate consumer profile permitted the marketing team to gear the language to the level of the consumer. In addition, this information helped ascertain the best marketing approach whether it be via e-mails, print, radio, or social media. In addition, the marketer would make assumptions about whether the target consumer would best respond to ads conveying a sense of attitude, value, pleasure, sentimentality, or any other specific quality based upon the age and income range.
Many companies, recognizing the value of this information, solicit a general profile through customer surveys, through the membership enrollment process, and through sweepstakes entry forms. Some of this information is also gleaned through a questionnaire or a discount code extended while following up on the purchasing experience of a customer. However, the customer profile, although still a valuable tool, provides a more static depiction of those individuals that the marketing team is trying to reach. For this reason, information beyond just a customer profile need to be incorporated into the marketing strategy.
Customer behavior adds an important new layer to getting to know the company’s target customer. Understanding why and how the consumer arrived at purchasing a product is equally important to a company’s success and growth. When a product transaction occurs face-to-face those types of questions can be immediately asked. In the virtual world of online business, that type of information is a bit more elusive.
Google recognizes the importance of understanding consumer behavior that leads to conversion and has created effective behavior analysis tools like Search Funnels. Google explains that “Search Funnels can help you understand how users search for your products before converting so that you can optimize these conversion paths.” Google describes Search Funnels as “[a] set of reports describing the Google.com search ad click and impression behavior leading up to a conversion.” Notice the action words of “how users search” and “impression behavior.”
Obviously, efforts to simply identify the stagnant characteristics of the target audience are no longer enough – at least not in the online world. It’s no longer a question of who but a question of how.
- How Does my target consumer shop?
- Does my consumer research before buying? What is the time lag between first click and conversion?
- Is my consumer an impulse shopper or a methodical shopper?
- What type of path does my shopper follow before converting?
Understanding your customer at a behavioral level can help make better, more effective campaign management and content decisions. You may discover that a certain content keyword, previously considered ineffective in leading to a conversion or a sale, actually plays a key role in that conversion simply because of its role in search assists. Much like basketball players get credit for having made the pass that led to a basket, keywords that led to a conversion should be credited for their role as well. Those keywords may not have been the last click at a point of sale, but they may have been the keywords that consistently lead the consumer to the purchase. Understanding how your target consumer interacts with various online ads also helps the management team identify where they can make the best use of their advertising money.
In conclusion, once the profile and behavior of your target customer has been established, great care should also be made in assuring the quality of the content put into your marketing materials. Much like the outsourcing of profile and behavioral analytical services is beneficial to a company wanting to make an accurate depiction of their target consumer, outsourcing copywriting services also assures that the company’s marketing materials will appeal to both the search engines and the consumer. We, at My Web Writers, can generate all of the quality content that you need for your blogs, social media feeds, articles, white pages, e-mail campaigns, product pages, and more.