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What's the difference between how and why people search?

This Saturday my house will play host to my eldest child's birthday party.  What was I thinking?

As a result, I've been rather preoccupied researching the joys of pop cakes, which are basically the lollipop equivalent of a cupcake.

Such is the crossover life of a freelance marketer, that I couldn't help learning a bit more about how we make online choices in the process.

                                          (Photo by SAM_1574 herocakepops on flickr)

Here's how my search went.

1. Google ‘pop cake’



This was a pretty general search, designed to help me know what's out there, as well as whether this natty little confection is one word or two.  I'm at the start of my quest for uber mother status.

Such broad topic search is done early in the buying cycle.  It's top of the sales funnel stuff, returning a wide range of results while Google tries to decide my intent.


2. Google ‘POP bakery’



I've used this company before, so know the brand and can be quite specific in looking for it by name.

We search for brands as we get closer to making the purchase. Brands are familiar, comforting and perceived experts in their field.  We know what we like and trust what our friends suggest.  I'm now honing in for ideas from the professionals.

Pop bakery really are masters of the cake sphere.



3. Google ‘how to make pop cakes’



Inspired by what I've seen, I decide to make my own.  My search has turned to solving a particular problem, which is, I have no idea how to make pop cakes and need to be a domestic goddess by Saturday.  I'm on the hunt for a solution and my keywords have now grown to a phrase.  Google rejoices as being able to return authoritative links on the craft.



4. Google ‘pop cake bakery Edinburgh’



Now that I know I'll never have the patience, nor design prowess to make such stick based wonders, I admit defeat and go with a location specific search.  This tells me that pop cakes are known as cake pops in Edinburgh, a keyword I would never have used. At this stage Google gave up trying to make suggestions on related searches.


The moral of this story ...



We marketers generally dive straight into selecting our keywords, without considering the various stages of search and selection we all go through before making a purchase.  Search in reality is more ongoing discovery than instant fact finding.

Making sure your chosen keywords cover general, brand, solution and location searches, brings you one step closer to appearing on that elusive first page of returned results.

Break out the pop cakes!



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