Google Circles and the future of SEO copywriting

“Circles, my head is going round in circles” –  Circles, by Pete Townshend.

Last year, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said in an oft-reported quote:

“Guess what? Nobody wants to make lists.”

I’d disagree with his statement. There is one group that loves to segment data and make lists – and that’s marketers.

And marketers are going to have one hell of a fun time with Google+.

Here’s why.

One of the current challenges with Facebook and Twitter is that it’s an all-or-nothing messaging platform. I can target my tweets (or my Facebook posts) as much as possible. But at the end of the day, I can’t  get into micro targeting. My SEO copywriting tip tweet would be hypothetically read by other SEO professionals, friends, family…and yes, prospects too. Sure, other friends/SEO professionals may retweet what I’ve written…but that still has the same scattershot, “throw the tweet against the wall and see if it sticks” effect.

Google Circles gives marketers much more power. For instance, let’s say you own an email marketing company and you have two main target audiences:

  • Real estate agents
  • Health clubs/spas

Imagine this scenario…

A real estate agent prospect contacts you, you bond, and he adds you on Google+. Since he’s a prospect, you would add him to your “real estate prospects” Circle.

Then, a health club owner contacts you. Same scenario – once she’s added you on Google+, you could add her to your “health club prospects” Circle.

(And no, people can’t see your Circle names. According to Google, “When you place people into circles, or when you share with your circles, we won’t disclose the titles of the circles people are in.” So, you don’t have to worry about people feeling funky that they’re in a Circle called “real estate prospects.”)

Now, here’s what you can do from the SEO copywriting/messaging standpoint.

You could create vertical-specific messages just for that Circle. For instance, you could broadcast that you just released a case study about how health clubs use email marketing. Your real estate prospects wouldn’t care about your case study. But your health club prospects sure would.

Then, you could send your real estate prospects the latest stats on email marketing for their industry. You’re sorting through the information and only giving them what’s important to them.

Once a prospect converted into a paying customer, you could move them out of the “prospects” Circle and into a “real estate clients” Circle. Voila! The Circle, in its own way, mirrors where the prospect is in the sales cycle.

The Clients circle could include different client-related broadcasts. For instance, who doesn’t love to read broadcasts that say, “We love our clients. Here are X tips on how to improve your results” – with a link out to the resource? Again, you’re able to target the messaging to the audience.

The marketer in me is doing the Snoopy happy dance.

Yes, I know this is more work. Yes, I know it means crafting Circle-specific messages as well as “general” messaging. Yes, you will need to manage your Circle members closely and match it with your customer list (I predict that Circles Optimization will be a new SEO copywriting opportunity.) And yes, it will take time to create good messages, rather than spam (just like it takes time to create good, keyphrase-rich content.)

But the ability to finely tune your messaging will be well, well worth it.

Will this technique work right now? Possibly, but know that Google+ is in its infancy. Even though Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com has predicted that “Google will easily pass 10 million users tomorrow (July 12) and could reach 20 million user by this coming weekend,” that doesn’t mean that it’s marketing bonanza time. People are still getting their virtual feet wet – and folks using it are the geeky early adopters – not “normal” folks. In fact, most businesses don’t have Google+ on their radar yet. Heck, they’re still trying to figure out Google SEO! :)

However, it does give us a glimpse of the future. And the future is looking so bright, I gotta wear shades. With Circle frames, natch. :)