This New Year brought with it a greater amount of reflection than in years past. I would largely attribute it to the fact that I’m entering the second year of ownership of a new company. The first year was one of the most exciting times of my life, starting Reunion Marketing from the ground up with a solid business model, 165 pages of planning and forecasting, and a team who shared my appetite for digital marketing greatness.
Within just eight months, we parlayed our data-driven approach from previous experience and created digital marketing successes that outpaced even my high expectations for our performance. We quickly grew to twelve employees, and our team now boasts a track record that includes approximately 56% of our clients achieving their all-time organic traffic highs—as well as 90% of our partners having seen increases in traffic, leads, or both since working with us.
These successes with our partners, as well as our internal growth, made me think about what caused it. What was the primary catalyst?
The answer: Our strategy focuses entirely around using data to achieve and surpass clearly outlined marketing objectives.
As I write that down it does sound cliché—and perhaps a bit contrived—as data has become the most overused buzzword in digital marketing. But never before have we had so much information readily available to increase our influence across the Internet, where everyone goes when they’re ready to shop, buy, or learn.
We can measure search traffic for thousands of search queries that apply to our customers’ businesses, how they trend over time, how seasonality affects traffic, what product and service related questions are trending, and, quite simply, what people expect they’ll know and learn when shopping online.
We build landing pages and content around these things, and we track how successful we are in creating shopping behavior on the site once we have earned the visit through these content marketing efforts coupled with an all-encompassing SEO strategy. Just like we set goals for our company and its growth, we use Google Analytics and set marketing goals and objectives to measure our site traffic that comes in from these organic channels and make changes and optimize the website to better create a channel that delivers customers what they want.
Marketing has always been about creating channels and opportunities for those who are selling products or services to those who are looking for them. When you know what people are searching for and how they behave on your primary marketing channel (your website), you have the ability to create greater success. When you constantly measure and optimize your website, search engine optimization and content marketing strategies around your customers you win. Every time. What confuses me as I look across the digital marketing landscape is how those same strategies are not used by the majority of paid search and SEM companies in our space. There are a number of things that I think you should be asking yourselves when considering whether your paid search company can or is taking you to the highest level in digital marketing.
- Are you measuring your visibility for highly ranked search terms organically and are the results something you or your SEM provider are taking into consideration when creating campaigns, ad groups, and keyword sets?
- Is your paid search provider managing your website or have the ability to create custom landing pages that are based around the highest volume searches? Quality score suffers when you are not deep-linking to a page that revolves around the search. Do you have unique pages that are building historical relevance for all of the products and services you offer and are your paid ads driving traffic to these pages?
- If there are landing pages involved in this strategy, are they templated out or unique to you? Unique content benefits both SEO and SEM, so you shouldn’t settle for the same content and material that your competitors might have.
- Is your AdWords account linked to your Analytics, and as you manage your website, are you afforded the ability to hold your provider accountable for the traffic they are providing? If your provider will not grant this access, then dump them. It is 2016. This level of transparency is not just available, but it should be expected.
- AdWords data is extremely valuable for SEO as well. Search behavior and keyword planning are the types of activities that any good SEO and content marketer should be using when planning out how to drive more organic growth and online visibility. If your SEO provider or strategy does not include this, it’s time to look for help elsewhere in this area.
SEO and SEM Are No Longer Opposite Sides of the Digital Marketing Universe
They work hand-in-hand. It’s important to remember the goals for both too.
Marketing 101. Someone is searching for a product or service that you offer with the intent to purchase. When you are visible organically or with paid ads, your likelihood of creating that sale goes up tremendously. I was about to use the term immeasurably there, but that’s the most exciting part about the world today—everything can be measured.
What are people searching for? How are they interacting with you? How does your online visibility compare with your competition? What are they doing once they are on your website?
These are the questions that your SEO and SEM partner should be regularly answering for you.
If you have questions about any of these strategies or would simply like to have some outside perspective on how your digital footprint fits in the marketplace, please reach out to us! Remember, data beats intuition. Make sure you are employing or partnered with a team using this mindset.