Understand how to integrate and maximise the power of search engine optimisation as part of your brand’s multichannel marketing strategy.
How SEO Enhances Your Multichannel Marketing Strategy
Author: Rowan Collins, Senior Digital Strategist
Search engine optimisation, the holy grail of digital marketing in the mind of many and a thumping pain in the temple for others. While it’s certainly not a holy grail, it doesn’t need to be a headache either.
Like any marketing channel, search engine optimisation promotes the products and services of a business – the caveat is that it’s primarily a demand conversion form of marketing, and not particularly strong at demand generation. When executed efficiently, search engine optimisation helps you or your clients to capture an existing demand.
Demand conversion has a place in most businesses’ marketing plans, but it shouldn’t be the sole tactic. You’re also challenged with increasing the demand within your industry—known as demand generation—even if doing so means competitors might capture some of that new demand. This is the heart of W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne’s reconstructionist view from their sensational Blue Ocean Strategy and exemplified most clearly in their three tiers of noncustomers.
Breaking the fourth wall for a moment – I want to demonstrate for you the ways that demand generation, specifically search engine optimisation, plays a part in your marketing plans.
What is Multichannel marketing?
A marketing channel is the collective wisdom and specialist activities that, when applied by various practitioners, connect consumers with a product or service they need or want. Therefore, multichannel marketing is the careful and deliberate mix of specialisms.
Imagine for a moment that your business manufactures a proprietary type of window covering, a new type of blind or curtain. Your patent was just approved – you’re ecstatic. What’s better is that consumer trials are very promising – it’s going to be a massive hit.
How Might Multichannel Marketing Work For You?
You first consider going direct-to-consumer. It will give you control of the price and quality of the service, both things you’re sure will be crucial for success. However, after some tireless nights setting up your first ecommerce site, you’ve realised that you have limited retail experience, your passion is product design, and competing with industry giants is a heavy investment – now what?
One path forward is to licence the patent to big industry retailers. Let them sell it under your brand name, so now all you need is to integrate with their procurement platform.
Your first move is to raise demand with the retailers, they’re now the distribution part of your business plan. To build your brand profile, you’re attending trade shows and starting to network with their procurement teams. They’re interested, but they won’t hold inventory until consumers are flooding through their doors.
Now you need to market to the end consumer too. In order to raise demand with them, you’ve identified that home lifestyle magazines are a great fit for your market segment and it’s within your limited budget. You also choose to push organic social so that you’re hitting a younger audience of future homeowners that will like your product.
Your company website now needs to serve two functions:
- Consumers want to see your product and find their local retailer
- Procurement teams need to log in and find your product catalogue
In order to convert both of these users, you’ve decided search engine optimisation will ensure they can find your website when they search your brand name. But you want to convert those consumers even after they’ve left your website – organic search can’t do that. To complement your organic search efforts, you add a pixel and run a paid social campaign to re-target them on social media.
And just like that, you’re now an expert in multichannel marketing.
What are the Benefits of Multichannel Marketing?
The layering of these different marketing channels leads to compounding benefits. Customers who become aware of your business through one channel learn that there’s a solution to a problem they have experienced.
They search online for more information about your brand, your product, any associated risks, and their alternative solutions. Now they’re interested, they’re considering options.
After all this effort to raise demand in your industry, you don’t want them to settle for a competitor, so you personalise your message and promotion to convince them of your unique way to help them.
The idea of meeting customers at different levels of their journey is referred to as the conversion funnel, or, marketing funnel. The biggest mistake you can make is to try and achieve all this through a single marketing channel. Realistically, different channels and specialisms are stronger at different stages in that journey.
How Does SEO Fit in Multichannel Marketing?
Earlier I mentioned that search engine optimisation is a form of demand conversion. While the industry often differentiates between the top, middle, and bottom-of-funnel content, the reality is that organic search is a potent demand converter; it works best in the middle and bottom of the funnel.
Businesses that focus solely on marketing through organic search often lack the capability to increase demand or brand awareness. They rely on creating content further and further away from their business plan to raise brand awareness at the top-of-the-funnel.
There are strong arguments that some informational queries reach the top-of-the-funnel, but users quickly forget, or simply don’t care, which articles served them information. Most of the value to solve their problem is attributed to the search engine. Furthermore, exacerbating this tendency to forget, is the user habit of cross-referencing multiple sources.
Therefore, organic search shines the most when targeting users at high levels of buyer intent and product awareness. Organic search specialists leverage quantitative data and qualitative research to create landing pages that exceed user expectations, but package them in a way that search engines are happy to promote.
After users land on the page, organic search relies on a strong user experience and split testing to improve efficiency. However, once they leave the site, there’s very little organic search can do to retarget consumers.
The Role of Organic Search
Sandwiched between awareness and conversion, organic search has a lot of utility to offer beyond the traditional view that organic search is only content, technical, and backlinks.
Let’s look at a few ways search optimisation can benefit all four P’s of marketing.
Each day there are 3.5 billion searches entered into Google, for an annual total of 1.2 trillion searches. That’s an unfathomable amount of searches. But more mind-blowing is that this data is free through Google Trends, with more exact data behind the Google Ads pay wall.
Search specialists are trained to effortlessly sift through search data and identify new or existing trends, determine the maturity of the product life cycle, and creatively solve problems to reach gaps in the market.
Adding experienced specialists to your team can feed these valuable insights into the product design or development stages, even into procurement decisions.
Organic search is consistently one of the most cost-effective marketing channels in the digital landscape. Ineffective search strategies can leave a business pumping thousands or millions of dollars into paid search and paid social.
By more effectively meeting customer needs, and delivering information in a search-friendly manner, businesses can significantly reduce their performance marketing spend and invest in much-needed product development.
Search engines are the highways of the internet. They connect billions of users from around the world to an unquantifiable mass of information on the internet.
It follows then, that search engine optimisation is one of the most important considerations for product placement. If you want your product to be visible on the web, then you need to show up in search results.
Many businesses have woken up to the fact that paid and organic search are inseparable; they fit together as two halves to the same audience. It goes by many different names; one search, total search, holistic search – but they all communicate the same unified concept.
If you’re a company that specialises in paid search and want to expand into organic, then why not consider whitelabeling?
As mentioned already, search engine optimisation is best suited between the middle and bottom layers of the marketing funnel. It is primarily demand conversion, not demand generation.
However, for some businesses a programmatic solution to SEO can make sense. If you own proprietary information and can package that in an online service – there’s the potential to target tens or hundreds of thousands of keywords.
The scale of a programmatic solution can give you comparable advertising reach to television, radio, or other forms of traditional marketing.
Once on the website, users can then be reached through other marketing tools to further promote your offering – it’s a win-win.
Integrating With Other Channels
We champion integration at SUSO. Over the years we have worked with hundreds of businesses to integrate search into their strategy. Our expertise in creating partnerships also taught us valuable lessons on integration.
Here’s what we think you should know:
- Cross-channel communication – people, marketing channels, and businesses that fail to communicate also fail to adapt. Integrating organic search into your business requires good communication with lots of teams.
- A single source of truth – when working between different departments, it’s vital to establish a single source of truth. Whether that’s aligning departments on different attribution models or agreeing to use data from a specific tool, it’s extremely important to speak a common tongue.
- Stick to the strengths – the best approach for each marketing channel is the one that works to its strength. If you’re looking for demand generation, then consider product research and development, or demand generation channels. But if you’re looking for demand conversion – organic search is indispensable.
The Bottom Line
Businesses that rely on multichannel marketing have a competitive advantage. They’re able to reach users in multiple ways and deliver the right message at the right time.
Specialist agencies strengthen their offering by partnering with white-label services, building expertise in other specialisms and integrating multiple channels into their brand.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how to build your search engine offering, get in touch with us.
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