A marketing campaign is the sum of its parts.
So, in order to maximize that sum, you need to be able to add those parts together.
In the digital world, it makes sense to view a marketing campaign with a digital-first mindset. It’s crucial, however, not to discard traditional advertising and marketing channels.
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The best approach to marketing your company, then, is to use both digital and traditional channels to promote your brand.
In the digital age, SEO serves as the connective tissue between traditional and digital efforts in a cross-channel marketing campaign.
Use this article to better understand how SEO represents the connection between traditional and digital marketing and where it fits in a mixed-channel marketing campaign.
How Search Engines Changed Customer Buying Behavior
The introduction of the search engines has created a new step in the traditional consumer buying process.
People used to depend on organic methods (word of mouth) or traditional mediums of communication to learn about products or services. Now, customers have access to incredibly large volumes of information about any product or service that interests them at their convenience.
As a result, they now increasingly refer to search engines to begin their customer journey, since they can research, consider, and purchase a product all in the same sitting.
This circumstance has significantly altered the traditional marketing equation: Instead of relying on traditional marketing channels to prompt consumers to consider or purchase your product, your business needs to extend your marketing online to meet customers on their terms.
Traditional Marketing Prompts Consumers to Further Research Your Company
Just because people commonly use search engines as a tool during their buying process, they don’t begin their buying journeys in a vacuum.
Consumers are still driven to search for a product or service in response to some sort of stimulus or message.
This is where traditional marketing still holds enormous value.
People still heavily consume traditional media (and trust it the most), even if they don’t necessarily purchase as a direct result of it.
Thus, traditional channels present a tremendous opportunity to grow awareness and drive engagement for your brand, which sways consumers to further research and consider your products or services.
Marketers that understand this can design mixed-channel campaigns that engage and drive awareness through traditional advertising and motivate consumers further research your company and purchase online.
One thing to strive for in a mixed-channel campaign is to create a consistent brand narrative across channels that consumers can easily follow. This makes the transition between channels seamless and keeps customers engaged with your brand’s messaging.
Examples of methods to establish a consistent marketing narrative include:
- Hashtag campaigns: Associating a hashtag that you include in all marketing efforts for a campaign. This provides continuity across channels.
- Featuring your website across traditional campaigns: Mention your website in your ad or marketing message prompts consumers to continue to research your company based on the message they received in your traditional marketing.
To ensure that consumers actually visit your site, however, your company needs to invest in SEO.
SEO Builds Facilitates Further Research Of Your Company
When people are motivated to search for a term or phrase as a result of your traditional marketing efforts, it is absolutely imperative that your company appears in the top search results for those search queries.
This is where SEO comes in.
If you are able to populate the top rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), you significantly increase the chances that they visit your website. However, if you do not appear among top results, you likely lose that customer to a competitor who ranks above you.
So, your SEO strategy needs to include the following:
- Optimizing key elements of your site content for your campaign’s key terms and phrases, for example your hashtag. These include the titles of your web pages, the language you use on product pages, and how you phrase the key parts of your site navigation.
- Creating a landing page specifically devoted to your campaign. A page that is devoted to your campaign helps extend the narrative that you begin with your traditional and helps facilitate consumers seamlessly across your channels.
- Creating and marketing content that directly addresses customer questions or concerns as it pertains to your company. For example, if you are marketing an auto repair product, writing an article that explains how to use your product could dismiss any potential customer concerns about it being too complicated to purchase.
Populating your site with content that directly corresponds to the phrases customers will use to search for your company helps Google identify your site as relevant to those terms, and thus is a relevant domain to place as a top search result.
The higher your site ranks, the more likely that your page is the first that customers encounter when searching key campaign terms, which in turn is crucial for having them ultimately purchase from your company.
Disclaimer: Research Before You Invest in SEO!
SEO is often viewed as a silver bullet for companies struggling to establish visibility online.
While investing in SEO can be incredibly valuable, it is a long-term promotion effort that requires considerable maintenance, time, and resources.
Before even considering including SEO as a component part of your marketing campaign, you have to understand what SEO is, the factors that impact search ranking, and how SEO services can affect your business.
I always suggest having an SEO company conduct an audit of your site before you launch a marketing campaign to determine the sort of shape your site is in.
This can serve as a final gut-check to determine your preparedness for a mixed-channel campaign.
For example, if your website is out of date, or for some reason your marketing message does not align with your website’s content or focus (both of which hurt your search ranking), an audit will be able to identify your issues before you waste money on a campaign that won’t catch any traction.
There are some great resources online that break down SEO into its core facets and explain the factors that impact search rankings. A couple examples are Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO and Backlinko’s SEO in 2018.
Measure Performance to Improve Future Campaigns
Finally, you need tangible, quantifiable results to determine the success of your marketing campaign.
Before you launch your campaign, identify the objectives you want to achieve.
For a mixed-channel campaign, make sure you track metrics such as:
- Traffic volume from campaign terms. This will indicate the impact of those terms on people’s buying behavior. If those terms aren’t able to drive curiosity or interest, you’ll know to avoid that sort of language for your next campaign.
- Referral traffic during the time periods that correspond with your traditional marketing. This helps determine if those efforts motivated customers to go online to further research your company.
With these findings, you can learn what aspects of your campaign were successful and which you need to revisit to increase customer engagement.