By Dave Tan, VP, Content Solutions
If you have been reading my posts for a bit, I tend to go on and on about consumer research. It’s a very important step before starting any digital engagement, whether it be search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, or digital strategy. Whether or not you have done this already, I certainly recommend delving into search and consumer data to get a fresh unbiased point of view about how consumers are presently searching about your products. It’s what I wrote about recently here.
I bring this up today only because I continue to be mystified at times after more than a few meetings where I have seen a consistency on the corporate side to think of their brands/services/product offerings only in their insular brand lingo or industry speak. I know this is quite hard for all marketers to do. We all get caught up in industry lingo and our own special vernacular when it relates to what we love and cherish the most. It is our industry and institutional knowledge showing, which is fantastic.
However, that insular knowledge interrupts the consumer awareness process if we let it get to far. I have found that the struggle to make the conversion to consumer speak is quite hard. Consumers don’t always catch on if brands want to talk about widget XYZ and all the great bells and whistles unless the brands communicates that widgets XYZ solves consumer problem 1. This also applies to our own ecosystem of search marketing, where we can very much talk amongst ourselves in our own special language.
How do you break through the brand speak? Research and research. Its part of the overall wash rinse and repeat mantra we have here at Resolution Media. So, let’s get into a few suggestions that won’t break any marketing budgets.
One step is to research into how consumers think about your particular service or product offering. Again, go to Google Insights and look at search volume. Go to SEMRush and look at organic keywords to your site. Use your internal site analytics. Most importantly, get the data that shows how consumers get to your sites or your products.
Another step is to look at your content and how you are interacting and conversing with your consumers. Use tools like Wordle or SEOmoz’s word Extractor to create a word cloud or plain text descriptions of all the text you have on your pages. I have found this to be a very handy way to visually show to marketers how they are speaking to consumers and especially how much weight (aka how loud they are shouting at consumers) those words have. The next step would be to hand that word cloud output to a consumer who doesn’t know anything about your business and see if the largest words resonate with them. If your word cloud/content resonates, then you are spot on, but if not, then you may have some work cut out for you.
These are not all the steps to be successful, but they are helpful guideposts to give you a look into the consumer perspective, as well as your consumer-facing web presence and how they intertwine. This is not to say that you can’t change how consumers think about your brands or services eventually through your marketing campaigns and web site. As we all know, even $100 million in advertising spend can change some entrenched search behavior. For those of you who don’t have $100 million, there are also many other ways too, so get going on research as a start and see what comes out.
By Dave Tan, VP, Content Solutions