I’ve seen so many online marketing campaigns planned and run in an isolated way; without considering integrating all marketing efforts to ensure their marketing campaigns are maximized to their fullest potential. We have had many prospects come to us looking for Search Engine Optimization (or other) services and not sharing their overall marketing strategy because they didn’t realize that SEO is not a standalone channel. SEO should be integrated with the overall marketing strategy; be it online or offline marketing.
When different skills are combined together they can seamlessly achieve something truly outstanding. Take figure skating for example. When you watch a technically strong skater you are impressed by his technical skills. But when in addition the skater also has athletic and artistic skills, the skating reaches a different level. Add in a talent for performing and connecting with the audience and the result is astounding; you enjoy a beautiful artistic performance combined with athletic and skillful techniques. A skater could have only one of these skills and still be a decent skater, but the ones who win the medals have all of these components working together.
The Mindset of Holistic Integrated Marketing
Ric Dragon, our CEO, is in the process of writing a book Social Marketology, about social media process and we have a lot of brainstorming sessions around related topics. A few days ago, Ric and I were discussing integrated online marketing and how SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns can work together to support each other instead of running independently. This is a topic that we’ve been discussing a lot at DragonSearch. Ric is a white board fanatic. It doesn’t matter what our meeting is about, Ric will very soon stand up, pick up a marker and start illustrating his ideas on the whiteboard. We have frequent brainstorming sessions and very often the whiteboards get filled up with all sorts of creative ideas and theories. Our brainstorming about integrating marketing created this end result:
The Creation of Integrated Marketing Strategies: Summing up the Whiteboard
The following are rough outlines of components in the three online marketing channels. They are not meant to be full, detailed lists since the primary goal was to find parallels between SMM, SEO and PPC, but rather illustrate how these three entities combine into integrated online marketing.
Outline of Social Media Marketing Efforts
- Micro audiences
- Brand voice
- Social platforms
- Owning profiles
Outline of the SEO Efforts
- Competitive research
- Keyword research
- On-page optimization, landing pages
- Technical SEO, site structure
Outline of the PPC Efforts
- Ad copy writing
- Competitive research
- A/B testing of both ads and landing pages
- Conversion optimization
- Analytics of results
How Social Media Marketing, SEO and PPC Advertising Integrate
There are many connections between elements in Social, SEO and PPC that can work together to support each other.
Social, SEO & PPC Integration
- Goals, voice and messaging are integral parts of all three channels and these need to be consistent throughout all marketing campaigns.
- Social research and SEO competitive research have a lot of parallels. Add in PPC competitive analysis and you will get a much more comprehensive picture of the competitive landscape.
- Blog – while the blog may play the most important role in SMM and SEO, there are instances where experimenting with PPC ads for blog posts can be worth trying.
- Media such as images, video, and podcasts are not only great tools to enhance engagement in Social and SEO strategies but for example images can significantly enhance Pay-Per-Click ads.
- Landing pages in some cases can be used for all three. On-page optimization is important for both SEO and PPC. A/B testing and conversion optimization will enhance the page’s performance for all campaigns. Note that often PPC will perform better with a designated PPC landing page, but experimenting should never stop. Plus, we all heard “rumors” about how PPC might influence organic rankings. I did not test this theory and cannot speak to it.
- Promotions – for maximum exposure and most effective results, use all three campaigns.
- Keyword research is always integrated into the SMM campaign not just for maximizing the presence on the various social platforms and profiles but also for finding and understanding micro audiences, influencers and communities. In addition PPC campaign data on keyword performance with impressions, CTRs, conversion rates, is invaluable for SEO; I like to call it paid keyword research.
- Building relationships is a very important part of both Social Media and SEO campaigns. A good online relationship can not only yield some great editorial links to your site, but it can also help connect you to micro audiences, online communities and influencers.
- Paid social ads – While there might not be that many parallels between PPC and Social Media Marketing, paid social media ads are one example. This includes Facebook ads, sponsored tweets, retargeting on blogs and other social sites, etc. As things evolve, new opportunities will arise.
The Big Picture – What is the Bottom Line of Every Effective Marketing Effort?
The bottom line of every marketing campaign is to increase conversions/revenue. In order to achieve this you need to increase your authority and trust, so people feel comfortable completing a conversion. All three online marketing channels and activities mapped out in the plan help achieve this objective.
Website design, information architecture (IA), and usability will all contribute to the success of a campaign. The website needs to have a professional design, feel and structure so that it builds the visitor’s trust. Usability is an increasingly important factor in not just conversions, but also trust and even organic rankings in the search engines.
So What is the BIG BENEFIT of Integrated Marketing?
How does having marketing efforts integrated help achieve trust and authority and thus influence your conversions?
Combining SEO, Social Media and PPC campaigns, you maximize your online presence and visibility for potential clients. They will see you in the organic and paid search results, on various websites and blogs, they will be able to connect with you in social media, watch your videos, read what others say about you, etc. All these elements work together, and together they are stronger than the parts on their own. All this builds people’s trust toward your brand and they will think of you as an authority in your field. When you trust someone and consider them an authority, doesn’t that make you more comfortable buying their product or service?
Need some data to support this? According to Nielsen Research there is a 32% increase in click through rates when you appear in both paid and natural results. Your brand recognition and brand favorability increases significantly as well.
I recall Melanie Mitchell’s presentation on Day 2 of MozCon this summer where she showed a case study about Delta Airlines. They were ranking top for their branded search organically, so they did a test of reducing their PPC by 50% for branded keywords. The result was a significant reduction in both PPC and organic search revenues.
Integrated Marketing – Beyond Just Online
While our focus was on integrated online marketing strategies, developing a mindset of not thinking of the different marketing channels as standalone strategies is crucial, be it online or offline for any form of digital or traditional marketing. The focus of agencies should not only be on building this culture internally, but it is also the agency’s responsibility to educate and guide their clients to understand the immense importance and potential of integrated marketing in all, I repeat: ALL, their marketing strategies.
I’d love to hear your opinion and experiences with integrated online and/or offline marketing strategies and campaigns. How do you integrate your marketing efforts? What are your challenges? What has worked well for you?