Email Marketing and SEO – How are they Related?
How Search Engine Optimization can help you power your email marketing efforts
Some recent research found that almost 8 in 10 marketers rate search engine optimization (SEO) as either excellent (31%) or good (48%) in terms of return on investment (ROI), while 70% rate email marketing either excellent (23%) or good (47%). Among digital channels, more respondents rate SEO and email marketing highly than do paid search (PPC – 56%), affiliate marketing (44%), social media (44%), and mobile marketing (41%).
This means that of all the digital channels available to marketers, Email and SEO are the ultimate (bread) winners when it comes to bringing in more business and delivering ROI. The two tools work together towards driving visitors to your website, and ultimately converting the traffic from those visits into sales.
So if Email Marketing and SEO are top channels for ROI, then how can businesses effectively combine them to attract the right audience? More importantly, how can YOU combine the two tools to supercharge your marketing activities?
Attract people to your site using SEO, then use Email to follow-up.
The secret to combining SEO and email marketing lies in a few steps. Here they are.
Step 1: On Site: Attract the Right Audience
To start, you will need to perform keyword research using AdWords or some other keyword tool of your choice. In your initial keyword research you will find many phrases that indicate that the person conducting the search is ready to buy. These will vary from business to business and from industry to industry. These type of phrases you will usually need for pay per click (PPC) campaigns.
Such key phrases may be ‘best family car under 10,000’, ‘best diesel family car’, ‘learn French for business 3 week intensive online course’ etc. As you can see, these searches are quite focussed and specific, indicating that the potential visitor has already done some kind of initial research. Each of these keyphrases signifies that the prospect has already made their research as well as the decision to purchase, and are now just looking for offers to close the deal.
Along with these commercial keywords and phrases, you will also find many that are non-commercial. For example, ‘buying second hand car tips’, ‘can you learn a new language online?’. These searches are broader, more general and vague. These types of searches, give the impression that the person is maybe unclear or uncertain as to what it is that they want or need. Maybe they are conducting a initial research.
These searches, unlike the first 3 examples, indicate that the person conducting the search is interested in the type of product or service you offer but doesn’t necessarily have a commercial intent. If someone is searching for non-commercial intent keywords they are clearly in the “early research” phase of shopping.
These broader and more general keywords, are the type of phrases that you will use to attract leads at the top of your funnel. Right at this moment, it’s all about getting in front of the customer early on and making a good impression. You will need to nurture those leads until they are ready to make a purchase.
The audience you attract through the non-commercial keywords are making informational queries – that is, they look for answers to questions (What should I look for when buying a second hand car or Can you really learn a language online?). These particular phrases should be guiding you towards the type of content you need to be creating. This content, powered by the progressively more in-depth and sophisticated keywords around your product or service, will serve as a guideline as to how the lead is progressing in your sales funnel. The more complex and narrow the content gets, the more nurtured the lead is within the sales cycle, until ultimately they are ready to make a purchase.
If you have a blog post that answers these questions, you will attract the audience to spend more time on your website, read your content and discover more about your product. This particular type of audience tends to be more prone to subscribing to emails and newsletters, which is fantastic as these are the type of leads you want in your marketing funnel.
- Compile a list of 10 keywords your audience uses to indicate commercial intent
- Compile a list of 10 keywords and phrases that your audience uses to indicate interest in your product, but are not yet ready to buy
Step 2: Deliver the Right Content
So you’ve attracted the right people to your site, and you want them to sign up for your content. What does your sign up page look like?
Is it a bland page with a plain fill in form that offers no value whatsoever? Or is it a cleverly designed page, which offers access to exclusive content (PDF, eBook, special report)?
You want to build up your credibility and make it evident quite early on that you are an expert in your field and providing in-depth, informative content with quality data is a step in the right direction. You want people to look at your landing page and go ‘Wow! These guys really know their stuff! I want to learn more from them! I think they are industry leaders!’.
In order to evoke this sort of reaction, you will need to offer some Awesome Free content up front.
This content should be informative and engaging, but it should also tie up closely with your effort to navigate the lead down through your sales funnel. You are giving away content that is 80% pure, relevant, applicable data but is also 20% promotional.
This content, be it a report (Top 10 most reliable cars to buy second hand), an eBook (Top 10 tools to help you learn a new language online) or any other format, should be the first introduction to the subscriber as to what it is to participate in your community. They have given you their email address, in return you will deliver to their inboxes great content, just like the one they have just gained access to.
- Write down 3 different subjects for content, potential subscribers would like to download in return for their email address
Step 3: Those Email Marketing Campaigns
Now that you have the lead’s email, you can start sending them messages.
There is two ways you can go about this. You can either start blasting one-size-fits-all non-tailored salesy campaigns to all your subscribers, which will ultimately result in your email being deleted faster than you can say ‘search engine optimization’. Or, you can have a more targeted and long-term approach.
Don’t forget that those people who just signed up to your email list, are not ready to buy. You’ve obtained those visitors through non-commercial but information-seeking search queries (look at Step 1), so blasting those people with sales message will not only be unsuccessful tactic, but also a waste of your time and resources.
Instead, you should focus on delivering informative and educational content. You want to send them something that builds on your reputation as a thought-leader in your industry as well as something that will help you strengthen your relationship with the lead.
Ultimately, this is the stage where you fulfil the visitor’s expectations. They signed up expecting good quality content, and this is the part where you should deliver it. If you instead decide to deliver a sales message, you have really just destroyed the trust that you’ve worked so hard to build in the last 2 steps.
If anything, you want to spend longer connecting with that person, engaging with them through your emails, making them use your website and platform. With a quality email marketing software, you can easily see which leads are more engaged than others, how many of them open your emails regularly and click on links. Only then should you attempt SUBTLY! to reach out to them with a sales and marketing message.
How subtle should you be? Well, don’t blast them with buy this or buy that emails. Instead do a bit of research. You can easily see from your reports which emails have been opened and which particular links they have clicked on. If there is a pattern of someone looking at a specific product or service over and over again, you can email them something like:
Hi there %FirstName%,
I noticed that you are interested in X,Y and Z. Did you know that we’ve recently developed this new tool that does X, Y and Z for you faster than any other tool?
Have a look for yourself here add link.
If they go on to click on the link, that may mean that they really are ready to buy, they have commercial intent so you can go ahead and schedule a sales call.
- Think of and write down 4 different segments of people that you will need to email separately. These segments could be based on the different products and services that you offer where each segment is interested in a different product. They could be based on how ready the different leads are to buy, or any other criteria. Whatever works for you.
Step 4: Shampoo, Rinse and Repeat
Considering that this whole process involves SEO and email marketing (tools well known for the fact that they need to be used continuously) it must come as no surprise that this is an ongoing process rather than a one-off tactic. After all, we are talking about the relationship between SEO and email marketing, not one off interactions.
The more you work on this, the more successful and efficient you will become. Every business is different and you will need some time figuring out what works best for your business. Keep an eye on keywords and phrases (those are changing all the time), study your email reports to see how different campaigns and different content are performing, study your analytics or even split test 2 sign up pages to see which one converts more traffic to subscribers.
If you put in the time, you can really push the boundaries of what the combined power of SEO and email marketing can do for you and your business.
- Write down 5 different ways in which you will monitor the progress and results of your SEO and email marketing efforts.