Endorsements for products and services have been a part of our daily lives for decades, starting off as billboards and radio ads, then graduating to television commercials and the slew of 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 almost become background noise in our daily lives. With that being the case, you might be wondering why people take the time to craft these email campaigns that get filtered into your spam folder, or buy expensive spots on TV that are shown as little as one single time.
Surely nobody pays attention to these campaigns and they’re just a big waste of money, right?
These campaigns are written, filmed, and broadcast with the primary intention of engaging an audience. The obvious big-time example of this can be seen during the Super Bowl each year, where companies pay millions of dollars for the privilege of engaging their audience with a message that is designed to stick with them and encourage willing purchase of their products/services as a result.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend millions of dollars like the big companies. Customer engagement is a lot like gardening – the more time, care, and attention you devote to your plants, the more bountiful your plants will be when it comes time to harvest.
We’re going to focus on one such 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. This engagement is what will translate to your SEO, as you build trust and authority on your website.
There are a few areas of opportunity an email campaign can capitalize on to strengthen your online presence through engagement. They are:
• Direct website traffic
• Social media discussion
• Online reviews
There are many other benefits email marketing can deliver to your business as well, but we’re maintaining our focus on the methods that can help your SEO today. Before we start talking about these in more detail, you might be wondering how you should start developing an email list. Here are a few tips that can 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 start out with a small group of email addresses to send to – that’s how many local campaigns get started and in many places that is more than enough to be effective right off the bat. Also important: take care not to buy email lists – this is an easy way to get your address blacklisted and damage your trust online.
This is the most direct method of consumer engagement a strong email marketing campaign can attain. While often used by commerce platforms, especially those that are looking to advertise a current or upcoming sale, there is absolutely no reason this method cannot be applied to other types of content.
One such area is for 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 let interested parties know when there is something important on your website that they should pay attention to. These two elements of your marketing will work together to bring you results that exceed what either would bring you on its own.
Another great opportunity can come 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 can also be the last deciding factor for someone who is considering a service your business offers, leading to conversion you might not have gotten otherwise.
Finally, the best part of direct website marketing 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 will instinctively reach for their phone when they are notified that they have new email. Take advantage of that!
This increased traffic to your website shows Google that people are coming directly to you for specific needs, and this in turn translates well to your rankings for the areas that you are focused upon. Authority is not a small thing when it comes to SEO, especially when it comes to local business.
Almost everybody 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.
While establishing professional social media accounts and setting up relevant backlinks is important, this only represents one facet of why this step can be so critical to the success of many businesses. The second benefit social media platforms bring to the table is reach.
We tend to trust the opinions of our friends more than those of strangers, often starting with a reference given to us when doing research on something we need to accomplish. Social media provides the perfect platform for people to do exactly that – which can definitely be used for the benefit of your business.
This is an indirect way to increase website traffic, and it is accomplished by inviting discussion of your latest news on your company’s pages. Friends of people who are engaging with you will often see how you interact with those they know, and will sometimes check out your social media page or even your website to find out more about you.
While email marketing is hardly the only way to get people to notice what you are doing on social media, it presents another direct way for them to engage with you, perhaps even in a way that they are more comfortable with. Once comfortable, they’ll often check your website if they want to learn more, which in turn creates more authority for you.
Local reviews are a great way to build trust
Local reviews, particularly those placed directly on your Google business listing, carry significant weight when it comes to trust. Not only is it one of the first areas people will see when searching for you, it is also run by the same company that determines your ranking.
This area of email marketing is a little more delicate. Overuse can seem pushy or arrogant, while underuse means that this area of your message might as well not be present. The key here is to be direct, while exercising a touch of restraint & finesse.
Exercising your strongest, recent recommendations in your email marketing campaign is a great way to ask for more people to leave their feedback. Limit yourself to the best one or two, then provide a link for people to share their experiences as well. Not only will this help increase your positive reviews for the people you’ve wowed, it also encourages new clients to give your company a chance.
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.
Also abstain from scanning handwritten notes – you want your message to 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).
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 6 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.