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What my wife can teach you about search marketing

We don’t change our bath towels every year like fashionable folks, but this was getting ridiculous—they were eight years old and they were plain wearing out. But my wife admitted that she has always wanted large bath towels—much larger than what we had. Being a crack searcher-shopper, she was determined to figure out what to buy. What she looked for and what she found should be a lesson to every search marketer.


Linda was Googling her way around the Internet trying to find the towels she wanted. She told me, “After much searching, I started wondering if there’s any standard for the size of a bath towel. I wanted a big bath towel. In exasperation, I asked these keywords, ‘What size are bath towels?'”
And what did Google tell her in response? Bed, Bath, and Beyond had the definitive answer on towel size.
When she found this answer, she learned that she probably didn’t want a bath towel at all, but rather a bath sheet, which she had never heard of before. Bath sheets were very large–just the size she was looking for. And guess who she bought our bath sheets from? Right you are: Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
What can search marketers learn from this story? They must answer customers’ questions to make sales. My wife didn’t know what to call what she wanted, which makes it hard to find with search. But the moment she got her question answered, she was ready to buy.

clean

Image by Walsh via Flickr

If you sell bath sheets and you expect everyone to know the name, well, you didn’t make this sale.
If you’re interested in more tips on search marketing, including the latest trends, register for my 90-minute search marketing seminar for Wednesday January 21st. Use the code MM20 when you check out and get 20% off the regular $99 price.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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