Most B2B marketers associate search marketing programs with lead generation and customer acquisition efforts.  However, search marketing can play a surprisingly effective role in ongoing customer engagement and retention.  Here are 4 specific recommendations.

1. Examine searcher behavior

Do you thoroughly understand how people are searching for your brand, products and services? Over time, search phrases have become more specific, especially in the B2B realm. Marketing professionals are savvier as they research products and solutions needed for their businesses. But don’t forget about your current customers. What are they searching for? It’s imperative to understand what types of information your customers are looking for and the keyword phrases they use to find this information.

Start by using Google’s keyword research tools and your own web analytics data to discover search behaviors and trends of your customers. Are customers using search engines to find your “brand + training” (or) “product + support?” Do web site visitors use the search function on your site to find webinars or user group information? Understand what your customers are looking for and incorporate related information and targeting into your search marketing programs.

For example, if you know customers are looking for training around your products, think about optimizing your pages for keywords related to your training offerings. Link to these training assets throughout your site and as an SEO best practice, incorporate targeted keywords such as “brand + training” into your link anchor text.

It may also be beneficial to include these keywords into your PPC campaigns. This type of controlled program gives you the ability to drive customers to the specific training resources & information most related to their actual search query. Ad copy can also be targeted towards your current customers, giving them a call-to-action to engage, possibly with training videos or podcasts to help them learn more about your products & services. Landing pages can be designed to engage customers by providing actionable assets like videos, product training webinars, etc. This will help engage customers by presenting pertinent information and also helps build trust in your company. Since you’re providing valuable information to help your customers succeed, this can increase customer retention and customer value over time.

2. Evaluate web site use

Dig into your Web analytics data to understand current customers’ web site behaviors. This data helps you understand which pages customers visit the most, which pages have the longest visit duration, which customers are visiting your site most often and which assets are being accessed most often.

Understanding these areas of opportunity—for example, web pages related to training, user groups and events) will help you proactively direct customers to highly-valued content designed to engage and retain clients and increase value over time.

3. Leverage the knowledge of internal teams

Various internal teams should support search marketing efforts as much as possible. Many B2B companies have support, training and sales teams that can help identify areas of focus. These colleagues can provide valuable insight since many of them have first-hand knowledge around:

  • Support areas customers need or request the most
  • Training programs and topics that are viewed or requested the most
  • Top selling points that persuaded prospects to buy your products/services/solutions
  • Reasons why customers did not renew their contract

4. Tap into user groups and social communities

Online groups and communities provide valuable marketing insights.  Listen to what your customers are saying. Understand the types of questions asked. Are they technical or general questions about your product’s capabilities? Definitely explore social communities to understand which communities your customers are engaged in – and what customers may be saying about your brand or products.

By tapping into these online conversations you can customize your search marketing program to better support customers.  For example, PPC landing pages may include links to user groups, support teams, and social communities.

Listen to your customers and analyze their behaviors. You do have the ability to further engage, retain and increase customer value over time… and search engines can play an instrumental role in this process.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: B2B Search Marketing Column | Channel: Search Marketing

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About The Author: is an Account Director at Smart Search Marketing, a B2B Search Engine Marketing agency, where she is responsible for managing clients' Search programs integrating organic, paid search, and conversion improvement teams and strategies.

Connect with the author via: Email | Google+ | LinkedIn



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