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It’s great to have so many wonderful tools to build sturdy marketing campaigns and evaluate the results, but they should never detract our attention on our end-user, the customer. Here is a bit of advice that was common knowledge before the internet, but is often forgotten now: Know your target market.

It sounds like obvious advice, but many online marketers fail to grasp this principle. They’re too often consumed with mass amounts of data produced from keyword generators and analytics. Business owners often fail in getting down to the level of their customers. I’m talking about asking questions of your target market. (Selecting your target market is a huge task in itself. I’ll cover that in a later post).

A great place to learn about your target market is in your own immediate and extended family. Is any member of your family in your target market? Below is an interesting and fun test that you can do to improve your SEO and capture the interest in your target market. In effect it is a way to create a simple focus group from your family. Jennifer Laycock from Search Engine Guide introduced the Mom Test to improve conversion and usability for website users. For help in explanation, I’ll pretend we’re running a website, selling shoes to women in the baby boomer generation. One obvious market audience member in my family would be mom. For this specific example, I’m naming my test after mom as well.

My “MOM” Search Test

First, I would sit Mom down at the computer and invite her to look for some shoes that she’d like to buy. Here is the key to the test: be quiet and watch closely to see what she does:

  • What search engine does she use?
  • What keywords does she use to search?
  • How does she navigate the SERP (Search engine result page)? Does she simply choose the #1 result?
  • How quickly does she bounce back to the SERP?
  • What other searches does she perform?
  • Does she click on any of the paid-search ads?
  • I’d then ask her to check out her favorite social site for a few minutes (yes, mom does have a Facebook account). Does she click on any of the ads there? What groups is she apart of?

Of course, because this is only one person, you can’t generalize your entire marketing strategy from this test alone. However, the point of this test is to help you find some interesting information that you never realized about your target market. It may spark some ideas that you would want to further research. It can even confirm that you are on the right path.

For this example test, I’d personally, find a few more moms and repeat the test if possible. I’d then go to my keyword tools and analytics reports to make better SEO predictions.

So next time you start keyword research, first try a test like this. You will receive insights that will make your keyword research and other SEO efforts much more valuable and knowledge-based.