ADOTAS – Search marketing and email campaigns are often looked at by marketers as separate tactics. However, email campaigns can now be leveraged beyond the subscriber base and published to the web via new social media channels. In turn, search marketing efforts can be designed to drive more eyeballs to not only a company’s website, but to a particular email initiative.
So, how does the nimble marketer leverage an integrated approach to search marketing that drives better email ROI and vice versa? This article will discuss why search is an important part of an integrated marketing campaign and touch on the symbiotic relationship between search and email marketing, and where social media marketing plays in the mix.
Why search is important
Search marketing has important implications for businesses. In today’s online world, search engines are often a first stop for consumers looking for content, deals, general information, reviews and more, which influences critical purchasing decisions. A buttoned-up search marketing strategy takes advantage of both paid search and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to elevate a company’s presence in the search results of specific keywords.
However, a recent study proves that search marketing’s importance goes beyond just making it to the first page of a Google search. A recent survey conducted by Jupiter Research (now part of Forrester) found that 61 percent of reluctant consumers can be positively swayed online. This has strong implications for a brand’s online presence and subsequently how their target consumers and prospects find them online.
Search and email — the symbiotic relationship
Most marketers understand that email marketing and search marketing have some sort of connection. But, more often than not, these two functions are siloed in different departments or viewed by marketers as two separate tasks with two different reporting methods. However, as the web continues to become a more social place and with nomadic audiences seamlessly moving around the web, search and email have a newfound need to work in tandem to capture prospects’ attention and ultimately drive results.
First, let’s look at how search engine marketing (SEM) can drive results for email marketing programs. Most companies purchase keywords from search engines that best associate their brand with what prospective and existing customers are most likely to search for on the web. Combining this with organic, in-house SEO efforts helps to boost search marketing efforts. This is basic SEM practice.
However, what if consumers put in a search term on Google and are taken to a landing page where they are encouraged to sign-up for an email newsletter? This helps drive searchers to become part of a brand’s email marketing process, driving larger subscriptions and engagement, as the consumer chooses to opt-in and is therefore more likely to act. By integrating search and email marketing with web analytics, marketers can understand more holistically what search terms and keywords are driving traffic to the landing page and augment email content accordingly to better reach, serve, and engage their key audience. This integrated approach could close the loop for marketers by measuring these campaigns and their results and optimizing in real-time.
Similarly, email marketing can also help drive search success. Consider a newsletter campaign promoting a seasonal deal to customers and prospects. The email gets automatically optimized for the web so the content is picked up and posted by Google. With emerging tools such as social media site sharing widgets, email campaigns can also present viewers with options to share newsletters on social networking and other aggregating sites that they are members of or visit often, such as Digg, del.icio.us, and Facebook. This effectively shares your email with a broad online audience of fans, supporters, and others. And, it offers hyperlinked content that drives even more people back to your website or landing page.
The social factor
The communication, community-building, and purchasing behavior of today’s consumer has changed. People are consuming and interacting with content from more online mediums than ever before, including email, social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and via mobile messages both online and on-device.
This transformation requires a shift in how marketers listen to and target audiences throughout the lifecycle of relationships. This new era of 21st century marketing requires us to move beyond a “push” mentality with audiences, to more interactive and engaging relationships that include two-way conversations across a broader range of channels.
Social media marketing offers opportunities to drive the relationship with search and email forward faster and more cohesively. Search remains one of the key ways your customers find you online. But gone are the days when you can optimize just your website and achieve the search results intended. Why? Because search engines love social networking sites and media and this content improves your company’s SEO.
Sophisticated search engines are spidering through the internet looking for blogs, wikis, social networks, photo sharing sites, Twitter, and more, and you want your company to feature prominently in those results and have a distinct and engaging presence.
For example, the sharing of email newsletters by fans on Facebook makes this content available to their network of users, but also produces results when someone searches for these keywords in a search on Facebook. Similar results are realized on Twitter, but have even more web viral appeal as they can be re-broadcasted (“re-tweeted”) out to an exponential list of users/followers.
This means more content and engagement with a brand online, which translates into improved search results and email effectiveness. Essentially, the emergence of social networking and social sharing tools in email helps to force down the silos around search and email marketing to drive more cohesive, integrated marketing strategies.
Bringing it all together
Emails are no longer a stagnant one-way marketing message and are increasingly becoming just one of the many ways a company should interact with and engage its customers and prospects. Email now offers new options for consumers to share and tag newsletters and offers — allowing your message to spread virally at the click of a mouse. Search marketing can drive effective email list building initiatives, the results of which are measurable. If executed properly, email marketing can drive improved search results and are also measurable, providing actionable data in real-time to improve campaign effectiveness.
If most now agree that search and email marketing are better when working together to drive marketing results, then it’s easy to see how other marketing tactics can also be integrated into a holistic campaign approach. As described above, social media channels can interact with both email and search and act as the intermediary, amplifying their power at virtually no cost.
Are people forwarding your message or linking it to their social networking pages? Are 10 percent of your new email subscriptions coming from Twitter? Having a unified search and email strategy will help to hone this, and drive greater ROI with the same or even less resources.