Ecommerce Search – Pay Attention to Your Audience

Your audience will tell you what they want

Binoculars

Last month Google came out with a new service for businesses with current or future plans for expanding ecommerce presence.

Google Commerce Search

Google has a great way to approach new products. They test new products by allowing limited membership to their new programs and products while they work out the kinks and learn from the group of users who test the new products and services.

Google Commerce was rolled out with Birkenstock and it seems to be a big step for companies with a focus on ecommerce. The step may not be directly related to Google Commerce Search, but the trend that Google Commerce Search addresses is certainly important for businesses with an ecommerce presence as well as for companies with any Web presence.

Let me explain…

Search and Ecommerce

In Google’s Commerce Search video they mention an amazing statistic:

Web site visitors spend an average of 8 seconds on a site before deciding whether to stay. And 70% of online shoppers use search to make this decision.

It seems that the Web and ecommerce has honed in the consumer’s focus of searching for products. Or perhaps consumers have always used search in some form to discover the things they are looking for.

Whether it’s a catalog or a Website, the designer can make suggestions with headings in navigation or in a table of contents, but consumers will still page through a catalog or page through a Website to discovery products on their own.

I’ve been noticing an increased emphasis on search and specifically on the importance of the search bar design on many popular ecommerce sites.

LL Bean

Visit the site – LL Bean

LL Bean now features their search bar directly right in the middle of their home page. The search bar is also highlighted with a color (a shade of LL Bean green) and the text ‘Enter item # or keyword’ is prominently displayed.

LL Bean Search Bar

LL Bean has obviously been doing some testing of their own and has discovered that their customers are using the search bar to discover, find and purchase the products available on the site.

It’s a great example of a company paying attention to their audience and using Website design and functionality to add value to their customers.

Here are a couple other examples…

Zappos

Visit the site – Zappos and Zappos Zeta

Zappos Search Bar

Zeta Zappos Search Bar

The search bar on Zappos’s test site, Zeta, has the search bar with a color background to highlight the search functionality even more.

Bowhunting.com

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting Search Bar

The search here is not in the typical upper right hand side of the page. It’s toward the upper middle area and the company is using Google to provide their search functionality.

These companies realized what their visitors wanted – search functionality – and fostered their Website design around those expressed needs.

Your customer may be expressing different needs for your Website and business. You just have to figure out what they are asking.

Listen to Your Audience

A key to success on the Web for any company is to pay attention and listen to your audience.

Successful marketing driven companies in any contact channel have always been exceptional with testing various initiatives while listening to the feedback their customers provide to the testing. Google has made their mark on the Web by following the principle of testing and rolling out products that their audience responds to with the most long-term excitement. There will always be misses along the way, but the testing and listening strategy is a strong strategy for any company.

Testing at times can seem difficult and time consuming and to setup formal tests it can take time, but is often worth the effort to see the results.

Often times though you’ll find that you can listen and pay attention to your audience without setting up a formal test.

For example, I’ve noticed on the Hunting Business Marketing blog that the types of posts that get shared the most are posts that highlight the success of others. These are usually list posts such as 50 Best Hunting Website Designs. However, posts with more in depth commentary such as Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine are also successful.

I didn’t setup a test for types of posts, but I like to try writing posts of varying style while paying attention to what readers are responding to the most. It seems to be a great way to learn and grow as a writer and as a business owner.

Paying attention and listening to your audience is the key to testing and finding the needs of your customer. Successful companies are able to recognize these needs and address them with improvements to their value chain.

Summary

Companies involved in ecommerce have been alerted to a growing trend in Web consumer need – search.

Google has offered their own search for companies with an ecommerce focus with Google Commerce Search.

Successful companies always test and pay attention and listen to what their audience is telling them. Companies with long-term success are able to not only listen to their audience, but are also able to try new things that successfully address the expressed needs of their audience.

Setting up formal tests and even doing a little in depth analysis of your Website are great ways to listen to what your audience is saying. If you notice an area of expressed need that you can address then roll it out and see how your audience reacts. If it’s positive then great. If the response is so-so then try something new.

The key is to pay attention and continue adding value to your connection with your audience.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

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11 Ways to Influence People Online and Make Them Take Action

Image courtesy of alexkerhead

Keyword Confusion – The Michael Jackson Effect

Sometimes things surprise you

Coffee in the Morning

image credit: Sir Mervs

On June 25th, 2009 the world lost one of the most audience-effecting artists of a generation – Michael Jackson.

Now, I am a big fan of Michael Jackson’s music and efforts in the entertainment industry. He was creative, innovative, and fearless when it came to crafting original art that he used to connect with arguably one of the largest audiences ever to exist.

It was for this reason that I wanted to write a blog post about Michael Jackson.

I didn’t want to write the standard “I was a huge fan of MJ” post so I thought I’d do what I always do and draw some parallels between Michael Jackson’s success, blogging, and being an entrepreneur.

The result was:

The Michael Jackson Guide to Success

To say the post was a success would be both an understatement while also bringing about the topic of this post – Keyword Confusion.

You see, the Michael Jackson blog post has been a huge driver for traffic to Hunting Business Marketing and that’s great, but after thinking about what my goals for the site it may not be the most relevant traffic (for HBM or for the visitors).

Let’s take a closer look…

Keyword Confusion

It’s probably obvious that the audience I’m trying to reach with the blog posts on this site includes hunting business owners and bloggers.

Often times I like to write about other things I enjoy in life such as music (usually country music or even Bon Jovi) and other topics. I find that writing about what I enjoy and find interesting usually leads to the best posts.

And while I feel it’s important to write about what you love, I also believe you have to keep a focus on the audience you’re trying to reach on the Web.

Since I wrote the MJ post on June 27th, 2009 it’s become the most trafficked post on Hunting Business Marketing and Michael Jackson has become the 2nd biggest search term driving traffic to this blog.

Michael Jackson All Time Top Blog Post

The stats just for the term “Michael Jackson”

Michael Jackson Blog Statistics

Michael Jackson Number Two Search Term

While I didn’t intend for this to happen, it’s been a nice surprise to get a spike in traffic as a result of the Michael Jackson Effect.

Michael Jackson Google Trends

It’s also a classic case of keyword confusion as it relates to Hunting Business Marketing as a business.

While there are benefits to writing a post about Michael Jackson that might connect and be found as meaningful by a searcher on Google, it’s likely that person will not read much of the other content on the site and that’s understandable.

I think there is room for both a focused approach to your keyword initiatives as well as the occasional stray from the ordinary.

Focused Approach

When I write most of my blog posts I like to cover the topics that readers like you ask about or seem to be questioning in the blogosphere. I also like to focus on the questions and problems I have when I’m working in the hunting industry or with marketing on the Web.

I try to focus on keywords that have a decent amount of monthly traffic while also focusing on keywords that my target audience is likely using as they search for information on marketing their hunting business (specifically marketing their hunting business online).

These keywords (as you may know) include:

Hunting Business Marketing

Hunting Business

Hunting Blogs

There are always the long-tail keywords that work just as well:

Starting a hunting guide service

How to make a successful hunting business

How to start an outfitter in Wisconsin

With some of these I have been successful:

Hunting Industry

Hunting Industry Statistics

Hunting Blog Titles

I’m going to continue with my focused approach as one of my goals for writing quality posts. I focus first and foremost on answering your questions, but where appropriate I like to use keywords effectively as well.

But if you know anything about me…you know I can’t settle for just the focused approach…

A Little Fun

I think it’s just as important to write about seemingly outlandish things from time to time as well.

This is why I write posts like:

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

The Jon Bon Jovi Guide to Making it Big on the Web

A Story of Focus: My Rubik’s Cube Weekend

I think a good outlandish post, while remaining on topic somewhat, has the ability to attract quality attention while connecting with readers in a way standard or “safe” posts may not.

This is why I like to write uncommon posts once and awhile – to catch you off guard and keep you coming back while still providing valuable content to help you market your hunting business or blog on the Web.

Summary

It was fun writing the Michael Jackson post for this blog and I hope you enjoyed reading it (and checking out the fun dance sequence).

The truth is that while I hadn’t planned for that post to be anything more than a fun, effective post about being successful in life, I had no intention of it turning into the current, most trafficked post on Hunting Business Marketing.

The truth is that it’s important to remain focused with your keyword strategy for your hunting business site and blog.

But it’s also important to keep your Website fun and if it’s in your nature you should write about some outlandish things once and awhile. It’ll keep your audience on their toes while hopefully providing them a connection to your topic of focus at the same time.

Use a good blend of focus and fun with your blog posts and site content and you’ll attract the audience you’re after.

The real secret to Web success is realizing that it’s all about your genuine personality and showing your true voice.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Effectively Using Keywords in Your Blog Titles

Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

How to Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website

Related posts on the Web

Do Keywords in Post Titles Really Matter?

A Blog Search Engine Optimization Strategy – Maximize The Long Tail

How to Find and Target Long Tail Keywords for More Search Engine Traffic

Essential Hunting Industry Stats

One of the things all business owners do when thinking of starting and expanding their business is to research their industry and niche…

Whitetail Deer

It’s not always easy to find information.  It also takes a lot of time.

Here I have done some of the work for you if you’re looking for stats, resources, and information on the Hunting Industry.

The content collected here is as up to date as I could find as of the publishing of this article.

I hope this helps you with your research for your hunting business.

If you know someone who would find this information valuable please share it with them. You are welcome to share all of the content on this site.

Last Update – Nov. 2009 – Thanks to @BobbyFreeman for some great additional info

Hunting Industry Stats

Industry Stats

$22.9 Billion+ – Hunting expenditures (Source)

1 million – Near the number of jobs as a result of the Hunting Industry (Source)

$2,000 – Amount per hunter spent on hunting each year (Source)

$10.7 Billion – Hunting equipment expenditures (Source)

12.5 million – People 16 years old and older enjoyed hunting a variety of animals within the United States (Source) Down from 14 million in 1996 (Source)

10.7 million – Big Game Hunters (Source)

7.2 million – People hunting on private land only (Source)

91% – Male hunters (Source)

25% – Hunters age 35 to 44, the largest group (Source)

Hunting Web Stats

16,000,000 – Search results for “hunting” on Google (Source)

4th Quarter – Top quarter of the year for “hunting” as a search term (Source)

11,100,000 – Approximate search volume for the term “hunting” per month (Source: Google Keyword Tool: Type in ‘hunting’)

October – Highest Search Volume Month (Source: Google Keyword Tool: Type in ‘hunting’)

Huting – Top misspelled keyword with 18,100 searches per month (Source – KeywordSpy)

$0.80 – Estimated Average Cost Per Click for the term “Hunting” on Google AdWords (Google Keyword tool)

110 – PPC Advertisers for the term ‘Hunting’ (Source – KeywordSpy)

450,000+ – Facebook users with “hunting” as an interest (Source: Facebook Advertising Page – Password Protected)

100,000 – YouTube videos that appear for the search term “hunting”

HuntingNet.com vs. Peta.org (Source)

53,000 – Results on Technorati for ‘Hunting’ (Source)

17,500+ Twitter followers of @BullsandBeavers: Chris Burget is the top Hunter (by number of followers) on Twitter (Source)

Hunting Industry Resources

HuntingNet.com – The largest hunting Website on the Web (Source, Source, and Source)

DNR Directory (Bottom of the Page – Courtesy of HuntingResource.com)

Hunting (Wikipedia.org entry)

Hunting E-Commerce

Cabelas.com

BassPro.com

DicksSportingGoods.com

Hunting News

Hunting News – News on Hunting continually updated from thousands of sources around the net.

Hunting.Alltop.com – All the Top Hunting News

Google Hunting News

Hunting.About.com

Hunting Blogs

The Original HuntingLife.com Blog

Hunting Blog

Whitetail 365 (Field and Stream has some of the most popular hunting blogs)

Hunting Periodicals

Peterson’s Hunting

Deer and Deer Hunting

Field and Stream

Hunting Shows

Realtree Outdoors

Buckmasters

Versus Country (Hunting)

Hunting Communities

HuntingNet.com

Jesse’s Hunting & Outdoors

BowHunting.com

MyHuntingRoom.com

BaseCampLegends.com

Hunting Forums

HuntingNet.com Forum

BigGameHunt.net Forum

Jesse’s Hunting & Outdoors Forum

Hunting Industry Information

HuntingNet’s Hunting Business Directory “Find and contact almost every Hunting related business you can imagine”

2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associate Recreation by State

Hunting License Information

Interesting Study on Baiting [The Effects of Baiting on Deer Hunting in Wisconsin .pdf]

Find hunting and fishing trips

As I mentioned before, if you know anybody who would benefit from this post please share it with them.

That’s what the Web is all about. 🙂

Things to Share in the Comments

Success Rates (If you’re an outfitter, public land hunter, private land hunter, etc.)

Do It Yourself Success – Best places for do it yourself hunters (Example: Do It Yourself Elk Hunting – #1 Colorado)

Hunting License Draw Odds – Both by State and by Game (Example: Wyoming Odds)

Related posts on the Web

49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats

Listening to users is bad…

7 Ways to Be Worth Following on Twitter

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Keep Your Hunting Website Simple

Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

5 Examples of Hunting Businesses that Get It

image credit: Zest-pk