What is customer intent and how to use it in your marketing
Is customer intent just another buzzword floating around the marketing industry? Or is it something we should be sitting up and paying attention to when enhancing the customer experience? Let’s dive into what customer intent is, why it’s important creating an exceptional customer experience, and how we can effectively use it in our day-to-day marketing.
What is customer intent?
Customer intent is often confused with buyer’s intent – i.e. the thoughts or actions directing customers to make a purchase. In basic terms, that would be the moment a shopper enters a brick-and-mortar store and heads to the jeans aisle. Their intent to buy is clear.
However, in the wide world of marketing, buyer intent doesn’t take into account the wide range of online actions customers can take before converting.
Some actions can be simple, such as an immediate click-through from your homepage to a product page. But with the extensive range of channels customers can interact with you on, there are many actions that, when added together, can express their intent.
Why is customer intent important?
Today’s customers demand fast, friction-free experiences. They want brands to understand what they’re after and help them achieve their goals in real-time.
At the same time, marketers are asked to do more with less; to make marketing budgets go further.
Identifying moments of customer intent is essential to meeting both goals. For marketers, data insights that highlight micro-moments of customer intent provide you with more opportunities to convert customers and drive revenue.
For customers, brands that use customer intent can deliver personalized messages at the right time, making them feel valued and driving them into action.
Why is customer intent more powerful than demographics?
Marketers who exclusively rely on demographic information to target customers risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers.
Demographic information and marketing preferences are great tools to help marketers build a customer profile and understand what they want from you. Unfortunately, they offer little insight into what they’re looking for in the moment.
When customers are looking for something; a product, a solution, or a service, they go to the web. More often than not, they turn to their smartphones. These intent-filled micro-moments are what brands need to target to connect with people.
How do you identify customer intent?
Marketing is no longer as simple as ushering customers down the funnel. The customer journey isn’t linear but cyclical and chaotic. We expect shoppers to visit our sites repeatedly and communicate with us on multiple channels before they’re ready to make a decision.
So now we know that we’re looking for intent-filled interactions to signify customer intent, how do we determine what these moments are?
Collect actionable data
Demographic and preference data is essential for creating personalized and engaging marketing messages. However, you need to collect more than just customer data. Actions such as category page views, product page views, registrations, on-site searches, and landing page clicks should all be measured.
These can help you identify patterns in customer behavior before they convert, such as how many times they visit a page before the point of conversion. You will then be able to target specific high-intent actions to drive customers towards completing your goal.
Spot the key customer starting points
Your homepage might be the page most frequently landed on, but it doesn’t reveal real customer intent. Instead, you need to decide where the customer journey begins. Site searches are always good indicators of customer intent. Shoppers are looking for something specific so you should act on this and make the journey to conversion as simple as possible.
Similarly, specific category pages or feature pages can clearly indicate what customers are looking for. If a customer knows what they’re after, then this is a vital place for you to track and target.
Create pre-intent content
Understanding customer intent goes hand-in-hand with understanding the pain points that have driven them to your website in the first place. By strategizing your content marketing to focus on these specific pain points, utilizing blogs and learning resource pages, you can capture customer intent before they realize yours is the solution they need.
For example, if your brand offers a kitchen fitting service you can create content targeting first-time homeowners with a checklist of things they need to consider when renovating a kitchen. This will help you pre-emptively capture customers interested in finding out more about your service. You can then guide them through your customer journey and lead them to the point of conversion.
How to use customer intent in your marketing automation?
Targeting intent-filled micro-moments increases revenue. There are several scenarios where customer intent can trigger timely, relevant, and personalized marketing messages.
Abandoned browse and cart abandonment emails
Active carts or high-intent page visits demonstrate clear intent. To turn this intent into conversions you need to build abandoned cart or abandoned browse programs. Our Global benchmark report shows that acting quickly can make a big difference – 45% of abandoned carts are recovered within 2 hours. So, it’s important to re-engage your customers quickly and guide them back to your site to boost the likelihood of securing a sale.
Repeat page hits
As part of your work identifying customer intent, you should have a clear idea about which pages on your website are essential to your customers’ journey. Using this intelligence, you can create automation programs that are triggered when a browser views the same page three times.
For example, if you’re a furniture company and have noticed customers frequently visiting your payment plans page, you can use this insight to trigger a campaign. When a shopper views the page numerous times, a friendly ‘ask us anything’ email might be just the push they need to convert.
Customer modeling triggers campaigns when customers move between audience groups. So, when a customer stops engaging with your marketing and falls into a needs-nurturing or lapsed group, you can automatically enroll them into a win-back automation campaign.
Similarly, when an unengaged subscriber starts re-engaging, you can leverage the data you already have on them to deliver a personalized campaign that enhances their customer experience. Product recommendation blocks and dynamic content are just a couple of ways to drive newly engaged customers to convert.
Customer intent is the secret weapon for creating effective, relevant, and persuasive marketing campaigns. By examining your audience’s behavior, segmenting them based on their intent, and delivering tailored content that speaks to their individual needs, you’ll unlock unprecedented levels of customer engagement, conversion, and growth. So, tap into customer intent today, and take your marketing strategy to the next level.