Consumer intent is the driving force behind successful marketing and sales, and its influence reaches all areas of business. Understanding the intentions of potential customers can help companies make more informed decisions that improve the bottom line.

Learn what audiences are looking for to create smarter, data-driven campaigns. Here are three characteristics of an intent-driven audience and some tips on how smart marketers can utilize this knowledge:

1. Just Looking or Just Buying?

Intent-driven audiences are interested in a handful of topics that are of particular relevance to their lives. Even when they are just browsing through the Internet, people tend to focus on a fairly narrow field of subjects, and there’s generally some internal logic to the path. Learning these habits can help marketers drive an audience of window shoppers to an audience of buyers.

For example, if someone is interested in getting a college degree, online searches and Internet browsing are likely to center on that theme. This intelligence gives marketers a starting point for strategy and analysis.

2. Specific Questions, Specific Answers

As an audience browses through websites around areas of interest, they will likely start thinking of questions to get more information about the product or service. Discovering what search queries the audience is using can be essential for creating a marketing strategy.

For example, knowing that a cooking enthusiast is searching for recipe-related content would lead to a totally different marketing strategy than an audience that is looking for cooking technology.

Marketers who can pinpoint what their audience is searching for can make sure to create content and campaigns that support those queries. It can also help companies nurture leads when they have the data they need to create smart, purposeful strategies.

3. Navigation With Purpose

When a potential customer has a question, a company should aim to be the first responder, whether the person is Googling the question or just looking around a site. Ranking first in the search engines for relevant queries is a good goal, but helping customers navigate through the company’s website is a must.

No matter how the customer gets to the website, make sure that they stay on the site, get their questions answered and move toward becoming a lead is the way to transition someone from a potential customer into an actual one.

A well-organized website is the first step. A confused audience is likely to leave the website and go looking for answers elsewhere. Use your data on the audience’s search habits and interests to make sure they can always find what they are interested in.

Every action that a potential customer does on a company’s website is a piece of data that the company should learn from. The ads they click on, the content they download and even the last page they visit without making a purchase should be considered a learning opportunity. Data drives results.

Learn every bit of information about what the audience wants, what their problems are and how to solve those problems are how marketers can gain a competitive advantage. The audience is already acting with intent, so marketers need to do the same.