B2B marketing campaigns (and websites) often look like embellished product brochures.
“Look at our shiny offer, it has more widgets than theirs.”
The focus is on the features and benefits of the offer, with no regard for where the prospect is on their buying journey, or why they should care about the particular offer.
Based on real-world data, Intent-Based Marketing introduces the sensible departure point of “User Search Intent” and helps you to build campaigns that resonate with your audience at every stage in their buying journey.
MOST BUYING JOURNEYS START ON GOOGLE
When we first become aware of a need or requirement that needs to be addressed, most of us enter a search term in Google Search to see how best we might address the issue at hand.
If the results that show up are relevant to our search query, they usually get our full and undivided attention, because at that moment, we are emotionally invested and motivated to learn about, find, compare or buy the thing we’re looking for.
The search results that address our query the best potentially have the power to shape the rest of our buying journey.
This is the essence of Intent-Based Marketing; to show up organically at the moment when there is a high motivation to satisfy a particular need or requirement.
PEOPLE NEED DIFFERENT THINGS AT DIFFERENT STAGES IN THE BUYING JOURNEY
As shown in our article on the typical B2B Customer Journey, prospects need different things as different stages of the buying process.
THE INTENT DISCOVERY PROCESS
Intent discovery is done through keyword research. With a sophisticated tool like Semrush, you can quickly see what keywords people are using and then deduce their Search Intent from there.
To illustrate the point, let’s look at how user Search Intent becomes clearer as we explore some ideas around “digital marketing” as a concept.
Globally, over 828K people enter the phrase “digital marketing” into their web browser every month and hit “SEARCH”. Most of them are located in India (301K), followed by USA (135K) and Indonesia (40K)
The keyword difficulty is at 100%, which makes “digital marketing” an extremely difficult keyword to rank for.
More importantly though, what are these people looking for?
- Do they want to learn about digital marketing?
- Are they looking for digital marketing agencies?
- Are they looking for the latest trends in digital marketing?
- Do they want to be digital marketing influencers?
It’s hard to tell, isn’t it?
It is virtually impossible to deduce what the search intent of “digital marketing” is, so as a digital marketing agency, it makes no sense for us to develop content to target this keyword.
“b2b digital marketing”
What can we learn from this keyword query?
The search volume is a lot less than for “digital marketing”, and we can assume that these people are interested in B2B Digital Marketing.
The keyword difficulty of 48% might tempt you to develop some content around this keyword, but what will you be optimizing for?
- An educational article about the nature of B2B digital marketing?
- A B2B digital marketing product page?
- A market trend piece on B2B digital marketing?
As before, it is not easy to derive the Search Intent from this keyword.
“b2b digital marketing agency”
With this keyword, search volume is even lower, the keyword difficulty is a bit higher, but the Search Intent is much clearer.
We could deduce that someone entering “b2b digital marketing agency” in their browser works for a B2B company, and they are looking for digital marketing agencies who specialize in B2B services.
If you were a Digital Marketing Agency specializing in B2B services, it would make sense for you to develop content optimized for this keyword.
If someone lands on your page from this query, chances are high that you are going to be addressing their Search Intent.
If you address their Search Intent, they will stay on your page for a longer period of time, which will be a signal to Google that your page is a good match for the Search Query, which will improve your search engine ranking, which will lead to more traffic etc etc
“b2b digital marketing agency sydney”
If you were a B2B digital Marketing Agency based in Sydney, Australia, you would want to optimize for this keyword, because the 40 people in the USA who enter this keyword in their browser every month have a crystal clear Search Intent.
They are looking for a B2B Digital Marketing Agency in Sydney Australia to do some work for them.
The examples above show the importance of the Intent Discovery process. If you take the time to do this well, you will be laying a strong foundation for your digital marketing campaigns.
INTENT-BASED MARKETING ASSETS HAVE LONG TERM VALUE
When you develop content around Search Intent, you are providing value to people, regardless of the offers that you are taking to market. You are providing value before you are asking people to buy from you.
These assets are evergreen in nature, and will serve you well over the long term. You can create social media campaigns around them and keep refining them to better educate and inform your audience.
Investing in Intent-Based Marketing assets is one of the smartest strategies a company can follow to grow their niche authority with their target audience.