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With Google AdWords, you have the option to organize your keywords — the words that will help your listing show up higher in a viewer’s search results page. There are different ways to organize them and different strategies to use, but the strategy I use and that I recommend is based on intent. Understanding the intent of the person doing the searching can help you focus your messaging and control your ad costs by maximizing the success of your click-throughs.

If you watched Episode 4 of this podcast or read the blog post that went with it, you remember how the sales funnel works. Now I’ll put that concept together with the intent of a user at each stage of the funnel, and use that to move them down the funnel toward conversion.

For example, someone at the top of the funnel is doing the initial research they need as they start the path toward a purchase. They have questions. They’re looking for information that tells them if your product or service will meet their needs. They want to know about your company and sometimes, more broadly, your industry. At this stage their questions are primarily around value: “How can this product help me?”

When they get to the middle of the funnel, they’re company-shopping. They’ve decided they probably will purchase the product or service; they’re just trying to decide who to purchase it from. So they have specific questions to help them decide whether to buy from you or one of your competitors; questions such as cost, time it takes to fulfill their purchase or, if they’re buying a service, do they need to enter a contract or not. These are the questions that narrow down their choices of companies the most.

Finally, after they have a company or a few in mind, they’re at the bottom of the funnel, and their questions are all about the mechanics of the purchase: total cost, discounts or promo codes, how easy is it to order, how do they contact the retailer, is there customer support after the sale.

So let’s go back to the top of the funnel and meet them there first. You want to use keywords that will establish how your product or service will bring value to the customer. You’re not trying to sell them on your company yet. You’re selling them on what you have to offer: your product. This is a great place to provide information they may not have thought of, which you can do while your competitors are saying, “Buy from us!” Instead, you’re answering the questions that are oriented toward your potential customer. That helps establish trust in your brand. Offer them what they need, not just what they think they want.

After they’re finding answers from you that they’re not getting from your competitors’ listings, it’s easier to move them down your funnel. And when you combine this keyword strategy with retargeting across channels and coordinated with search, your potential customer is going to engage with your brand over and over until they choose you for their purchase.

But it all starts with meeting them at the top of the funnel and understanding what they need to know to eventually make a purchase that satisfies them, from a company that makes them happy: yours.

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