Every online search starts with a problem. Where can I find a hotel in London? How can I save money on my energy bills? Which marketing automation tools integrate with my CRM system?
As marketers, it’s our job to solve these problems and turn those search requests into leads and, ultimately, paying customers.
This process, in itself, creates more problems for the marketer.
How do I stand out from the competition in an increasingly crowded market? How do I keep my visitors engaged once they have landed on my site? How do I build and retain an audience while my prospects learn how my organization can help them solve their problems?
Search is just the beginning of the journey.
What is Search?
When we talk about search, we are typically referring to two different marketing strategies:
- Organic Search: These are the search results that are delivered at “no cost” by search engines like Google as part of their standard search service. Ranking highly on the major search engines is a priority — but this isn’t always so easy. Organic (natural) search is the foundation upon which the entire Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry is built.
- Paid Search: Helping marketers position themselves favorably at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Paid search campaigns, triggered by specific keywords and search phrases, can be launched in a matter of minutes. But those paid search campaigns don’t come cheap. A single click for a keyword or phrase in any competitive industry can amount to a dollar amount that, within a few clicks, can destroy any margin in a product or service if care is not taken to manage those campaign costs.
Don’t let the terms “organic” and “paid” fool you. Both strategies will require a significant investment in time and (that means) money if they are to be successful.
Tip: Many marketers employ retargeting campaigns across various display advertising networks and social media channels like Facebook to optimize their search budgets. These campaigns are triggered by a pixel on your website deployed after a search delivers a new visitor. This style of advertising utilizes low-cost advertising inventory across a variety of networks and can be a cost-effective solution to raise your profile following your initial discovery.
Search Marketing Problems
Because search marketing typically incurs a cost, marketers will want to ensure that they make a great first impression.
If people are searching for a solution that your business offers, you’ve got to give them something to find. Therefore, the next step on your journey to solving your clients’ problems starts with content.
Supportive content solves several search problems. These include:
- Providing the building blocks for your SEO and paid search strategies.
- Creating a welcoming and engaging landing experience for visitors after they have found your organization.
- Helping marketers to nurture new and potentially profitable relationships from acquisition to sale and beyond.
Search is an inexact science. For example, organic search is controlled by everchanging, “black box” algorithms. As a result, you can be top of the SERPs one day and nowhere to be found the next. Similarly, paid search campaigns operate in a competitive space and will disappear into thin air when your budget dries up. Therefore, strategies must be implemented to ensure any traffic generated from search campaigns is not wasted.
Essentially, when someone finds you via search, you’ll want to create a “sticky” experience so that people hang around and remember you. This means your content should always be relevant, engaging, and timely. It also means that every landing experience should have a compelling call-to-action (CTA) to capture your visitors’ attention and contact details.
Building Profitable Relationships
In a perfect world, your customer contact details will be accompanied by a purchase or order, helping you realize an immediate return on investment (ROI) from your search activity. But because we don’t live in a perfect world, the next best thing is a registration of interest in a product or service, an email subscription to a regular newsletter, or a social media follow.
In many ways, email marketing and social media can be considered the profitable components of your more expensive search campaigns. Once captured, email subscriptions and social media follows can drive multiple visits from a single search resulting in customer acquisition or lead capture.
At the most basic level, your email and social media campaigns are the digital marketing equivalent of an old-fashioned classified advert published in the back pages of a newspaper or magazine. These campaigns serve as a regular reminder that your company exists and has a solution to your potential clients’ problems. Like a classified advert, they might not lead to an immediate sale, but your brand will be front-of-mind when the customer is ready to make a buying decision.
More sophisticated email and social campaigns can be used alongside your content marketing activities as part of a carefully executed marketing automation strategy, guiding prospects through the sales funnel.
Tear Down Your Marketing Silos
Because search is only the first step on the journey to building an audience, it has to work alongside everything else you do to promote your business. Therefore, campaign strategies must be planned and created with the involvement of your entire marketing team. This will include your email marketing manager, social media manager, content team, and CRM administrator — the list goes on.
In smaller marketing departments, many of these roles will be rolled into one. This should simplify the planning process, but the execution will be the real issue with such limited resources. In such cases, marketers in this position will benefit from working with partners with a complete overview of all the marketing channels they wish to engage their audience.
To learn more about how the marketing experts at emfluence can help you build an audience via search, email, social media, and content marketing, contact us today at email@example.com.