Most businesses have a general idea of the market they’re trying to reach but know very little about who their target audience is. For example, PPM works with enterprise-level businesses. This is our market. But that’s not necessarily our target audience.
When it comes to targeting an audience, we need to know a lot more specifics. They need to be enterprise-level businesses that have a particular amount of yearly revenue and are willing to spend a particular percentage of that revenue on digital marketing. Any enterprise-level business that doesn’t meet these criteria tends to not be a great client for us, for all sorts of reasons.
We know that we can help businesses of all sizes, and we typically do with various levels of engagement. But the companies that we know we can help the best tend to fit a specific profile.
But we can narrow that market down a bit more. Perhaps we want to work with enterprise businesses in a certain vertical. PPM tends to work with a lot of manufacturers. Perhaps we want to make manufacturers our target audience in order to get more of this business.
The question is, should we?
Note: I’m just using us as an example. Take what you learn here and apply it to your own business.
Use keyword research to help you find your target audience
We can do all sorts of research in understanding manufacturing. Or if we wanted to, we could zero in on a more specific sub-set of manufacturing. This data can be helpful in informing us of the needs, goals, and challenges manufacturers face. If all of that looks good to us, we might charge full steam ahead, changing our content, messaging, and visuals all to support our efforts in targeting this marketing.
But again, the question is, should we?
This is where keyword research can give you information that no other source does: How many searchers you might be able to attract.
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A quick look at the data tells me that the searches for manufacturer-related SEO are relatively non-existent. In fact, the closest results are for “industrial SEO” and even that is pretty minuscule.
Perhaps this isn’t a good market to target after all. Or at least not good enough to warrant a whole messaging and SEO makeover.
But what about you? Is there enough keyword volume to support focusing on a narrowly defined target audience? If you don’t know, you need to do your keyword research to see what that tells you.
Use keyword research to understand searcher intent
Search volume alone isn’t enough to base your decisions on. Take a look at the keywords being searched to see if you can learn more about the intent of the search.
Did you know that most searches are informational? That means that searchers are not looking for a product or service. They just want to learn something. You’ll need to weed out these keywords from your research data. Tip: They can be used later as part of your branding outreach, but only if you determine there’s enough transactional search volume to make it worthwhile.
You can learn a lot from searcher behavior and the keywords being used. For example, business people will search differently — and use different phrase variations — than students. And students will search differently from hobbyists, who will search differently from the information seekers mentioned above.
Even though the keywords match what you want to go after, you have to determine if the person behind any particular phrase truly is a potential customer.
We call this understanding searcher intent. A critical piece of knowledge before optimizing for any keyword phrase.
Keyword research is audience research
Audience research is critical to learning how to reach your customer. Keyword research is a critical part of that. Without this research, you’ll miss an important piece of the puzzle in understanding your audience. With it, you’ll find that you not only do a better job of targeting your audience but also increasing the value they receive when they visit your website.