Here is an example of how to use Google Trends for small business marketing ideas. Google provides a lot of free tools and data that can be applied to all types of marketing activities for a small business. Their online tools are really simple to use and provide amazing consumer insights into what people are searching online for; in Australia or around the world.
You can learn about topics that are related to your industry, product or the latest general news that people are interested in learning more about. You can turn that information into something that is relevant to your business, blog, news site or eCommerce store.
1. What is Google Trends?
Google Trends is a free online tool that’s perfect for small business marketing inspiration.
It’s hard to believe that Google offers a free tool called Google Trends that is the perfect way for a small business to come up with new marketing ideas quickly. You just open the site and look at the trending topics or type your own into their search query tools.
Google then provides you a summary of the search volumes around the world, locally in Australia or even in States that you can then slice into weeks, months or even years to see trends. You can even compare different search words or phrases to see how they stack up.
This can give a small business a heap of marketing ideas whether you have a product you sell, a service, eCommerce store or even a special interest blog that makes money from paid advertising or sponsored posts. By understanding what people are interested in you can flip that information to deliver what they are looking for.
This could be done by;
- Creating new content for your website.
- Introducing a new service that people are looking for.
- Identifying new products people are researching.
- Creating news stories for your blog to increase readership.
- Provide education or advice on common problems people are facing.
2. What does a search trend look like? Let's look at Baking Bread.
Search trends will vary but sometimes they will spike and provide insight into current consumer behaviour.
Baking bread, learning how to bake or using a bread machine have just experienced the highest search volume in more than 3 years. As you would imagine bread is almost taken for granted these days with the incredible range of artisan bakers and every supermarket providing fresh bread baked daily. Although with the COVID restrictions and major shortages of food basics like bread, pasta or even toilet paper, it leads to changes in Consumer behaviour.
All of a sudden searches related to baking bread begin trending as people begin their journey of working out how they can replace their daily bread source by doing it themselves. Here are some examples;
- How long do you bake bread in the oven?
- How do you make bread from scratch?
- What is the best temperature to bake bread?
- How to bake bread at home?
- Bread machine reviews
- Best bread machine
- General interest or news website;
- A human news piece about how people are adapting to lockdown restrictions and baking bread.
- Sharing new bread baking recipes.
- A news release on the latest bread baking machine that has just been released.
- An interview with a baker sharing their best tips.
- A ‘Top 10’ List of bread baking recipes
- Review website
- Do a product round up on the bread making machines.
- A product review on different types of flour used for bread baking, different bread styles etc
- Compare supermarket baked bread vs a franchise chain vs a local store
- eCommerce website
- Look for opportunity buys on bread making related products to be added to your range or sold as a one off special item.
- Create a content piece talking about bread making that relates to complimentary items you sell.
- Offer a free bread making eBook for long term customers or repeat purchasers.
- Create a promotional offer that has a discount off break making classes when XYZ products are purchased from your store.
- If you already sell bread making related products make sure there is a ‘Top 10’ list on your home page, offers from suppliers, new blog content about bread baking etc.
- Cooking class website
- You might be able to add bread making as one of your classes?
- If the topic doesn’t directly relate to your core business what about creating a guest session or free one-off class for bread making to do something a little different and keep your audience engaged.
3. How do you work out what marketing content to create?
Understanding what your competition is doing is your first step.
What if you have never really thought about the topic before? Sticking with the bread example the first thing you can do is head to Google and put yourself into a Consumer’s shoes. When you type ‘baking bread’ into Google what comes up? Most likely you will see some key sections on the search engine results page (SERP)
might be displayed at the top or bottom of the page. You might be lucky and there are not advertisers at the moment and that can be an opportunity for quick exposure.
- Highlighted Recipes
For food related results these may be shown at the top of the page and featured if those sites have implemented the correct Schema Markup, meaning Google can identify their website has specific recipes people can follow.
- People Also Ask
This section is a mini gold mine, it shows you what other related topics people are interested in. These create content opportunities you can use on your website.
Nowdays there are videos for nearly everything, so it would make sense to think about creating your own especially if you are trying to break into a new category.
- Top Stories
These are recent news items talking about the topic
All of these elements give you the framework you need to create your own marketing ideas for the topic. You can take elements of the top ranking website, recipe, video and news stories to understand what those sites have done to create content that is currently ranking.
Google does look at over 200 factors when it ranks a site or page so just because you are the newest to write something about the topic doesn’t mean you will magically appear on the first page of search results.
4. How do you develop your marketing ideas to be unique?
Data, data, data – use what is available to ensure what you create will add value.
You’ll notice in the previous screenshot it is indicating there are 1.4 billion potential search results for bread baking. So if all you create is just a copy of the same information that is available already, then how or why will you be able to beat the competition?
Google will be looking for information that is either better, more authoritative or higher quality that what is available now. This is where data becomes important as you can explore lots of topics and variations that are related to the main idea and think about your unique approach to the topic. So for example in the keyword research below there are variations relating to banana bread or baking on a stone for example – these could open up niches to explore.
You can flip this information on its head and maybe you are a;
- General news website so you could focus on answering all the problems people have when baking bread rather than trying to compete with another recipe.
- eCommerce store could introduce a new line of baking tins that makes baking bread at home easy and at the right temperature (see what I did there?)
- Product Review Site could search for ‘the best bread baking tins’ or ‘baking stones for baking bread at home then reach out to the brands that make them to being a conversation about generating product reviews, editorial content or sponsored stories.
You can get more keyword idea variations and even look at what websites are ranking for a particular keyword or phrase using tools like SEMRUSH. They offer free and paid options with insights for search traffic trends, content creation templates and more. Try it out;
5. How can you use Google Trends to grow your business?
Learning about Consumer behaviour can create business opportunties..
By using Google Trends to understand consumer behaviour you are essentially generating your own free market research. You can take that information to then create business opportunities. A recent example we worked on was for Scootering in Sydney. In their most basic form they provide a scooter rental service, so logically every company in the category was focussed on keywords related to scooter hire or scooter rental.
Although understanding what was driving Consumer demand for scooter rentals became the catalyst to turning that brand into a $1M+ business. I did a deep dive into what people were actually using the rental scooters for. The general believe was travellers, people who had their bike in for service or people getting their Learner License. The trend that had taken hold though was the huge growth in food delivery services from Uber Eats, Menulog and Deliveroo – this was fuelling demand for low cost weekly scooter rentals to make it simple for people to earn money.
I changed the focus of the website content, site structure, keywords, Google Ads focus, Gumtree Ads, Facebook Marketplace Ads and social media communications to be razor sharp on this topic. The results speak for themselves as the rental fleet grew to over 200 bikes, a second location opened in Melbourne, first page search results for ‘Uber Eats Scooter Rental’ and search results that beat companies like Uber, Ridely and others who had been in the category for many years.