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Endorsements for products and services have been a part of our daily lives for decades. Starting off as billboards and radio ads, they eventually graduated to television commercials and the slew of marketing emails that show up in your inbox every week (at least if yours is anything like mine).
We’ve been bombarded by so many advertisements for so long that they have basically become background noise. With that being the case, you might wonder why people take the time to craft mass emails destined for your spam folder or buy expensive spots on TV that are shown as little as one time.
Surely nobody pays attention to these campaigns and they’re just a big waste of money, right?
Ad campaigns are written, filmed, and broadcast with the primary intention of engaging an audience. As counterintuitive as this sounds when your response is to tune marketing out, you can’t help but be reached sometimes.
The obvious example of this idea can be seen during the Super Bowl each year. Many of us care about the game, sure, but a surprising percentage of those watching are there just for the exotic commercials. Companies pay millions of dollars for the privilege of engaging a much more attentive audience, using over the top messages designed to go viral, stick with viewers, and encourage people to purchase their products/services.
Creative attempts to stand out can be found during the rest of the year as well:
- Geico’s amusing skits
- Movie trailers
- The Aflac duck
- The M&Ms meeting Santa
These are but a few examples of marketing campaigns that many simply can’t ignore. They stand out by using humor, loud personalities, fond memories, and pulling your heartstrings, ultimately leaving hooks that keep you wanting to learn more. Those hooks might not manifest right away either. You probably aren’t in the market for car insurance right now, but when that conversation comes around, you’ll almost certainly remember that smarmy gecko promising to save you 15% or more on car insurance.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend millions marketing like big companies.
Customer engagement is a lot like gardening – the more time, care, and attention you devote to your plants, the more bountiful your garden will be when it comes time to harvest.
We’re going to focus on one key method of cultivation today – email marketing. While your email messages themselves aren’t going to contribute to your SEO, they are well positioned in many cases to engage current and prospective customers on a few different levels. These opportunities are what translate to your SEO, helping you build trust and authority online:
- Increasing direct website traffic
- Improving social media discussion
- Additional submission of online reviews
You’ll find there are many other benefits email marketing can deliver to your business over time as well, but helping your SEO is our focus today. Before we start talking about these topics in more detail, you might be wondering how you should start developing an email list. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- If you directly interact with customers, ask them to sign up for updates/promotions
- If your website has a commerce platform, offer this signup as an option at checkout
- If you have a following on social media, supply a subscription link in a prominent place
- If you have a blog, make subscription an easy option to find off to the side of each post
Don’t worry if you begin with just a small batch of email addresses. Many local campaigns get their start with a handful of loyal customers. and in many places that is more than enough to be effective and facilitate natural growth. Also important: take care not to buy email lists. This shortcut is an easy way to get your address blacklisted and damage your trust online.
This is the most measurable (and arguably best) benefit of a strong email marketing campaign. While often used by commerce platforms to showcase products or advertise sales, there is absolutely no reason you cannot reap these rewards from other types of content.
One of the most effective examples of this can be found on business websites that feature a blog. Blogs are a great way to showcase your knowledge or educated opinion on a specific subject, but if you aren’t reaching the audience you’re targeting, you might as well be standing in an empty auditorium.
Email marketing campaigns solve this issue by highlighting important changes on your website that they should pay attention to. You’ll find this especially helpful if your publishing dates or inventory updates are erratic, as very few people will take time to check up on you without reminders.
Another great marketing opportunity comes from showcasing finished projects. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and a few properly placed teasers can pique nearly anyone’s interest. This last nudge may even be the deciding factor for someone who is considering a service your business offers, leading to conversion you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Finally, the greatest part of marketing your website through email is that your audience will be able to engage anywhere, anytime because of the popularity of smartphones. Most people actively want to stay connected to those reaching out to them, and they will immediately reach for their phone when notified of new email. Take advantage of that instinct!
All of this increased attention and traffic your website receives, even if it comes from a small percentage of your readers, shows Google that people are coming directly to you for specific needs. Website authority is a pretty big deal when it comes to SEO, so this typically translates well to your search engine rankings – especially if you’re a local business.
Almost everybody in the U.S. is plugged into social media to some extent. Whether they’re catching up with friends on Facebook, following trending issues on Twitter, or showcasing their skills on LinkedIn, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t signed up with at least one service.
Naturally, this means that while business social media accounts and their relevant backlinks to your website are beneficial, the real prize they offer your business is the ability to reach a much, much wider audience. But why is that exactly?
We tend to trust the opinions of our friends more than those of strangers, often starting with a reference given to us when researching companies who can help us with a project or need. Social media provides the perfect platform for people to ask all their friends for that reference at once, opening a gateway your business can use to interact with customers well beyond a single purchase.
This level of engagement is an indirect, reactive way to increase website traffic, but you can still be proactive about promoting it. Marketing emails should always be inviting discussion of your latest news on your company’s social media pages because it provides your customers a way to directly interact with you and your company. Some are even more comfortable with contacting you on social media than by phone or email!
Friends of people who are engaging with you will often see how you interact with those they know. Your presentation is the key to prompting further exploration of your social media page(s) and then ideally progression to your website to learn more about you. As before, this shows Google your relevance, which in turn can boost your rankings.
Local reviews are a great way to build trust
Local reviews featured on your Google business listing carry significant weight when it comes to your online trust. They are also one of the first things people see when searching for you, often playing a key role in helping them decide whether your company is the right fit for their job.
Some business owners have trouble asking for these because they don’t want to seem pushy, desperate, or rude. If you aren’t good at talking yourself up, we hate to break it to you, but this hesitation is doing pretty serious harm to your SEO. Fortunately, email marketing provides an avenue to help you start overcoming this mental hurdle.
That said, using any marketing campaign to get more reviews is a delicate process. Overuse can easily come off as being too assertive or arrogant, but underuse means that your message might as well not be present. Your caution can actually be an asset here, helping you to be direct while exercising a touch of restraint & finesse.
If you aren’t sure of where to start, showcasing your strongest, recent recommendations is a great way to bring up the subject. Limit yourself to the best one or two, then provide a link that invites your other customers to leave feedback and share their experiences as well.
Not only will this increase the number of positive reviews from those you’ve wowed, these good experiences will also encourage new clients to give your company a chance. You can then use the best reviews from your new crop to do it all over again in your next email!
To get the most bang for your buck using this method, you should refrain from using your favorite recommendation from 5 years ago. You aren’t the same person or company today that you were then, and the result you are trying to achieve will be diminished by looking like your business is simply coasting on the glory of past accomplishments.
You should also abstain from scanning handwritten notes. Your message should be clear and easy to read, and the handwriting of most people is fairly atrocious from either underuse or untidy scrawling (or if you’re like me – both). Save them for social media if you feel they add something to your marketing strategy.
Start building your email marketing campaign today!
We offer email marketing options for any client base in our store. If you’re looking for other SEO services to boost your online presence, we can help with that too! Just call 319-229-5225 today and we’ll schedule a time to review your business goals and develop a strategy to help you succeed.
Braden is one of the founders of Midwest Websites, and has been professionally writing and developing websites for over 7 years. His blog posts often take an experience from his life and showcase lessons from it to help you maximize online presence for your business.