Recently I was lucky enough to attend the Search Engine Journal Summit in Chicago. After a day’s worth of technical SEO advice, the conversation eventually turned to emerging trends in digital marketing. One of the panelists blew me away when he said, “The future of search will be verbs.”
He went on to clarify that verbs signify searcher intent. And then he started talking about Google’s micro-moments.
If you’re not familiar with micro-moments, they’re a key part of Google’s recent focus on optimizing the paid mobile advertising experience. The idea is that, due to the ubiquity of mobile devices in our lives, marketers have the capability to reach potential customers at each of the hundreds (thousands?) of moments that influence their buying decisions.
In these moments, customers might be thinking:
I want to …
As Google says, nobody wakes up in the morning with their credit card in their hand. So rather than focusing exclusively on “I want to buy” moments, where the competition is fierce, marketers can position themselves in the buyer’s journey sooner by looking for “I want to learn/do/go” moments.
Win those moments, and you’re much more likely to win the customer when he/she is actually ready to buy.
What are the questions your customers are asking in these must-win moments?
In search, context is king
Consider, for example, two scenarios:
“I will be in Boston next week and will need a hotel.”
“I am in Boston now and need a hotel tonight.”
Same search, but completely different search strategy.
Every searcher has a story. As an X, I want to Y, so I can Z. It’s up to you to find out what those stories are.
It’s not enough to simply be there at the right moment. You have to be useful at the right moment. Think about ways your brand can help solve a problem or make life easier for that specific searcher.
For instance, if you run a Boston-area Holiday Inn, your search strategy might focus on capturing business travelers with last-minute plans. What content can you create to help these travelers? If you’re the Hilton, you might focus more on convention attendees. What content will help them?
Here’s another example – but this time fill in the blank:
“As a _____, I need a website so I can sell my products.”
What happens if the blank is “As a home-based jewelry maker …”? You get a clear idea of what that searcher might need. But start that sentence with “As an enterprise-level equipment manufacturer …” and everything changes.
Choose the right focus
Focusing on micro-moments also serves as an important reminder not to focus on your own needs as a business, but on the needs of your customers. Too many marketers are completely absorbed in the “How do I …?” questions, when instead they should be asking “What do they …?” What do your customers want? Need? Expect?
The exciting thing is that these micro-moments aren’t just limited to B2C mobile marketing. Micro-moments can – and should – drive your entire B2B SEO strategy.
There is a problem, though. With so many micro-moments, how do you choose the right ones?
Through content mapping.
Create content that spans the entire journey of micro-moments that the customer experiences. And pay careful attention to how one step in that journey leads to the next. Don’t just throw content at your customers willy-nilly. After all, you wouldn’t want to hit a customer with an “I want to buy” content experience if they’re still in an “I want to know” moment.
Pull it all together with a smarter platform
An inbound marketing approach, coupled with the right marketing automation, can provide a platform to lead your customers through these micro-moments that make up their buying journey.
By combining thoughtfully created content with specific calls-to-action, landing pages, email marketing and lead nurturing strategies, you can create a series of content pathways that lead your customer from “I want to learn”, to “I want to do”, to eventually, “I want to buy.”
Related Content: Why a HubSpot Website Is Your #1 Marketing Tool
Ultimately, the panel of experts at the SEJ Summit all agreed on one key point: As technical as SEO has become, why people search for things hasn’t changed. Your customers don’t want just words on a page.
They want a solution to their problems.
Use Google’s micro-moments to figure out each searcher’s story, and use that insight to drive an SEO strategy that delivers the content your customers need, at the precise moments they need it.
To manage the search strategy required to win these micro-moments, use our SEO toolkit and keep your conversations on track and moving forward.