Let’s face it, we’re in a recession. And while there may not be any such thing as a “recession-proof” marketing plan, there are proven methods that will help you capture online shoppers year round. It starts with integrating search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search marketing. And by incorporating these proven methods into a fully integrated marketing strategy, online retailers can be successful.
Paid and Natural Search: A Quick Refresher
First, let’s take a quick refresher and quickly define what we mean by paid and natural search. The term paid search refers to advertisements placed on search engine results pages (SERPs)–typically text links that appear atop and/or listed on the right side of the SERPs. These ads usually consist of a text link to a website or landing page and are often referred to as sponsored or pay per click (PPC) listings.
Natural search engine optimization refers to the process of choosing targeted and relevant keywords and keyword phrases related to a site, and using those to help achieve optimum visibility in natural search engine results. In other words, driving traffic to a site based upon those keywords.
Although they are two completely different methods, paid and natural search campaigns perform better together than they do separately. Think of it this way: Greater awareness of a website created by a paid ad can lead to more natural traffic. In similar fashion, people are more likely to click on a paid ad of marketers they recognize, such as those they’ve encountered during a natural search.
Start Integrating Search Methods
Integrating paid and natural searches into your overall marketing plan will increase brand awareness and generate greater interest and confidence in your products and services, leading to an increased return on investment and more sales. With all of that in mind, the time to begin is now. Here are a few quick tips:
Be consistent with your messages, themes and graphics. Your campaigns should work together, sharing common messages and graphical elements. And remember, not only should all of your campaigns work together, but when necessary, they should be able to effectively stand on their own.
Choose your keywords carefully. Shoppers buy from names they recognize. Purchasing branded keywords in a targeted PPC campaign while also optimizing web pages effectively increases name recognition with your target market. A mixture of unbranded, focused keywords with branded terms decreases spend and generates conversions from customers that are most likely to buy.
Plan ahead for Easter and other holidays with relevant website content that improves search engine rankings while also catching last-minute buyers with a specific keyword campaign. For instance, a fine chocolatier that does its best business on Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day should have relevant web page content that attracts customers a few months prior to those holidays. A paid search campaign should be integrated into the mix right around those holidays using focused keywords, such as “chocolate Easter bunny”.