As marketers, we know how important it is to inform our decisions with market insight, but accessing that insight can take time. Now you’ll learn about a quick way of doing really valuable research without leaving your desk.
Prior to any marketing activity, it’s really important to do some research on your audience. Marketing campaigns should be based on a ‘core of truth’ that you know about your intended market. This core might be a change in the market, a failure in a competitive product or even a new emerging challenger. The core of truth is something you can build your campaign around and just to develop messaging. As marketers, we need to take that core of truth and expand on it. We need to do primary and secondary research to focus our marketing message.
Now, wouldn’t it be great if you could get into the mind of your intended audience to see how they’re thinking about the challenge they face around the core of truth you have found? This is where keyword research comes in. Keyword research is one of the most powerful tools in your market research toolkit. It’s powerful because you can easily access data generated by the billions of searches performed across the world. It’s often overlooked as something too technical. Well, keyword research can help beyond the realm of SEO.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the common phrase used to classify a form of research which attempts to determine what keywords and terms people are using in search. People type in a search into Google when trying to solve a problem, lookup information or do a task. All this information is captured and is the basis of keyword research.
Wondering what to name a product, how to describe a challenge or even what to put in the headline of your press release? With keyword research you could open up your favourite keyword research tool and do some quick market research.
What does keyword research tell you?
Keyword research gives you a wealth of information, here are a few examples:
- How big is the potential market?
- What is the country by country variation in the market size?
- What terms are people using to search for their challenge?
- Who are the main competitors?
- What terms are competitors prioritising?
How can you use this information in your campaigns?
Traditionally keyword research is thought of as being just for SEO or paid search advertising. That may be true but think about what this means. In both cases the aim is to connect with what people thinking, because it’s how they are searching. If you know what your intended audience is thinking, how could you use this to inform your activity?
You could use keyword research for:
- Campaign messaging because you know how people are thinking about a problem
- Copy and content because you can align your answer to how your prospects are searching for a challenge
- Email subject lines because you know which phrases may stand out in the busy inbox and capture the attention of your prospect.
The list goes on but anywhere you need to resonate with your audience keyword research can help.
Why is keyword research a valuable tool for market analysis?
Did you know that there are 63,000 searches per second on Google? Almost every buying journey whether B2C or B2B begins with a search. People search for the challenges, people search for brands people search when they can’t remember the URL of a particular webpage. As a marketer being able to research using those 63,000 searches per second gives us immense insight into our market.
Most organizations are guilty of thinking very internally about their external messaging. When naming a product, when structuring the website or creating content the fingerprints of internal thinking is usually all over it. Keyword research helps us to move away from that internal thinking by revealing our external audience is not only thinking but also representing those thoughts when they searching.
When thinking about how people search it’s easy to assume that people use only two or three terms. As marketers we can be guilty of only targeting this very top of the funnel. 50% of search queries are actually four words or longer. The longer a search term the greater the buying intent. Keyword research reveals the terms people look for and think about when they are ready to buy. This helps marketers think down the funnel rather than at the top.
How to quickly inform your next marketing decision using keyword research
Many of the tasks the modern marketer needs to perform include creating content. The modern marketer is challenged with needing to empathise as much as possible with the audience so that the message resonates. Here’s an example of how you might do keyword research when thinking about the subject of your next blog post.
Open up a keyword research tool such as SEMrush. Type in the topic you want to write about. Let’s assume I want to write an article about network security. You can just type in your search below.
In the overview tab of SEMrush, you’ll be shown searches that use the same terms (phrase match) and terms that are related to your search (Related Keywords). Without going any further, we can see that we could write about network security keys or even answer the specific question “what is a network security key”.
In the overview tab I can also see what pages are ranking well in the search results for a given term. When doing keyword research it’s important to see who is ranking for similar terms. This is a good starting point for doing more competitor research.
Finally, to get the creative juices flowing I can see what kind of ad copy competitors are using when targeting similar phrases.
As you can see just by doing rapid keyword research to inform my marketing activity I’ve been able to go from a generic term through to a term which is a lot more focused. I can see who’s ranking in the search results and I’ve been able to review the copy others are using in their ads.
In our next article, we’ll run through how to do keyword research in a niche B2B market. If you want to go ahead try a keyword research tool then you could start with SEMrush.