What is Customer Intent and How to Use it in Marketing
How much do you think that you truly understand the wants and needs of your customers? Most marketers and seasoned sales professionals pride themselves on knowing the intent of their customers. But the reality is that customer intent is much more complex than you might think.
What exactly is customer intent?
Customer intent is the genuine intention of a customer that drives the reason behind interacting with a brand. And by interacting with a brand, we mean their true goals for the interaction and every point in the purchase journey – from browsing through to the final point of purchase.
Customer intent is not to be confused with customer preference, however. Customer preferences are the preferred variables of a particular shopper, such as brands, sizes, or colours. Big data can sometimes make generalisations about customer intent based on these preferences, but it’s important to remember that overall intent is much more crucial to truly understanding your customers than just knowing their preferences.
Why is understanding customer intent so important?
Learning about the intent of a client can help you track areas where you are unsure of how to proceed. Understanding this intent is crucial for brands to be able to push options the customer is more likely to buy, particularly online, where customer journeys are more fragmented, mobile-based, and time-sensitive than ever.
If used correctly, customer intent can fuel marketing and advertising, anticipating the customer needs with a magnifying lens. This data, called Customer Intent Data, can bring you useful insights when it comes to overall customer success.
In short, customer intent data allows you to respond to your customers’ real-time needs by being able to truly understand what they are looking for – perhaps even better than they know themselves.
While demographics and similar data can be important in your marketing strategies, the brands that understand and respond to intent are better positioned to be there and be considered useful for all of their potential customers, not just those that fit an age and gender profile.
So, how exactly do you use this intent in Marketing?
1. Be Seen
Knowing your customers’ intent means you can meet them in the moments that matter and deliver helpful content. When a potential customer goes to Google or other search engines looking for something, make sure you pop up.
Use tools like Google Trends to explore search trends in your category of business to better understand what today’s consumers are looking for. Make sure you are there and useful in these moments of intent.
2. Be Helpful
If you’ve done the former correctly, and a customer lands on your site looking to purchase something, what happens? You need to ensure that the information you provide is not only useful and beneficial to the customer, but that it’s easy to navigate and follows some type of flow. Think about utilising informative video content, a chat bot, or an instant check-out option. All of these things make a consumer's life much easier.
You can also use intent data to build an SEO strategy, enhance your site’s conversion rate, and provide a more personalised experience to all potential customers.
Google reports that on average, B2B researchers do 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site. Each click equates to specific information that nails down who they are and why they are searching. Businesses that can use this information to outline an understanding of their customer’s pain points and then deliver what they need, when they need it, will undoubtedly meet success.
3. Be Strategic
Your content strategy has everything to do with customer intent. Being strategic and not superficial about your content can help you to capture customers before they even know what they want to buy.
If you’ve played your content strategy correctly, once they’re ready to buy, they’ll already trust you, your brand, and ultimately, your products and services.
Be sure to produce content around topics that make your site a go-to resource for your ideal user. Your content shouldn’t only be about selling your products or services. It should be educational, valuable, and trustworthy.
Marketing and the technology surrounding it is constantly changing and evolving, making it necessary for marketers and decision-makers to remain constantly on their toes and open to rethinking their strategies.
By understanding the true meaning of customer intent, and more importantly, YOUR specific customers’ intent, you’ll be positioned to put the right tools in place to thrive.
Read more about why customer engagement matters more than you think, or contact us if you have any questions about implementing any of the tools discussed. We'd be happy to help!