How do you make a buyer’s guide to strengthen your brand? We’ll provide you with tried-and-true tips and go into detail over a series of five posts. For part three, we’re looking at the importance of keywords in your buyer’s guide and the challenge of avoiding jargon.
There’s a slippery slope between loading your buyer’s guide with attractive keywords that potential consumers find irresistible vs. sounding like a sleazy salesman determined to unload a clunker. But how can you know the difference?
Audiences and potential clients are smarter than ever, so the last thing that you want to do is risk alienating them by seeming like you’re trying too hard. It helps to understand what jargon is and how to avoid it.
Define jargon… so you can avoid it
In researching this article, I discovered the fact that there’s actually a government agency dedicated to making sure language in government documents is as clear as possible. I know. I was shocked too! In their guide to avoiding jargon, The Plain Language Action and Information Network defines jargon as:
Jargon is unnecessarily complicated language used to impress, rather than to inform, your audience.
But what happens if you need to impress your audience while simultaneously informing them? Well, that part involves a more subtle use of descriptive language and use of keywords.
To create an effective buyer’s guide, ebook or online resource, you have to create a balance between healthy keyword usage and overuse of jargon, which almost seems contradictory. After all, isn’t keyword usage, for all intents and purposes, gaming the system so that your frequent use of sexy words that sell makes your product and guide that much easier to find? Sort of.
Understanding the challenge and importance of keywords in your buyer’s guide
“The perfect keyword is one that leads to an action, whether it be a sale, lead or awareness. We have consistently seen success by identifying the keyword semantics of our segmented audiences,” said Bob Generale, VP of digital marketing & global operations at Percepture.
Generale spends a good portion of his day trying to figure out how not only to identify and analyze those words but to also tap into consumers’ ultimate usage patterns and preferences.
When identifying the perfect key terms, it is important to first understand the client objectives (sales? brand awareness?) and target audiences in order to then identify the semantics being used during a search. For example, if the client is a chemical manufacturer looking to sell boronic acid, it is important to understand what their audience would be searching for when in-market to make a purchase.
It might seem like a no-brainer but being as specific as possible is a tactic that often works when using keywords in your document in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re trying too hard. “We have found the most success with long-tailed key terms that have intent such as ‘boronic acid manufacturers in USA.’ This long-tailed key-term is telling, the user is further along in their journey and shows intent.”
More words might mean less work
Ah. So, let’s back up for a minute. Not only are the keywords telling, but the people who use them and choose them are effectively telling you something about themselves and their journey to find you and your product.
They already know what they want when they come looking for you, which means the hard sell might not be necessary at all. And if you’re still unsure of this approach, try to take advantage of existing tools and advertising platforms before you make a full commitment to your buyer’s guide.
As Generale says:
The best way to test a key-term in real-time is through Google Ads, which is an advertising bidding platform. We can test the effectiveness before investing in our SEO strategy.
Selling your brand without selling out
We all see so many articles that seem to be just keywords stacked on top of keywords. So how can you manage a balance between working wisely with search engines while you also respect your clientele?
As Generale points out:
It is crucial to always put the audience first! While it is important to incorporate the keywords within the landing page, it is counterproductive if it negatively impacts the user experience. A high number of unfavorable user experiences leads to a higher bounce rate and less time a user spends on site, which leads to a drop in rankings. This tells Google that your listing being served isn’t as relevant to that keyword or audience.
For most of us, that means not being so desperate for clicks that we create a homepage or frontpage of a buyer’s guide filled with so much fluff that our desired consumer is completely turned off.
Generale offered something of an easy-to-implement formula: “We have found success balancing the optimization pages to include messaging that the audience can relate to, highlighting the value proposition and showcasing the call to action.”
In a buyer’s guide, that might mean taking three steps before you even begin writing your outline:
- Create a series of headlines that are both extremely catchy and immediately informative: Give them some sizzle but also a bit of information they didn’t have previously. Don’t throw data at anyone, but rather try to tease out a statistic that will cause them to read further or share the tidbit at work or the dinner table.
- Highlight your value proposition: Is your product more cost-effective or does it just last longer than anyone else’s? Do you use the latest technology or are you a heritage brand? Investing in the right language allows your desired customer to feel smart about investing in your product.
- What’s your call to action? Do you want someone to sign up for your newsletter, call you for more information or drop your product into their shopping cart? Tell them the option and make them feel smart if they select it.
Don’t screw up
“The most pervasive mistake we see is content and messaging disconnected from the target audience,” Generale said.
In fact, he stresses the importance of understanding your audience before writing a buyer’s guide:
For example, when writing buyer guides or trying to sell through e-commerce, it is important to understand the audience, their online behavior and what motivates them. Connecting with them on an emotional level drives action so integrating storytelling that your audience can identify with drives sales.
Ah. So maybe you can even back up your buyer’s guide with fabulous content. Create the connection while you create the story. And keep them coming back even after they’re hooked.
Generale mentions a recent promo for EyeBuyDirect, who he says “really knows their audience and have built a healthy diverse customer base.” For that promo, the company partnered on a gift-givers guide written by a winner of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor,’ Catherine Lowe. “This guide speaks to millennials, especially ones going through big life changes of starting a family, so many of their audiences can directly relate to the gift guide.”
Understand the history of the search
“With the algorithm constantly changing, it is important to stay on top of new changes but for new digital marketers, it is important to understand history of search,” Generale said. His picks for top SEO resources are Moz, Search Engine Journal, and Neil Patel.
Please try. That’s a piece of advice I wasn’t expecting. Generale said:
I encourage all companies, large or small, to avoid this massive mistake: not trying. Take these best practices and implement just one and watch your results improve. Get in the game and just try something to perform better, drive more awareness, start a new conversation, build an audience and ultimately more sales.