How To Do Keyword Research For A Service Business


Tuesday, 10.15pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Key idea: To write successful ads, imagine what your customer is searching for – Google Learn documentation

I’ve been thinking recently about the stages in the sales process and how it’s important that lead generation and value creation are recognised as two separate parts of a purchase funnel.

The normal picture of a purchase funnel has customers going from awareness through to purchase, and there are modifications and adjustments to break up the steps or create more of a loop.

Lots of tinkering, in other words.

Most funnels assume that customers are in some kind of comparison mode all the time – it’s just a question of when they buy.

This is probably true with products, like bicycles, and straightforward services, like a haircut.

After that, it gets more complicated.

A really good service business has the ability to create value through its interaction with a prospect – value that might not have existed before the conversation.

Quite often people don’t know what they want until you’re able to show them.

I’m going to leave that for another post – what I’m interested here is what happens before you come to the value creation part – the bit about lead generation.

The biggest problem service providers have is seeing things from their customer’s point of view.

If you’ve been in a field for a while and then started off as a consultant, you’re immersed in the detail of what you do.

It’s very hard to take a step back and see things the way a customer does – it’s almost a physical hurdle in your mind.

I see this with relatively early stage practitioners as well, this insistence that what they know is what the world also knows – a kind of cognitive blindness to the world around them.

So, how do you overcome this hurdle in your brain?

I don’t know – but I thought I’d try and see if developing a graphic organiser might help.

The image above is a first attempt – a simple one that tries to look at things first through your eyes, and then through the customers – to try and see if you can move your point of view.

I ran an example through it – a fictional business coach.

From her point of view, she coaches leaders to become the best leaders they can be.

What does the prospective customer think?

I guessed maybe she wants to be really good at her job.

How does the coach start her story – the thing she tells when she’s asked to talk about how she works.

Well, she probably talks about how she’ll have a session with you and talk about where you are right now – a sort of diagnostic.

How does the prospect start their story?

Perhaps they wonder how they can become a better leader – or even – are they any good right now?

If someone was motivated enough to find out, what would they search for.

Having written down the four statements, the words “leadership aptitude test” came to mind.

And do people search for that?

It turns out they do.


Now, I know this may seem very basic – but often breaking things down to this kind of level makes the difference between thinking clearly – and failing to see what’s going on at all.

You could go the other way and bury yourself in keyword research – the technology is out there and I’ve spent hours getting bored stiff doing all that.

Maybe this low-tech way has a few advantages.

If you gently walk yourself across to the customer’s side – if you can coax your brain to make this journey – you might discover that you’ve got something unique that few others have realised that people are asking.

And, of course, if you have a friendly prospect you can ask them to help you fill out the graphic and see if you can work out some keywords together.

I don’t know if this is useful – we’ll see if there is a chance to test it in real life.

But here’s the thing.

What harm can it do to look more closely at the way you think?



Karthik Suresh

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