A key characteristic of successful salespeople in any industry is the ability to empathize with their customers. Webster’s defines “empathize” as being able to, “… understand and share the feelings of another.”

Today, as we continue our walk through success in local digital marketing, let’s talk about the importance of empathy in those efforts.

Back in February, we identified the three main areas of focus: pay per click (PPC), organic search and local/Google My Business. Having set the foundation by starting at the bottom and working to optimize our Google My Business listing, it’s time to move to what I consider the best overall opportunity for local success: organic search.

By the way, if you happen to be just joining us here, it’s very important that you’ve built the Google My Business groundwork first. It is a prerequisite for dynamic achievement in the organic realm.

The ways for a home improvement professional to be successful with organic search in our business has been a passion of mine for almost 15 years—long before it became anywhere near mainstream. The one area where I find most folks don’t spend nearly enough time on is keyword research.

This research is the linchpin on which the success of your entire local organic search programs sits.

Simply put, keywords are words, or more often phrases, that folks use to do research or find things online. I’m sure this is intuitive as most of us do this regularly ourselves.

A fruitful keyword strategy begins with an “understanding” of what your market is searching for and the ability to “share” those understandings. The first mistake often made in doing keyword research is making assumptions of what your audience might (or might not) be looking for.

Back in the “old days” when I was selling windows in the house, I’d be amazed that people would ask if the window sash would drop in for easy cleaning. Because I was in the business, I assumed everyone knew that and took it for granted. That isn’t empathy.

The second mistake is going too broad. We’re in the window business, so windows could certainly be a keyword. Of course, if you put in windows in any search bar, you’ll more likely learn about Microsoft than you will replacement windows.

This is so important that we’ll spend some additional time here. In the meantime, here’s some “homework.”

I’m sure that you or someone in your organization asks every lead how they heard about you. For the next 30 days, for those who say they found you online, ask a follow up: “Would you mind telling me what you searched for to find us?”

Write those answers down and have them in front of you for next month’s conversation.

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