These days, when people want to find particular solutions to their problems, they look them up online. As such, the internet has given more agency to people in terms of product or service research than ever before. For businesses, this means that integrating into the decision journey of potential customers is now critical for success.
Instead of creating disruptive ads that cover the highest number of people based on demographic data, however, marketers today have more precise tools that allow them to gauge the actual buyer intent of anyone online, including your website visitors.
Buyer intent is a more effective metric that can be leveraged by your sales team because it lets you apply lead scoring techniques and only engage customers with the highest potential interest in your products or solutions.
How do you identify buyer intent among potential customers? One of the more successfully used strategies involves monitoring and shortlisting the top Google search queries in your industry and then using buyer intent keywords with the highest conversion potential in your content marketing to let potential customers “self-select” themselves.
The key to this process is not only knowing your list of keywords and writing engaging blog posts, but also focusing on your customers and thoroughly understanding their B2B customer decision journey.
What Are Different Stages of Buyer Intent for B2B Customers?
There are various buyer journey models you can use to map out your customer conversion, from the foundational AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, action) to the more recent and expanded AICIB (awareness, interest, consideration, intent, buy). Regardless of which framework you choose to use, most of them follow the same process of cognition ➙ affect ➙ behavior.
The various stages of AICIB can be broken down as follows:
- Awareness is usually triggered by the presence of a problem and a high-level search for potential solutions
- Interest relies on the use of informational keywords and compelling value propositions
- Consideration involves deeper research into a few potential solutions, existing customer reviews, etc.
- Intent is a key stage where potential customers start to clarify what they think they need and commit to proposed solutions.
- Buy is the intended conversion outcome of the decision journey
Over the years, the way marketers approach the buyer decision journey has shifted from being brand-centric (i.e. showcasing products with generalized value proposition statements) to being customer-centric (i.e. finding tailored solutions for potential customers and working toward improving their brand experience).
Since businesses have limited sales and marketing resources, focusing their teams’ efforts on the personal attention at the intent stage of the customer journey has proven to yield the best conversion results. In turn, the earlier stages can be covered with the help of content marketing.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing simply means creating and distributing engaging content with the goal of increasing brand awareness or other stage-to-stage conversions within the customer decision journey.
One of the most compelling advantages of a good content marketing strategy is that it can span multiple decision stages. TV ads can help create awareness, ads against Google search queries work at the interest stage, reviews and blog posts aid consideration, whereas demos signal strong and clear purchase intent.
While content for the later stages in the decision journey can be driven and shared by your team personally, the earlier stages (awareness, interest, consideration) really benefit from the careful selection of informational keywords, which can be done using popular keyword research tools.
How to Use B2B Keyword Research Tools
In general, buyer intent keywords belong to SEO, which concerns itself with structuring your web properties and content in a way that is easily understood by Google and other search engines.
Keywords play a key role in your SEO efforts because they help connect your content to the search queries potential customers are using to find the solutions they want. Knowing the most popular keywords not only increases the chances for your content to be seen by more people but also informs your content marketing pipeline as to what kind of content you should actually produce.
The most popular keyword research tools today are Google Keyword Planner (free) and Moz Keyword Explorer (limited free version). Both work in a similar way, taking one potential keyword as an input and providing data on search volume, competitiveness, difficulty, and more.
To use keyword research tools:
- Compile an initial list of keywords that you think your potential customers might be using
- Check every in a keyword planner
- Adjust the list with the keywords that have high search volumes, low competitiveness, and low difficulty
- Repeat the process as needed with other relevant keywords you find later on
When you have your final list of keywords ready, it’s time to implement them in your content marketing strategy.
How to Capture Google Queries with Buyer Intent Keywords
Before you start using your informational keywords, make sure you come up with various types of inspirational, educational, and even entertaining content that covers as many customer journey stages as possible. Consider trends reports, guides, infographics, influencer marketing, quizzes, videos, digital ads, webinars, and more.
Then break down your list of keywords to correspond with each type of content. Keywords across content types can certainly overlap, but try to be as diverse as possible.
Finally, start creating well-structured, high-quality, long-form content that uses the keywords throughout: in the body text, headings, transcripts, subtitles, webpage titles, taglines, and more. Keep the content informational and don’t spam — Google is really good at finding “keyword stuffing” and actually penalizing websites for it. As long as you produce great content informed by popular keywords, you’ll start getting more traffic across the earlier stages of the buyer decision journey.
So once you are creating content aligned to buyer intent keywords, the question becomes: how do you find out when these potential customers have started to show purchase intent?
How to Convert Buyer Intent into Sales
For any rapidly growing company, paying personal attention to every website visitor is simply not feasible. Your sales and marketing team have to somehow select who to talk to. So how do you correctly identify visitors with strong purchase intent?
Lift AI is a unique self-learning platform driven by cutting-edge artificial intelligence models that completely automates buyer intent analysis on your website.
Using more than 15 years of sales data sources from multiple industries, with billions of data points and over 14 million live sales interactions, Lift AI can determine the purchase intent of any website visitor in real time, even if they are anonymous to you (as 98% of website visitors are). As a result, your BDR team can become more effective by focusing on personally converting the most promising visitors.
Here’s how Lift AI works. When a visitor with high purchase intent navigates your website, Lift AI can connect them directly to your sales resources using your existing chat platform (e.g. Drift). Other visitors with lower scores are directed to a chatbot or a self-help guide instead.
A recent study showed that Drift customers using Lift AI report an average of 9x imore conversions from chat to pipeline. Additionally, Formstack improved its chat pipeline by 88%, while PointClickCare increased conversions by 400%, for example.