Content Marketing, Executive's Corner, Owned Media, Paid Media, Search Engine Marketing
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You haven’t landed on this article by accident. Maybe the headline caught your attention, someone shared the link with you, or you’ve liked our previous posts. Something inspired you to click-through because it was relevant to your world. We make note of this because we state with no hesitation that “relevance is the foundation of all human communication”. Through relevant marketing, you will unequivocally improve your results.

Relevant marketing is neither a “pie in the sky” ideal nor the buzzword dujour. I’m not writing this to bullshit you or waste your time. And, it’s surely not the silver bullet to your marketing. It takes serious work to execute correctly.

So, how do I make such a bold suggestion about relevant marketing without proof? I’m not. In fact, I know of one company whose unbelievable success is the absolute result of relevance. Keep reading to find out who it is.

The House That Relevance Built

From it’s very beginning, this business model focused entirely on being immensely relevant. When they came on the scene, they changed the game entirely and haven’t strayed from their guiding principals in nearly 20 years. Their vision is simple: deliver the most relevant information possible to the people they serve.

And they do it better than anyone.

When this company first started, people were so pleased with what they were getting, they kept coming back. I know I still do more than 15 years after my first time. The word-of-mouth that ensued was revolutionary. Their company went from just a name to a verb used daily.

This company rakes in billions of dollars in profit every quarter. Everyone has heard of them and most of us use at least one of their products every day. It is the third most valuable company in the world and is the most popular website on the entire world wide web.

Clearly I’m talking about Google.

Then There Were Ads

After building their successful search platform, Google’s world dominance truly started when they introduced their advertising platform. No need to give a history lesson here – if you’re reading this, you probably know at least a little about Google’s ad platform.

But you may not know how it works so let me indulge a little.

Company Y sells accounting software and they want to sell more. They’ve heard about Google AdWords as a way to grow sales so they sign up. Since Company Y is new to this, they start by creating a single campaign and ad group. They load a bunch of disparate keywords, unrelated ads and set a high bid amount because they want to start strong and be #1 on the search engines. But this doesn’t end up working.

The highest bidder does not win the Google AdWords game. Soon enough, they find out ads aren’t displaying or displaying with poor placement and little click-through. They get frustrated and abandon it.

What went wrong?

Remember, Google’s main mission is providing a great user experience by providing the most relevant information related to the search query. Google doesn’t want to take incompetent advertisers’ money for a bigger initial payday when there is a high probability of failure. They are not in it for quick hits, but rather for sustainable, long-term and automatic revenue.

Instead, Google thinks radically different.

Reward Relevant Advertisers

They use advanced analytics that help decide how an ad ranks in the paid listings. It’s called Quality Score and experienced search engine marketers live and die by it. These smart marketers know something that rookies don’t: Google rewards advertisers who most accurately deliver what someone is looking for. Where novices fail at using AdWords, savvy search engine marketers do something much better.

Here is a very simplified approach to what the experienced search engine marketer does on AdWords. First, they create tightly related keyword sets in a collection of ad groups. Then, they create a group of related ads to test what is most effective. Next, they link these ads to a landing page that provides closely related information on what the searcher is looking for. Ultimately, they deliver the most relevant experience possible from start (keyword search) to finish (landing page).

Google knows they will make a lot more money over time by rewarding advertisers who are successfully delivering on their ad promises. The absolute brilliance of what Google has done is building an automated relevance and revenue machine that has hundreds of millions of users every day, along with millions of advertising customers frantically adhering to their requirements.

Even though they are making ridiculous amounts of money, they’re not slowing down. Their grand pursuit is to provide greater accessibility and usefulness in everything they produce. They know that by doing so, they’ll continue to create lasting relationships.

To emphasize their focus, here are some other ways Google delivers relevance to its customers:

  • Vertical search categories (e.g. images, video, news, etc.)
  • Keyword operators to be more specific with your search
  • Localized/personalized search results
  • Customizable news feed
  • Related videos in Youtube
  • “Search nearby” in Maps
  • “Important First” in the Gmail App
  • Google Now on your smartphone

And I could certainly name dozens more, but I think you get the point.

Model After Google

Google has absolutely killed it over the past 15+ years. But unfortunately you’re not Google…unless you have the smartest people on the planet working for you and more money than anyone.

Considering that major limitation, what can you copy from Google’s playbook? How can you be more relevant and useful to your audience?

The backbone of their business is done by collecting usage data across its entire network and continually creating improved user experiences. They are constantly pushing out improvements to be more relevant across all their products.

Is collecting data on your prospects in order to have more relevant conversations even feasible when you don’t have technology like Google does?

Absolutely…with the right kind of marketing automation platform.

For example, select a marketing automation platform that can:

  • Collect website usage on prospects (e.g. specific pages, time on site, number of visits)
  • Track referring source data so you know where they’re coming from
  • Help build deeper prospect records with progressive profiling
  • Allow for unlimited custom fields so you can collect all the data you need
  • Provide easy importing to map new data to existing prospect records
  • Have an advanced segmentation tool, that can query on all of this data

This will, at last, allow you to deliver truly focused messaging and content that actually means something to your audience . (Hint, hint: Net-Results does a great job at this).

Break a Sweat

Let’s get honest with ourselves as marketers.

Advanced segmentation, targeted lists, focused messages – we all can admit they sound great. But, we also have to admit that execution is a lot of work. It’s much easier to send the same generic email and offer to 50K people.

You can choose to do that if you want to be incredibly ineffective, obnoxious and lazy – especially considering the technology available to us today.

Instead, what we really need to do is hustle. We just talked about it in our most recent Bootstrapped vs. Billionaires blog, “Hustle & Buzz”.

Going back to Google for a second, to get the job done right in AdWords, many companies hire people to focus full-time on their pay-per-click advertising. That’s 40+ hours/week, every week, figuring out how to make their advertising more relevant. Why isn’t the same level of effort and detail given to all of their marketing efforts?

You have drip campaigns, newsletters, blog posts, white papers, case studies and all kinds of other marketing to get done. So, why do so many of us give Google such special attention while other items are left unfocused?

Because Google requires you to be relevant; you have no other choice.

And Google clearly knows what it’s doing, so follow their lead by having the same requirement of yourself and your marketing!

Be Relevant to Each Other

I know you’re not giving all of your marketing and audience the deep attention it deserves. How? Because you are reading this article. You want be a better marketer. To do so, though, requires you to create more relevant, useful content, conversations and connections.

Before I go, let me remind you that your audience is busier than ever and are bombarded with marketing messaging all day, every day. Think about your own inbox for a second. Want to be ignored? Promote messages without relevance. Want people to have disdain for your product/brand? Repeatedly do what no longer works.

The key to excelling in your role and making your company more successful is to be more relevant with your marketing.

Like I said, it’s the foundation of human communication. Marketing is a form of communication aimed at your fellow human beings. Let’s all strive to be more relevant with one and other.

This article originally appeared on Net-Results.

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Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel

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