Paid search? Check. SEO? Check. Social media? Check. Email marketing? Check.
Now, you're ready to launch your awesome digital marketing campaign, right? Not so fast. In today's data-driven online world, it's tempting for entrepreneurs to check these boxes and think that the marketing is done. But having so much data at your fingertips can actually lull you into complacency, causing you to take results at face value and believe the data when it tells you that you're running optimized campaigns.
Because of this, many entrepreneurs are leaving out one fundamental component of digital marketing: human intelligence.
To succeed in competitive online marketplace, brands need constant communication and optimization between channels with human expertise serving as the link between technology platforms. This approach--which I call "intuitive search intelligence"--means managing digital marketing campaigns holistically, with insights and strategy being shared across channels by real people.
Combining data and human marketing expertise is critical, especially when setting up paid and organic search campaigns. Most marketers treat pay-per-click and SEO separately, but it's time to tear down that wall and start using the wealth of information to improve all of your digital marketing channels.
Here are four steps to implementing a strategy that reintroduces the human element into your digital marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Cast a wide net in paid search. Using a tool like the Google Keyword Planner, the first step is launching a large-scale AdWords campaign to identify a set of keywords relevant to your business. As the data comes in, prune and optimize the bids and ads to come up with keyword groups with high and low search volume, click-through rates, and conversions.
For instance, let's say you have an online flower shop. Though the search query "flowers" might be a long shot, the term "los angeles flower shop" may be promising based on the initial data. Additionally, it may turn out that a paid search campaign with the phrase "buy flowers" performs better than "purchase flowers online."
Step 2: Apply paid search lessons to SEO. Once you have identified a wide array of keywords with above-average conversion rates in paid search campaigns, it's time to apply those lessons to SEO. You can use these keywords on your website--in title tags and meta descriptions, but they provide the greatest competitive advantage when it comes to content development.
By creating content on your site based on these keywords, you'll start to see a boost in your organic search rankings for those terms. For example, the online florist now knows to build content around the exact phrases consumers are using in searches and can tailor website copy, blog posts, and landing pages accordingly. Armed with the knowledge of how these keywords are performing on the paid search side, you can confidently produce highly searchable content that you know customers are already seeking.
Step 3: Use those SEO lessons in your paid search. As your chosen keywords begin to climb the ranks in organic search results, you can tailor your paid search efforts accordingly. This constant communication back and forth between channels is at the heart of intuitive search intelligence.
For example, you can tailor your pay-per-click landing pages to your strongest keywords to enhance relevance, change ad text to complement text in organic search listings, and make budget decisions based on the performance of SEO terms. If the online florist's customers are gravitating toward a page about "free shipping," perhaps that term should be incorporated back into paid search ads. On the flip side, if discount offers in paid search ads lead to more clicks, that language should be written into a landing page for SEO purposes. The constant feedback loop between the two channels leads to drastically better results.
Step 4: Expand into additional channels. It doesn't stop with paid search and SEO. Every element of your online marketing strategy should take the lessons learned in your previous efforts into account.
So when you're ready to expand into social media ads, email campaigns, or new display channels, the results of your paid and organic search campaigns can be used to shape copy, tone, aesthetics, and budget. And when something works particularly well in one of these new channels, the insights can be incorporated back into your search strategy.
This kind of cross-channel optimization doesn't happen by relying on data alone. It takes smart people asking the right questions. With man and machine working together, you can take your digital marketing campaigns to a whole new level.