Content is used to create trails by which prospects and customers discover our products and brands, and of course, become happy to buy.Search and email share some of the same goals when it comes to discovery and building trial. Email can be a secret weapon of search marketers who focus on the ultimate conversion – which is a purchase or business building investment.
Email has been taking some hits in the past few years. Let’s pause for a moment and make a list of all the things that were supposed to kill email marketing. Spam, RSS, blogs, social media, youth.But when it comes to driving revenue, email is still the cutest and most productive kid in the family.
In a way, search and email are related because they have similar attributes…. TargetingTimingClutterKeyword = Subject LineBut they are fundamentally different. Push vs. PullPlus, a central tenant of email is Permission.Content creator (email) vs. content optimizer (search)
Push Offers Complement Pull OffersSearch works well at certain points in the purchasing decision cycle. Email works to create a need or want – and is often used as a broadcast channel as well as a dialog channelAcquire Customers OnceCapture your prospect’s email address for remarketing rather than pay search costs againData!Email provides customer level data, so that we can match search behavior back to buying behavior. Email marketing provides marketers with a lot of data! One idea is to profile newsletter and email acquisition segments to optimize SEO and Keywords Optimize Offer StrategySearch keyword success build great subject lines (and visa versa)Email newsletters include images, text, video and other content that can be posted to the website and optimized. Often, these are on timely topics and can be used to promote search results on current events or topical conversations, which may or may not be found in Twitter or Facebook conversations.
The key connection point for email and search is around research and recommendation.We are all operating in the noisy,mosh pit of the Internet. Customers and prospects are using search engines as well as Internet services (including email) as resources for learning, researching purchases and finding new friends.(and this is the last chimp image of this presentation)
Marketer View of this customer lifecycle. Pretty familiar. (Boring graphic, no chimps.)However it’s not about us.
Customer View looks a little different. What are they after?They want us to HELP them. This is evident by their behavior…. They search not only for brands, but for recommendations. They test out those rec’d with others and with trials of our website experience or product.
Search and social play big roles in these phases, ANIMATIONBut email can play a role across all phases.That is why it’s so critical to obtain a permission grant/opt inOn the first visit, and every visit to the website or social community.
The consumer’s relationship to the brand is what drives their channel choice.They use search when they don’t know us, or barely know us. Or when they just want an entry point to a path they’ve followed before.They use email when they want regular communications and reminders. Typically, they are either already a customer or are consuming our content.They use social media when they have a stronger loyalty to the brand.There is clearly some overlap in those relationship measures, but in general, you see that there is a continuum. One channel depends on the others.
If consumers connect with us via multiple channels, we benefit from multiple touch points, plus we can connect with them throughout that buyers cycle, rather than starting over every time.So the way we use these channels must reflect that relationship. Search brings them in the door. Email can keep the conversation going. Let’s look at three ways these channels connect.
The first way that email can extend your search relationships is via data.Email is very data rich.
Now, search is pretty data rich. It’s about knowing the path that prospects are following online.Search marketers are so much more informed about user intent (the meaning behind an end user query) and being able to deliver up exactly the right content in real time.
Email data is different – it’s richer at the individual level. Plus, email data is structured, it can be connected to eCRM and CMS systems.So that data can then be tracked. If search landing pages are optimized to collect email addresses, a report can be run to determine if the keywords are attracting prospects of a profile with a high propensity to buy.
A great way to connect data between search and email to use one to inform the other.
Experian’s “2010 Digital Marketer” report said this reflected the growing savvy of marketing e-mail recipients. Consumers now expect free shipping offers, which makes them less of a selling point in e-mail subject lines. Offers of savings in general, however, remained important, and with good reason. More than one-half of adults said they were likely to open an e-mail containing promotions or coupons, and 30% said they would forward such an e-mail to others, up from 28% in 2008
Another great way to use search data is to figure out the short term research needs of your prospects (and customers). Use both your SEO data, as well as on-site search.An email conversation is….
Use email to capture some of the search leads, so that you don’t have to pay for the same researcher or an existing buyer.Not a perfect science, to be sure. But capturing search prospects onto an email file can save you money, and also let you reach out to build the relationship rather than waiting for them to come back again.
At the point of sign up for a membership. This is okay, as long as it’s clear what the opt in will do. If it includes email – say that.Same page referenced from the email footer.
Netflix does a really cool thing with their landing pages.Regardless of how someone is sourced… including search ….
The free trial is front and center, and really easy.
If you drill in to see more details, where does the sign up form go? Nowhere! It stays front and center.
Preferences are important to the relationship.If you don’t ask up front, ask early in the relationship, or on a regular basis.From: Old NavySubject Line: Time to Play FavoritesDate: July 31, 2008
If you are using social networks as your search landing page, Youcan also use your FB page to sign up for the newsletter – this is an example from the sidebar.
Interesting way to add info to the FB page. A separate tab up top
Of course, you will want to flip this as well and make use of email to grow your list, as well as create new social content that then can be optimized via search.Thereare two types of social media links. Find Us and Share Us.Good example of having both Find us and Share Us links – the share us link is at the arrow, and is offered at the end of each article. Not just once, but at every logical step of the way.Sharing. Make it easy. Social networks and other integration technologies make that a lot easier.
Just a point of interest, SWYN has opened up a whole new oppty for sharing of email content. Which is great for search results.People seem to share with more people than traditional. FTAFSilverpop Study 2009Subscribers share email news with an average of 30 friends through social networks.This compares to the 1-2 on Forward to a Friend.As a result, SWYN (Share with your Network) is increasingly popular.There are legitimate reasons to think that SWYN might overshadow the older, graying FTAF. Not only are our social networks larger, but social presence can increase the chances of multi-channel, ongoing engagement. SWYN is also more viral and avoids entanglements with CAN-SPAM rules.For now, thought, it's clear that FTAF still has some fighting life in it, still showing a four-to-one adoption rate over SWYN among the top online retailers. While only 12% of retailers use SWYN, 48% use FTAF--and FTAF adoption is up from 44% in 2006. (Source: Retail Email Blog/Smith Harmon study, 2009)Study: http://www.smith-harmon.com/resources/2009/08/ftaf_vs_swyn.php
Now, why would you want to capture email? Because you want to start a relationship.ANIMATIONRemember this fabulous lifecycle we want to be rocking and rolling?
Email marketing is based on a very simple concept. If you give your subscribers what they want….. ….they will give you what you want.What do subscribers want from us? They want us to help them. They want to be more productive, more beautiful, get a raise, be a better dad. They want information that is timely, actionable. They want to be treated like people. With a name, a history with your company, a unique set of interests.
There is a covenant in email marketing. Our customers and prospects sign up to receive email from us, and we promise to be interesting. Relevant. Fun. Helpful.
Amid scores of emails across various companies, all the offers are frighteningly similar - - free shipping, $ off, sweepstakes prizes. The “special” effect was quickly diluted.
What happened to that covenant? No wonder our subscribers get fatigued. Sometimes, they even get angry.We didn’t do all this work as search marketers to get the prospect to the website to have them be angry that we are sending boring, irrelevant stuff!
Why do we care?But there is a penalty in email marketing that does not exist in those other channels. It’s called…. Complaints.
Because there is a penalty in email marketing that doesn’t exist in other channels.It’s called “Complaints.” Which are registered every time someone clicks on the This is Spam button.Every click on that button means another subscriber was exhausted, fatigued, just plan fed up with the volume of messages that are irrelevant and poorly timed.A complaint is generated every time someone clicks the Report Spam button. These are monitored by all the major North American ISPs like Hotmail, Y!, Gmail, AOL, Cox, Roadrunner, etc. Also by some major European ISPs like Orange and T-Online. This seemingly innocent little button has a lot to say in email marketing. In fact, it can destroy your response rates and put your revenue in peril.It is the single biggest factor why commercial messages get blocked. And when your messages are blocked at a major domain, they stay blocked until the ISP sees that you’ve corrected whatever the problem was.Think about that for a second! Imagine what would happen if all your messages to Hotmail or Yahoo! or Gmail were blocked for 30 days.
You might be surprised by exactly how big the problem really is.Non-delivery (messages not put into inbox – not delivered at all or put into junk/bulk folder) – has started to level off around 20%. This is a problem for both B2B and B2C marketers.What’s important to understand about this metric is that it is an average. That means that some marketers do far worse than this – seeing 30, 40, even 50% or more of their email diverted out of the inbox. However the good news is that many marketers also do far better than this, enjoying inbox delivery rates of 90% or better. We certainly have many clients that enjoy near-perfect delivery on nearly all the email they send.
Why should that worry you? Simply: Email that doesn’t get to the inbox doesn’t get a response.Deliverability and inbox placement are all tied to relevancy.It matters what you send, how often and how you target messages (or not.)The good news is that you can do something about it, workingwell with WhatCounts.
You have a Sender Reputation, even if you don’t know what it is or manage it. It’s like a credit score on your personal wealth. The ISPs and Blacklists are aware of your Sender Reputation and they use it to block you. It’s made up of things like the number of complaints, the quality of your list, your volume and cadence, if you are authenticated and if you are processing bounces properly. Whitepaper on Sender Reputation: http://www.returnpath.net/downloads/resources/deliverability_081508.pdfYou can look up your Sender Score – a measure of your sender reputation that correlates to inbox deliverability – at www.senderscore.org (free). The higher the score, the more likely your messages are to reach the inbox. Scores are out of 100. Anything below a 95 score could be a cause for concern.Key Factors in your Sender Reputation:ComplaintsUnknown UsersBlacklistsSpam TrapsInfrastructure & Message StructureAuthenticationHTML configuration/renderingContent (a much smaller factor)
The third way you can use email to enrich the value of the leads generated through search is by welcoming new subscribers.No matter how you build you list, welcome better than a boring text or transactional message. Jump starts the relationshipSellsOffers the basics of good welcome – personal, whitelisting, frequency, branding
Unfortunately, too few marketers take advantage.
Three email welcome series from Bass Pro Shops. This tells a story about the new email relationship first….
And then about the features of the website second.
And lastly about their content destination site.
Relevancy is in the eye of the beholder.
Best Buy stands out from the pack with their first promotional email to the buyer, based on their recent purchase. After buying a Nintendo DS game, the purchaser received an email that featured a selection of other Nintendo DS games. The email’s subject line was: “More for your Nintendo DS.” This is very targeted and very relevant!Other types of behavioral triggers can be very powerful, as well. Cart reminders can also give you a competitive edge, because seven in 10 marketers never follow up with lost shoppers, according to a 2009 survey by Web analytics provider SeeWhy.
So with all this synergy, have we created a monster in terms of tracking?Attribution can be tricky. But if you calendar your email marketing, you can track spikes in website, search and social activity – calculate that lift. - Note too, when your inbox deliverability is high, your site traffic is optimized. Show the correlation between these, and the impact of frequency on site traffic in a given week. Look at the spikes in traffic to search, website and even call centers on the days that email goes out. Calculate the effect of 20% of your email going missing on all your other metrics. Now, you’ve got the attention of your team!
Typically, this is how we do attribution. Just count everything on the “last click” and be done with it.But that missed a bunch of opportunities – like the clicks that don’t convert in that session, or the conversions that happen post purchase or on referral.
Very simple math to illustrate the attribution back to email, which because it’s the PUSH channel, has a strong influence.
What you will find, of course, is that email marketing ….
THE ENDHow did we do? Are you more confident now about the synergies between search and email?
Ses Nyc Email And Search S Miller March 2010
Email and Search: The Long Tail Meets The Content Trail<br />Stephanie Miller<br />VP, Return Path, Inc.<br />@StephanieSAM<br />
Once Obtained, Don’t Assume!<br />Most email files are 25%-65% “non-responders”<br />Welcome messages are often the highest complaint-driving emails<br />Industry groups, the FTC and receivers all watch permission grant status and age<br />Solution: Manage your content & contact strategies to provide 3-4 touches for every response you earn<br />
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