When learning how to market to a target audience, you often hear about capturing, nurturing, and converting leads. But the type of lead you’re trying to capture is just as important as what you’re doing to turn leads into customers. For instance, someone who is ready to follow you on social media doesn’t want the same content as someone prepared to choose between you and your competitor. The latter are those who have purchase intent. So, what is purchase intent, and how can you understand it better to target keywords that impact your bottom line? We’ll go through everything you need to know in this post.
What Is Purchase Intent?
Purchase intent in digital marketing is the intention a user has when performing a particular behavior that can lead to their decision to buy a product. We measure purchase intent when assessing what leads do as they become aware of the product, consider purchasing it, and finally decide.
How do you know whether there is a strong purchase intent in a user’s behavior? Let’s take behavior on search engines as an example. Imagine that someone is strongly considering buying a home. They’re much more likely to search “real estate agents in [insert city]” than they are to look up “good investment ideas.” They have a solid intention to buy a house because they’ve already decided that’s the investment they’d like to make.
Learning about the keywords your leads use to search when they’re ready to buy will allow you to capture them at the right time.
Buyer Intent Keywords
Buyer intent keywords are the queries users make as they try to finalize a purchase. Every industry has its own buyer intent keywords. These will differ according to how close the lead is to making a purchase decision. That’s why it’s essential to understand the keywords targeted and used by competitors and leads, especially those right before a sale. After all, you don’t want to be spending your money targeting ads with a keyword that isn’t relevant to your audience.
Making a list of those buyer intent keywords that make a difference in sales can be vital in capturing more of those leads before they decide not to buy — or worse, to buy from your competitor. Then, you’ll want to target those keywords to appear on search both organically and via search engine marketing (SEM) and advertising.
Understanding Keywords vs. Queries
Though they’re often used by marketing professionals interchangeably, there is a difference between keywords and queries. Here’s how you can understand the distinction:
Think of keywords as ideal queries. If we were all great with words, logical, and well-versed in the industry, we’d use these words to search. For the example we’ve been using, let’s say it’s maybe “real estate agent commissions” or “real estate agent criteria” — simple terms that are easy and to the point.
Search queries are a bit different. Think of queries as the natural way people search, often with a string of words or a question. So, instead of “real estate commissions,” we might see searches like “what percentage of sales do real estate agents get?” and instead of “real estate agent criteria,” perhaps “how to choose a real estate agent.”
Understanding both keywords and search queries will help you with your search engine marketing.
How SEM Can Help You Target Leads With Purchase Intent
Search Engine Marketing is a fantastic way of reaching and capturing leads who are ready to buy. SEM entails choosing which keywords you think will appear in the queries your leads are making before purchasing. Next, creating search ads around those keywords and finally setting up a budget to bid on them. You’ll tell search engines how much you’re willing to pay to get a click when leads search those words. The search engine will then charge you only for the clicks you get. Depending on whether the keyword is competitive — and buyer intent keywords generally are — you may have to increase your pay-per-click spending.
By finding users with buyer intent keywords, you’re meeting the user where they are as they’re practically ready with their credit card out. Make the right impression, and they’ll choose you.
Here are some of the top benefits of SEM:
- Reach leads with geo-targeting (potential clients in your area)
- Easy-to-manage ads
- Pay-per-action options allow for cost-effective ads
- Increased traffic and awareness
Now that you understand SEM a bit better and why it’s a good tool to capture purchase intent leads, let’s learn about types of search queries.
Types of Buyer Intent Keywords
Buyer intent keywords aren’t all the same. There are different levels of purchase intent that we can determine based on the queries leads are making. As they prepare to buy and weigh their options, highly engaged leads will change their online searches to find what they’re looking for. They might be looking directly for a product page to check out or even just for more information. Let’s learn more about them below:
Buy Now Keywords
It’s not shocking to learn that “buy now” keywords mean that the lead is ready to make a purchase. At this stage, they have almost all of the information they need and are simply looking for the best vendor who will sell it to them.
Product keywords, on the other hand, aren’t quite “credit card in hand” searches. In this case, the purchase intent is lower as the lead is ready to find options to solve their problem. We’ll often observe lots of uses of “top [insert product or service here]” searches to learn about recommendations.
This type of search intent keyword is one of the most competitive because you’ll see almost everyone in your industry competing for it. If you decide against trying to bid on product keywords, you can always try organic search options by writing blog content to target the keyword or try to get on third-party lists that are ranking organically.
Informational keywords are the least likely to lead directly to a sale of the three types of keywords. They often center around a problem more than a product. Focusing on what problems your service or product solves for users can help you find informational keywords to target.
Since informational keywords are higher in the sales funnel, you’ll just be reaching people who realize they have a problem but don’t quite know how to solve it. Since these leads haven’t learned much about the solutions, they’re unlikely to choose an answer right away. They’ll likely need to be nurtured and converted over time, maybe with email marketing.
Turning Search Intent Insights Into Action
Purchase intent is how you measure just how ready potential customers are to buy. By learning about and understanding leads’ queries, you can target them with keywords and ad content that suits their needs better. For instance, when addressing someone with an informational query, you don’t want to push them towards a sale. Instead, you want to inform them about the solutions available to them, including, of course, your product or service.
For “buy now” and “product” keywords, you’ll direct leads towards purchase by adding a bit more about why you’re the best vendor and why you’re among the most respected in the industry. Positioning your product or service as one of the most commonly used or recommended can greatly impact the number of conversions you get.
To turn these search intent insights into tangible action steps, it’s essential to plan your ads, organic content, and outreach to third-party websites and reviewers. These three methods will help you approach your most important keywords to increase traffic and capture leads at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Start Capturing Leads With Buyer Intent Keywords
Now that you understand buyer intent keywords and how they impact how you reach leads on search engines, start brainstorming how you’ll put a plan together.
You can start by researching keyword volume and how competitive they are. Consider surveying your current users about what queries they used to find and learn more about you. Once you have these, prioritize the ones that are most likely to show the results you want. These results could be email contacts, purchases, or even social media follows.
Finally, separate all your keywords into buy now, product, and informational categories to start planning the content that will be most appropriate for reaching each type of lead. You can use SEM, blogging, and public relations to reach leads in every stage of their online search, positioning yourself as the most suitable option when it comes to buying.
If this sounds like more work than you have the resources to take on internally, or you could use a hand, consider outsourcing the work. Redstitch is a digital marketing agency that can step in to help you grow your conversions. Contact us today to learn more.