We’ve talked before about niche research, and I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of keywords. But sometimes training skips the step of explaining what they are and why they’re important. I’ve even heard people referring to their keywords instead of their niche. They are different although they are connected.
What Is a Niche
Your niche is your well defined market. It goes beyond just what you’re selling and defines who you’re going to sell it to as well as where you’re selling it. We’ve talked about sales funnels. When you have defined your niche, you will know how your ideal customer will find you, and how much information they will want to make an informed decision. You will know exactly where to advertise to get their attention.
For example, if you’re selling bridal accessories to first time brides age 27-47. Through testing, you figure out your ideal customer will first search on Google for your product, and then look at review and comparison sites as well as read reviews. So you learn how to advertise through hooks that sound like you’re talking to them. “Planning your Spring wedding?” “Looking for the perfect necklaces to give to your bridesmaids?”
Once you get started, you can refine your niche and expand your products or services to better serve them. You do this through polls and other engagement techniques.
You can also learn more about their hobbies and interests using Facebook’s ad system. When you get to a certain number of page likes, you can get expanded metrics that include other fan pages that your tribe likes.
What Are Your Keywords?
Keywords are the way to describe your business. They describe what you’re selling. If you’re a local business, it also describes where you’re selling it.
This is important for two reasons.
First, you should be clear on what you’re selling and focus your marketing around that. You don’t want your Twitter account to mention widgets and your Facebook page to mention gadgets while you’re main web page discusses doohickeys. It’s important both for your buyer’s perception and for Google’s impression of you.
When Google is evaluating your site, it looks at your keywords and your social media. So it’s important that you put your best keyword forward. That being said, you can have other keywords.
For example, if your site is selling lower cost but unique light fixtures to homeowners who enjoy DIY or want to have a custom home but hire people to do the work or own rental homes and want to get a quantity discount, Google won’t know who to send to your site. But if your main page is lower cost unique light fixtures, and then you have pages for DIY, custom decorating tips, and bulk purchasing, you can have a variety of keywords on your site without muddying things up.
Buying vs. Researching
People search on different terms when they’re researching than when they’re ready to pull out that credit card to buy. And it’s important to know the difference. If you push for the sale when people are still researching, they won’t be happy. And if you keep offering research when people are ready to buy, they’ll go somewhere else.
A researching keyword would be like “best television to take to college.” The searcher would expect to see reviews and comparisons and maybe blog posts from college students about what television they brought and why it failed or succeeded.
You should be researching as well for ideas for content. Google likes when websites have useful content as well as sales options. Look for problems and write a blog post on how to plan ahead or what you need to know or FAQs. In the case of the television, I didn’t bring one when I went off to college, and I couldn’t have hung one in my college dorm because the walls were made out of concrete.
Buying keywords tend to be very specific. “Best DSLR camera for underwater” is a researching keyword. “Nauticam 7D Mark II housing” probably is a buying keyword, and “Nauticam 7D Mark II housing for sale” or “on sale” are definitely buying keywords.
So What Are Buying Cycles?
Ok now we’re going back to marketing When you go from a potential customer potentially being interested in your product or service through where they’re ready to buy is a sales funnel. You want to get them the right information at the right place in time to help move them along.
A sales funnel could also be called a sales cycle, but generally the sales cycle is a part of the sales funnel. In the sales funnel, you have people entering and dropping out. In the cycle, you’re defining the research keywords through buying keywords. When people talk about sales cycles, they often talk about the three phases.
- Beginning of buying cycle – buyers start with basic research about the products or services. i.e. “printer reviews” “luxury sedan comparisons” “wine refrigerators for apartments”
- Mid-stages of buying cycle – buyers are narrowing their online searches. “color laser printers” “audi sedans under $55,000” “12 bottle wine refrigerator”
- Final stage of buying cycle – most marketers focus only on this final stage where the customer is ready to buy. This is a mistake since you want to be in a solid relationship with the buyer by this time so it makes sense to only buy from you.
How Do You Build the Relationship?
This is why it’s important to do your homework. When you know about your ideal customer, you can enter into a relationship with them when they’re first looking around. You can have the authority website that captures their email address. You can have the active Facebook group that helps answer their pre-sales questions.
The email address really is key to get. Then you set up an autoresponder to send them regular information about what they’re researching. You could send them notes about how to use the product or service, or notifications that you just published a YouTube video showing them how to use it.
The key is to get them excited and visualizing that they’re using your product or service. They can achieve that goal and get rid of that pain that’s been bothering them. And you’re there to help them. You’re there to guide them.
Just don’t sell to them. Remember, people love to buy but hate to be sold.