Finding Killer Keywords Without Using Google (or the Internet)
Most marketers use the Internet to find new keywords. It's almost a given that you have to go online, use Google's Adwords tool, and piece together a keyword list to target for SEO purposes. Is this the right way to go about doing keyword research? Sometimes. Sometimes not. Kelly Ayres from the SEER Interactive blog recently wrote about a unique way to find new keywords: go offline.
Ayres tells us to interview our audience, and mentions several ways to go about doing this. Here are a few more that you might find useful:
Do a Direct Mail Campaign
A survey conducted via direct mail is expensive, but it can yield some of the best results you'll ever get. First of all, an offline survey won't be snagged up and used by your competition. You'll get the jump on them, not the other way 'round. A survey could consist of several very pointed questions about the values, opinions, complaints, concerns, and questions that your target market has about the major products or service offerings in your niche.
For example, surveys about life insurance products could reveal just how much information people know about life insurance, what consumers' biggest complains or confusions are regarding the industry, why they don't buy more insurance, and what questions they have about policies. All of this information can then be used to devise a clever keyword list and, ultimately, an SEO campaign.
The Internet is a medium. It's not a magical place where people do things fundamentally different from their offline counterparts. If you think about it, everyone who is online is also - at some point - offline. These people go online to search for all of the questions, complaints, problems, concerns, and other information that they give you in a survey. Why would they be willing to fill out a survey? Well, you're going to give them something in exchange for that survey. Maybe they will be entered in a drawing for a fabulous prize. Maybe you'll give away an hour of consulting or a free product sample. Get creative.
Read Trade Publications
Trade publications are a wealth of information. They often detail the inner workings of an industry and highlight a lot of the overarching concerns of the people in that niche. This tactic works exceptionally well in the B2C market, but it can also work in other markets. For example, a golf magazine can tell you all about what golfers are most concerned about. The same thing is true for a fishing magazine. If you sell to a business, there's probably a trade publication oriented around that industry. The articles in those magazines often highlight what's going on in the industry. This information is gold and can be used to come up with awesome keyword ideas.
Talk To Other Professionals In the Industry
One of the best ways to flesh out your keyword list is to interview several professionals in your niche. For example, if you run an informational website about life insurance, talk to life insurance agents, CFPs, and other financial professionals. You'll get a very good idea of what they do for a living, but you'll also get a better understanding of what their clients are most worried about. This information can be used to generate a keyword list.
Focus on successful financial professionals. How do you find successful financial professionals? Usually, they are the ones that have been in business for 40 years, have a large, established agency in your town, or who keep running ads on T.V. day and night.
Pay Attention To The World Around You
Before the Internet, marketers had to dig through customer data in the SRDS (Standard Rate and Data), or they had to pound the pavement and talk to potential customers to do market research. In some ways, this is still the best method of generating new marketing ideas. As an Internet marketer, keywords represent one of your most powerful tools, since they are what you will use to draw readers into your site (and are partially responsible for your search rankings). Sometimes, just paying attention to the world around you - customers in your niche, magazines you can pull off the rack at a convenience store, and even professionals with an office less than a block away from you - can be the best way to conduct online research.