Pay Attention to Customer Lingo

Posted on: September 8, 2020

We’ve been working on a new website for a client who sells to professionals who know exactly what they want, as well as to laypeople who only know what they want the product to do for them. It’s a common issue that makes search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) challenging.

Here’s an example of the problem. Let’s say you sell water. When someone asks for water for their steam iron, you think “demineralized” and make the transaction. When someone asks for water for their CPAP machine, you think “distilled.” You’ve done your job by providing your customer with exactly what they need. At the end of the year, you see that 75% of your business is distilled water, and focus your website and marketing on that product. Your sales should go up, but they don’t. Why?

Because you haven’t paid enough attention to what your customers are actually asking for. They asked for water for their CPAP machine and that’s also what they are going to search for. Your larger clients, like the local hospital, are going to continue ordering distilled water from you, but you are going to lose hundreds of potentially new customers by not using “CPAP machine” as a key phrase.

It will take some effort to change your mindset as an expert in whatever it is you sell, but the onus is on you to make note of the exact language your customers use. Even though they will try to remember the technical term, most of them won’t. And, by keeping your own list and tally, you’ll also know which terms are used most frequently.

If you’re a relatively small operation, you can probably keep track with a notebook. If you’re a larger business and have an automated system to process sales, you may be able to use it to track keywords. What matters is that you end up with a list that looks something like this:

Distilled water: 210
Demineralized water: 108
Water for CPAP machine: 220
Special water for CPAP: 81
Water for steam iron: 20
Iron water: 10

A list like this makes our job easier, which translates into savings for you; and, the results of our collective efforts will mean more customers and profits for you.

Now we know that we need to dedicate a page to “water for CPAP machine” and include that term in our Paid Google Ads campaign. We know that we need to include “special water for CPAP” on that page. And, from the research we’ll do, we’ll know that educating your customers to try to get them to remember “distilled” will NOT be a good strategy, because none of your competitors are marketing to the CPAP users. Now, your return on investment for optimization and marketing is going to be huge.

So, start tracking! And remember, if you know the customers you have, we can find many more just like them.