Sneaky Ways to Read Your Customers’ Minds, Part 2

In part 1 of our blog series on customer intent and optimization strategies, we covered several ways to use Google tools to determine the intent behind visits to your website. This week we discuss several more ways to uncover what really matters to your target audience and how to put that knowledge to good use in optimizing your own content.

Google AdWords

If you’re conducting paid search campaigns, you’ll be happy to note that Google will provide you with the actual keyword terms that users entered before clicking on one of your ads. This can be extremely helpful in understanding not only the user intent, but in the types of messaging that resonates best with your target audience.

To view the actual keywords people used when your ad was triggered, first select the campaign you want to view, and then click on the Keywords tab in Google AdWords. Once you’re on the keywords tab, click the Search terms button. This will give you a list of queries which you can then compare to your ad text to determine what type of searches are giving you the best results.

As in Google Analytics, if you have conversions properly configured, you can directly correlate specific searches with eventual purchases – which in turn helps you to tie together what your customers are looking for and how well your website serves those needs.

Reviews, Rants, and Forums

While the Google product suite works well for established businesses that have been gathering data for a while, there are more options for figuring out user intent without relying solely on analytics. By taking a look at reviews – for your own company as well as your competitors’ companies – you can quickly find out what people value most in a purchasing decision.

In this instance, critical reviews can be even more important than positive ones. When customers’ needs are not met, they will be actively looking for alternatives that do meet their needs. If enough potential customers are dissatisfied by current offerings, this represents a tremendous opportunity.

By positioning yourself in such a way as to address these needs from the outset, you will put yourself ahead of the competition. This proactive approach also has the potential to start you off with a customer base that is already more loyal because you have taken the time to hear their complaints and respond constructively.

Bonus: User Surveys

While digging through all this data will no doubt turn up some impressive insights, there’s no reason to rely solely on analytics to get the answers you need. A quick user survey can yield ideas and interests that you may not have thought of previously.

Put together a survey with these three quick questions, and implement it after a purchase, or when a potential customer is leaving your site:

  • Why did you visit our website today?
  • Were you able to find everything you needed?
  • (for buyers) What made you choose our site over the competition?
  • (for non-buyers) If you didn’t make a purchase today, what would make you more likely to purchase in the future?

These simple, open-ended questions will ensure that you get a variety of information and suggestions from people who are part of your target audience.  Pay attention to any recurring themes on what people are looking for as well as reasons why people buy or do not buy. By addressing these needs proactively, you can boost conversion rates and provide a better overall user experience for your customers.


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