According to a study done by About.com, people tend to fall into one of three categories – or mindsets – regarding search engine dynamics. These behavioral factors point to why people use search engines and why they enter the search terms that they do. The study suggests that people’s behavior and motivations offline will translate into the behavior they manifest online. The more you understand about the whys, whats, and wherefores of people’s online behavior, the more effective will be your business’ online marketing campaign.
The largest mindset identified by the survey is “Answer Me.” Fully 46% of people surveyed fell into this category with regard to their search engine dynamics and motivations. People who search with an Answer Me frame of mind are after answers, pure and simple. They seek direct answers to questions they have. The dynamic is “answer me” as efficiently and as simply as possible. These people aren’t leisurely surfing the internet; they’re using it to quickly access information.
It would behoove your business to appeal to people who utilize search engines in an “Answer Me” mindset. To do this, you’d want to offer — perhaps on your website, blog, or landing pages which customers and prospects access through emails — simple, direct information that could supply answers to questions they have about your products and services or your field.
People who fall into the “Educate Me” mindset are indeed surfing the internet, but they’re doing so in a quest to learn as much as they can about a specific topic, such as a health issue. People who use search engines with an Educate Me mindset tend to spend a great deal of time researching the issue at hand in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the topic that translates into their day-to-day lives. 26% of people surveyed fell into the “Educate Me” category for search engine dynamics.
To appeal to people who seek a multifaceted understanding of a given topic, you’ll want to include, in your online marketing campaign, solid educational content, not only about products and services you offer but also pertaining to your field in general. By providing top-notch content such as blog posts or whitepapers that educate people who are interested in your field or industry, you can establish your business as a credible source of information. Credibility is an indispensable part of good public relations.
The “Inspire Me” mindset is all about fun. People who fall into this category in their search engine dynamics love surprises. They’re surfing the internet without fixed expectations. They tend to have something in mind when they start out, perhaps looking into fun places to go for a vacation, but their searching and seeking is open-ended, and they follow where the entertaining links lead them. “Inspire me” is about browsing and making discoveries. In the study, 28% of people fell into this category.
Your business can make things fun for people who have the “Inspire Me” mindset by offering content that makes them laugh, touches their hearts, or some combination of both. Promotional activities can appeal to the “Inspire Me” set, as can appealing photos and videos that show your business’ laid-back side. Your written content can engage people of the “Inspire Me” mindset, as well: make it pithy, entertaining, and maybe even chuckle-worthy. Social networking sites can be well-leveraged here.
It’s certainly a good idea for your business, across your online marketing channels, to offer content that appeals to people in all three categories. The lines dividing these categories are, of course, porous. On one day, a person might be in “Inspire Me” mode; the next day, he or she might be in “Educate Me” or “Answer Me” mode. Search engine dynamics can tell a great deal about how to appeal to customers and prospects online, so optimize your marketing efforts to target all three categories of searchers, using online channels and tools as appropriate.
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