Have you ever listened to the words customers use to describe your business?

Are the words they choose similar to the ones you use on a regular basis? Are there any differences that stand out?

What about online?

Do you know which terms people are using when searching for products and services like the ones you offer? Are you familiar with the ways people talk about your business on social media?

Understanding the terms people associate with your business is a process that all businesses and organizations can benefit from.

This will help you position your business more effectively so that you’re able to get found by new customers who are searching online. It will also help you create marketing messages that resonate with the people you want to reach.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Identify your audience

The first step in this process is to take inventory of your company’s main keywords. Keywords are the terms that you will use to describe your business, your product or service, and your mission. These terms may also help differentiate you from your competitors.

If you get stuck, an online social media search tool, Topsy, can help you figure out how popular a keyword is online. You can also see exactly who has been talking about that topic and what other businesses are participating in those discussions.

For instance, if you are the owner of a hair salon, you may choose to search the term “sulfate-free,” which is a trending topic in the beauty world. For those of you who are in the beginning stages of search and email marketing keyword research, the most useful pieces of information are the number of times the term has been used and who has been using it.

In this case, you will be able to see other organizations and industry professionals who have a vested interest in that discussion. From there, you can make sure your brand’s messaging echoes those conversations.  If you find there isn’t much chatter around a particular keyword, you may want to reconsider using it to describe your business.

Step 2: Give them what they are looking for

Essentially, this step is to ensure that your brand’s message is a reflection of your prospect’s wants and needs. Using Google Ads, you can quickly evaluate whether the keywords you identified in the previous phase of this activity are, in fact, the best fit.

This exercise can also help you refine those terms that will have the highest search engine ranking.

For instance, your salon’s slogan mentions a ‘blow bar’ (32,830 monthly searches) but the term ‘dry bar’ ranks significantly higher (50,350 monthly searches). It may be time to revise your branding.

Once you have confirmed your keywords, you can confidently use them throughout your brand messaging including email marketing, advertising, blog and other sales collateral. Remember to maintain consistency among all these assets, which is essential for strong brand recognition.

It is important to remain focused on your mission, particularly during this step, to ensure that you are staying true to the value your business brings to your customers.

Step 3: Speak their language

At this point, you’ve got a core list of keywords that describe your business and will ultimately contribute to a stronger identity online. Once you’re comfortable with those and have incorporated them into the nooks and crannies of your business, keep the rest of your language simple.

Resist the urge you may have to overcomplicate things to make your company seem more important. Avoid technical language at the risk of confusing and ultimately scaring off potential customers.

This is true for your email newsletters, website landing pages and social media channels. In an effort to represent your brand in the clearest manner, you must be selective about the language you are using and make sure to reinforce it throughout all the various channels of communication.

It’s important to note that this entire activity should be revisited from time to time to ensure that your brand remains current and that you are responding to the changing needs of your customers. Market trends are evolving and it’s important not to let your brand be outshined by the competition simply because of an outdated approach.

Now what?

Get started by identifying your audience. Who are they? What are they interested in? How can you help them become more successful?

Once you know who you want to reach, test this three-step process out for yourself.

Is email marketing right for you?

See why smart small businesses use email marketing to drive more business. We'll show you exactly what it can do for you, and ten tips to get started.

Get your Guide!
By entering your information, you permit us to reach out to you in the future.