Building Your Business with Intent-Based Marketing

Intent-based marketing targets users based on their specific intentions to deliver personalized experiences. This strategy enhances conversions and customer loyalty by aligning marketing efforts with user intent. Key tactics include using data to anticipate needs, creating relevant content, and refining campaigns with advanced analytics. Learn more about implementing these strategies in your business.

intent definition

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Digital marketing gets you to users’ front door, and content that satisfies your users’ query earns you the right in.

This means that your competition will outperform you if you are yet to incorporate the users’ intent or if you don’t understand how the search term is connected to your marketing strategy.

Across e-commerce verticals, conversion rates average 2.2%. Meanwhile, in the B2B tech industry, the average conversion rate hovers around 1.7%. In other words, about 98% of the people who interact with a business fail to convert.

This indicates a misalignment between content and leads. Improving your understanding of what customers want when they land on your site and their intentions can help you better engage them and improve conversion rates.

Let’s look at the types of user intent and what this insight can mean for you.

    Intent Definition

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, intent is a usually clearly formulated or planned intention. 

    The keyword in the definition is “planned.”

    Uncovering the intent of a person or finding out a person’s reason behind behaving a certain way or why that thing in question is being done. 

    You can easily translate this meaning into marketing and see how it applies.

    What Is the Definition of Intent in Marketing?

    Intent in marketing is a user’s purpose when they ask search engines questions. 

    These queries contain keywords that are analyzed by these search engines to produce results that best answer users’ queries.

    Intent, as used in marketing, can also be referred to as user intent or search intent.

    Search intent became integral to digital and content marketing when Google introduced the Hummingbird and RankBrain algorithms to help the search engine match queries with the correct search result.

    Imagine you’ve spent hours making multiple search entries on Google but can’t find what you’ve been looking for. Frustrating, isn’t it? Google feels that way too.

    Most content on the internet leaned towards the number of keywords in the name of search engine optimization and ranking higher but delivered less value.

    This introduction of query intent made digital and content marketers rethink their strategies and create more customer-centric content.

    Types of User Intent: What is intent in marketing?

    When customers make a query, they might have a few goals in mind. When businesses understand search intent, it becomes significantly easier to align advertisements, landing pages, and content with the user and build a relationship that will lead to conversion.

    Typically, users make queries with one of four main intentions:

    • Informational intent: These users want to learn about a topic
    • Navigational intent: These customers want to find a specific website or resource
    • Transactional intent: These users want to make a purchase or conversion.
    • Commercial intent: These customers are researching their options and making decisions about what product to buy.

    Importance of Intent Based Marketing: What is intent based marketing?

    While traditional marketing creates a standard funnel of content that is designed to entice users through a predictable buyer’s journey, businesses have begun to realize the importance of personalizing the experiences they create. As Jim Cramer of CNBC says, “Digital personalizations are no longer merely an option, they’re a necessity.”

    Customers start engaging with businesses due to a variety of motivations. Creating personalized campaigns tells customers that you care about their experiences and want to help them personally. Intent marketing guides you as you create content for these campaigns, helping you better understand your customers and what they need.

    Why Is User Intent Important in SEO?

    Staying ahead of the search curve increases your chances of your target audience coming across your content, and search engine optimization (SEO) helps you do just that.

    As you put effort into making your content pop up for specific keywords, you must remember that web page optimization alone will not gain you that new subscriber, fan or customer if you don’t satisfy their needs.

    SEO is about people. And Google’s recent guideline updates for website owners prove just that.

    User intent helps you decide:

    • What keywords to use;
    • Your prospects’ needs;
    • What stage of the purchasing cycle they are in.

    With these decisions woven into your content, they are more likely to resonate and appeal to your prospects and customers — regardless of the stage of their buying cycle.

    Understanding the Intent of Queries

    Over the years, marketing experts have tried to identify and understand the underlying mechanism of query intent. Some have been guesses, and others have zero scientific backing.

    A 2020 study on query intent understanding by Zhicheng Duo and Jiafeng Guo classifies these several attempts at understanding query intent into two:

    1. Placing queries in classes
    2. Identifying subtopics related to queries

    Placing users’ queries in different classes is mainly based on the keywords used. Does it ask for directions or a location? Or does the query keyword suggest that the searcher wants to know more about a subject?

    Subtopics relating to a keyword become the route of choice if and when the searcher asks a more specific question.

    If a person from the U.K., for example, visits the U.S. and enters the word “football” into a web browser, chances are that the person may be unfamiliar with the results that might pop up.

    This is because they are in a location where football means something different — the search engine’s first attempt at understanding what the searcher was looking for.

    But suppose this person enters “football clubs in the English Premier League” into the Google search bar. The results are more likely to be familiar because the keywords “English Premier League” make the search more specific.

    4 Types of Keyword Intent

    Now that you understand why search intent is important and how you can infer intent from queries, there are four categories to which you can localize keyword intent.

    Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

    Commercial “High” Intent

    Searchers use commercial intent keywords usually when they want to make a purchase. They want to make informed decisions by getting more info on products and services or making comparisons.

    Keywords that are grouped as having commercial intent are reviews, demos, trials and comparative words.

    Below is a search result for a commercial intent keyword.

    Informational Intent

    The search engine interprets words like how, what, who, where and why as having informational intent.

    Users who use these keywords in their search are just starting their search journey or buying cycle, depending on how it ends. As such, content in this category is usually conversational and easy to understand.

    Here’s an example of an informational inquiry.

    Transactional Intent

    Transactional keywords are precise and are widely considered the most valuable.

    Searchers with this intent are done knowing about a subject or brand and want to do something about it. This is where call-to-actions take the shine.

    Transactional intent keywords include but are not limited to buy, purchase, cheap, coupon, price and order.

    Navigational Intent

    Keywords with brand names, physical locations and websites attached are classified as having navigational intent.

    It tells the search engine where the searcher wants to go and asks for directions.

    For example, typing “Rock Content” into the search bar displays the website, blog and social media profiles.

    How Do You Analyze Search Intent?

    Understanding how the search engine classifies users’ queries is one of the first steps to take in optimizing your content. It gives you the blueprint on how to rank high on SERPs.

    Follow these steps to analyze search intent content and optimize content that outranks the competition.

    1. Go Over the Search Results of the Keyword

    Enter your keyword of choice into Google and browse through the results that follow.

    Here’s a screenshot from Google’s first SERP for the keywords “digital marketing.”

    From the image, you can see that searchers are interested in what digital marketing means, its types and how they can market online.

    Take note of the “People also ask” section to have an idea of the most common searches linked with the keyword. It shows follow-up questions users query for.

    2. Classify the Search Intent

    For each result on the first SERP for the keyword, note and classify the intent for which the blog or article was written.

    From the screenshot above, you can see that searchers want to know more about digital marketing. Some want a quick insight into the term, and others don’t mind taking the longer courses.

    Keyword modifiers specify what the user needs.

    Words like how, why, what, guide, resources and tutorial suggest the searcher wants more info about the subject.

    The search engine analyzes words like buy, price, cheap, coupon and order as transactional. If the searcher attaches a brand, website, or domain name to the keyword, the search engine reads it as asking for directions.

    3. Integrate Your Findings into Your Content

    After deciding what the most common intents associated with a keyword are, the next step is deciding on ways to build your content around solving searchers’ problems.

    Study your past content, if you have any, and see what was lacking. Did you have an ideal target audience or you’re targeting everyone?

    Researching and interacting with your target audience makes it easier to identify their pain points.

    Use the results to create valuable and actionable content and optimize the meta title and meta description, with adequately descriptive page headers and titles to round off.

    How to Implement Intent-Based Marketing

    Implementing intent-based marketing requires businesses to thoroughly understand their customers and their motivations.

    A few central strategies will help you thrive:

    • Keyword research. Begin by researching keywords and how they can indicate user intent. For example, using ‘versus’ indicates comparison, while “how to” will generally mean the customer wants to learn.

    • Data analysis. Analytics from Google and market research can provide you with valuable data about customer behavior. Learn more about how people behave on your website, including what brings them to your site and what they do when they get there.

    • Audience segmentation. Segmenting your audience based on key traits like location or job position can help you send more relevant information. Identifying indicators of where the user falls in your buyer’s journey will help you send out personalized information.

    • Content personalization. Create a variety of different types of content based on different user intents. This helps you engage users with different motivations and interests.

    Practical Uses and Intent-Based Marketing Examples

    Intent-based marketing offers effective strategies for businesses in a variety of industries. To see all the different ways it can work for you, let’s look at some use cases.


    How an online store can use user intent to personalize products

    E-commerce businesses have to compete against in-person retail companies and other online businesses, making personalization key. User data for searches including “running shoes” and a lead that frequently makes searches about marathon training can provide insight regarding the user intent. Personalizing the store’s homepage for the user with features of running shoes and other popular running accessories and content will engage the lead and encourage conversion.


    How educational institutions use intent to create targeted recruitment campaigns

    Schools can also use intent-based marketing to build their brands and attract students. For example, a university using this strategy may watch for people making search queries such as “best business schools” or “MBA programs near me,’’ allowing the university to create tailored ads and landing pages to attract potential students. They can highlight their business school and MBA offerings and include features like testimonials and faculty highlights.

    Financial Services: 

    How banks and fintech companies personalize financial product offers based on user intent

    Banks and other financial institutions can use this type of research to learn more about personalized financial products that interest customers. If someone researches “how to save for retirement,” a bank can offer content about the savings plans and high-yield savings accounts the institution offers. They might also include calculators and other tools that can help people plan effectively for retirement.

    SaaS (Software as a Service): 

    How SaaS companies attract and retain customers by leveraging user intent

    SaaS companies can use intent research to learn more about user priorities. Searches like “best project management software” or “how to manage remote teams” can provide insight into how the company can create targeted content that highlights how the SaaS offerings meet these needs. For example, the content and ads might highlight integration capabilities and user success.


    How healthcare providers connect with potential patients using intent data

    Those in the healthcare industry can use intent research to learn about potential patients. Searches such as “symptoms of diabetes” or “best cardiologist near me” can help the provider know what the patient wants to find so that they can provide content on diabetes or cardiology services. This information can also be paired with patient testimonials and easy scheduling features.

    Travel and Hospitality: 

    How travel agencies create customized travel packages based on user intent

    In the travel industry, creating customized travel packages based on user needs and interests is critical. If a user makes searches about honeymoon destinations or affordable family vacations, content that highlights honeymoon packages or resorts that fit different family types can be key. Pairing this content with travel guides and customer reviews can then build conversions.

    Real Estate: 

    How real estate companies attract home buyers by leveraging intent

    Real estate professionals can use insight from intent-based research to learn more about home buyer interests. Searches such as “homes for sale in Chicago” or “first-time home buyer tips” can then bring the customers to personalized content for their area and contact information for local agents.


    How car dealerships market cars to potential buyers using intent data

    Car dealerships can analyze searches such as “best electric cars” or “SUVs with third-row seating” to create ads and content that align with user interests. The content can then include information about financing and customer reviews to secure the conversion.

    Tools and Technologies for Intent-Based Marketing

    Intent-based marketing provides businesses with the insight needed to create highly personalized ads and content that encourages conversion.

    If you want to build campaigns around this style of engagement, there are a number of tools you can employ:

    • Google Analytics, which can tell you what customers want to read on your site, how they found you, and how they move about the domain
    • SEMRush, which helps businesses identify intent from keyword searches to create personalized content for users
    • Marketing automation tools, which allow you to tailor emails and other customer engagement features to particular triggers

    Case Studies and Results

    Understanding how intent-based marketing is redefining the marketing funnel becomes clear as soon as you look at the success of other businesses who have employed these strategies. Consider these two intent-based marketing examples:

    Siemens decided to place an emphasis on data surrounding user intent. This helped the company improve relationships between their marketing and sales teams, leading to an increase in sales acceptance of MQLs from 1% to 90%.

    Another successful case study was seen in the SaaS sector, when a management platform saw a drastic increase in deal size following improved insight into user intent. This company increased the size of their average deal by 81% through improved message tailoring and better ads. These combined efforts saw leads proceed through the sales funnel 36% faster with a 2.5x higher deal size.

    Get Intentional With Your User Intent Marketing Strategy

    Understanding and satisfying user intent is the cornerstone of a successful marketing strategy.

    As you delve into the intricacies of user intent and content optimization, consider leveraging the power of WriterAccess. With WriterAccess, you gain access to a pool of seasoned professionals ready to assist you in crafting a winning strategy. From expert writers and designers to cutting-edge AI tools and seamless image bank integrations, WriterAccess is your go-to platform for elevating your content game.

    Help your business thrive with content designed for leads. Working with professional writers can help you craft outstanding content for various motivations, and WriterAccess is here to help you start your journey.

    Get your 14-day trial right here and put intent-based marketing to work for you.


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