Dog in Arctic

Digital Marketing Defined

Digital marketing is more than just marketing. It’s connecting with others 

Customers Through Keywords

Marketing is marketing. It doesn’t matter if it’s online or face to face. You still need to know who is your customer, what they like and dislike and where they live and shop. It’s the basics of business.

For online marketing, those research basics really end with a list of keywords that define your customer.

The challenge for small and medium sized businesses is to get the right keyword list and then use that list effectively.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are groups of two or three words that represent how your ideal customer might search for your products and services. Basically, it’s the words on the tip of someone’s tongue that reminds them what you do and sell.

But, to figure out what words your customer might use, you have to think of your customer. Where do they live? What do they need? Who’s doing the buying?

Photo By: Steven Johnson

For instance, let’s pretend that you sell dog jackets online. Does your ideal customer live in Nome Alaska and need a dog parka or less frigid Tacoma, Washington and need a fall dog vest (location).

What about dog size? Does your ideal customer have a Great Dane or a Dachshund (Product Types)? Can you sell a dog jacket for a Great Dane?

And who’s buying? What’s their age, gender and income (demographics).

Knowing your ideal customer means you can know the keywords that will attract them. And if you truly know your customer (wealthy Great Dane owners in Nome, Alaska), then you might come up with a list like this:

  • great dane winter coat
  • great dane winter clothes
  • luxury dog coats
  • puffer coats for dog
  • Subzero coats for great danes

Your Online Footprint

With your list of keywords in hand, it’s now time to ask: How well does your website use those keywords?

To answer, we take what we call a baseline snapshot of your website.

A baseline collects the keywords you currently use in your major web pages at this point in time and the traffic those keywords attract. The goal is super simple: The closer your keywords align to the interests of your customer, then more traffic you get.

The result of your baseline should be an Excel spreadsheet that lists every page on your site and the keywords that each page is designed to promote.

Making Use of Your Keywords

Let’s go back to our online dog jacket store. The major pages that the store includes is an “about us” page that describes who they are, contact and sales information and a huge list of products with cutesy names, like “Call of the Wild”, “Beasty Body Heat”, and “Rough and Raining”.

Photo by: Wonderlane

Fun, right? Who would want their product names and website to be fun to read?

The problem is that a buyer looking for “luxury dog coats” won’t find “Beasty Body Heat”. Customers are not searching for “Beasty” when looking for “luxury dog coats”. It won’t even enter their minds because they’re not on your website and don’t know your unique products names.

Instead, customer search based on their own world view and product understanding. So, your page needs to reinforce the product name with descriptions and subtitles that say, “this is a luxury winter jacket for dogs.”

Making sure each page on your website features a specific keyword is a process called “alignment” that makes your site more attractive to search customers. We’ll talk about how to do this in another blog entry.

However, the important point is to know the keywords you use to attract customers and how well they work.

Using Your Keyword Snapshot

But what if you had more than just your snapshot, but the snapshots of your major competitors?

Well, you would have the holy grail of business: a competitive advantage.

You would know how your competition reaches your customers and then you could adjust your content to do it better.

Too many competitors selling to dog owners in Alaska? Your research might show that no one is selling to dog owners in Maine. Quickly adjusting your content to include “Maine” in the title suddenly reaches a whole new market with minimal effort and without ad cost.

Creating repeated snapshots is like hiking with a GPS. If you know where you are, then you’ll know where you’re going.


For more information about keywords and digital marketing, contact us at Visual String. We’re here to help.