According to a report published at eConsultancy, a third of senior ecommerce and marketing directors struggle to align SEO processes with their business goals. Perhaps even more alarming, while more than 80% believed that search marketing was integral to their business model, less than 20% of SEO requirements were met in the past year.
The key understanding the role of search in the marketing mix requires a greater understanding of your marketing funnel as a whole. Along the way you might achieve a greater understanding of how digital marketing as a whole can help all aspects of the ecommerce process. Because SEO and PPC are just a couple of the targeted, trackable areas of digital marketing which should be part of your strategy.
Could you be doing more, over all?
Let’s take a look at a simple conversion funnel:
While SEO and PPC are considered fundamental to an ecommerce campaign, they realistically only influence the “purchase” phase of this process. Until a customer knows what they are looking for, or hoping to purchase, they’re not going to punch in that keyword search and browse for a provider.
In terms of general brand “awareness”, TV, radio and billboards continue to be the biggest players and they’re considered the most influential. But of course, since the dawn of time, their influence has not been measured very accurately. It’s impossible to track the influence of a TV ad on a sale, unless a customer tells us directly that the ad is why they made the purchase.
It’s a similar story with “familiarity”: it’s largely ruled by the traditional press, like the national and regional papers. There isn’t much hope of attributing specific sales figures from a print ad but we can track these stats from digital platforms like mobile advertising and banner ad campaigns. Better yet, you’ll only have to pay to get these ads in front of a much more targeted audience.
When it comes to brand awareness and advertising, we cannot get more targeted than mobile ads because in order to get a mobile phone contract we have to give over our name and our vital stats. That means we can select an audience for our ads which directly fits our target demographic.
Now compare that to a half page spread of a newspaper. Many copies will never find their way into the hands of the right audience and those that do might be discarded on a train or bus, only to be picked up a kid on their way to school who isn’t a part of your target audience. This kind of visibility has always been useful but on a cost per conversion basis the price is astronomical. Solutions like programmatic display planning and buying have a more affordable cost per conversion, in comparison, and they only get more targeted the longer you use them.
With programmatic display, we select the target audience or target persona for your ecommerce site and our software selects other websites on which to display your ad creative. These sites are chosen on the basis of their popularity with web users who fit your profile. But if display ads on a certain site don’t convert as well as other, that sites is automatically taken out of rotation and another takes its place. Over time the campaign performs better and better; perhaps more importantly the cost per conversion continues to come down.
Once a web user knows what they’re looking for, SEO and PPC come into their own. But the groundwork you lay with a mobile advertising or display campaign will encourage more users to click through your links, thanks to their familiarity with your brand.
The 80% of senior ecommerce and marketing directors are right that search marketing is integral. It is often the biggest factor in the conversion phase of any online sale. But the influence of digital goes beyond this process. The key to a successful online marketing campaign is to cover as many bases as possible, while maintaining a focus on your core audience.