The Distant Friendship Between SEO & Email Marketing

6th August 1991, saw the birth of the website by Tim Berners-Lee. Two decades earlier the first email was sent. Today, four and a half decades on from the first email, SEO and email remain just as distant from each other as when they were first created as separate channels. You would think a company delivering a full marketing strategy would encourage their marketeers to work together seamlessly from each department. The reality however is the opposite. A single customer can have a relationship with a company through using both SEO and email, yet the professionals behind the marketing have never even discussed their activity on the customer with each other.

I’ve worked with all digital marketing channels for over 10 years. For the last 2 and half years I’ve focused on email marketing. Often not seen as the sexy channel, it is the channel that will keep driving an incredible ROI of £30.01 for every £1 spent (DMA, 2017). Yet I’ve often thought there is a lot SEO as a channel could learn from email marketing.

With 7 interactions before a purchase, there’s no doubt that a customer’s journey is multi-channel. Yet how many marketing teams work together? We’re still very much working in silos, focused on our own channel and its results, almost treating our colleagues as competitors.

Here are just 3 ways you could use email to inform your SEO activity:

 

Engaging search queries

There’s no doubt that Google’s search engine is a busy place, with over 40,000 searches being entered every second. The inbox is no different. More than 125 emails are sent every single day and our attention spans are decreasing to that of less than a goldfish, to a mere 8 seconds. One thing is for certain it’s getting increasingly harder to not only attract, but maintain engagement with your audience.

But how many times have you bounced ideas to attract the clicks on your search page results with your email marketing colleague? I’m going to take a rough guess…never!

Yet with an increasingly busy and crowded inbox, your email marketing colleague has to work just as hard to earn an email open. The engagement analytics for the top performing email subject line and super subject line can provide you with the insight on adjusting your search content. The beauty also is that email can be A/B tested, so can instantly get a result to inform your own thinking.

 

Engaging audiences

Engagement metrics are key for the content on your website, not only for your Google rankings but also to ensure you keep visitors coming back to your website. Email marketers generally focus on opens, clicks and conversions which will provide you with the knowledge of the content that is driving the most engagement from that channel, the wording used to drive the click and then the behaviour on the website. This should all be used to inform your SEO strategy to ensure the content you’re creating is matching expectations from not only search, but also from other channels such as email.

Your email subscribers are a captive audience. Ensuring they are engaged to keep coming back to your website will help you retain a more engaged overall audience.  This is good for email and for search performance.

 

Understanding your customers

An email address holds the key to unlocking a single customer view. It is the one common dominator throughout all of the digital channels. If a customer can continually see value in providing their email address then they have no reason to unsubscribe.   

As consumer’s journeys become more fragmented, it becomes increasingly more difficult to track. This is where a single customer view comes into play.

‘As single customer view provides the ability to track a customer’s entire journey across all channels in one single view.’

This enables you, as a marketer, to understand the full attribution of channels to awareness and conversion and learn from the channels that are working well at particular stages in those journeys. So, if you don’t already regularly chat to your email marketing colleague, start building relationships now as they hold the key to a single customer and are likely to be involved in its implementation. Don’t let search get left behind.

To end with some final advice, the customer doesn’t care which channel they use to engage with your brand, they care more about the experience they have. Collaborating with your colleagues, sharing knowledge and swapping ideas makes this a reality.

Author: Jenna Tiffany

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