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Enhance In-House Search Thru Offline Media
Thegood news: eMarketer projects 17.4 percent growth
in US internet ad spending this year compared to last year. The bad news:
the amount estimated to be spent this year was downgraded by a billion
dollars ($24.9B vs. $25.9B). Should we be worried? Not really, because
internet ad spending will likely continue to grow at the expense of
traditional media. Still, it’s always wise for
in-house SEO/SEM teams to strengthen their marketing efforts.
Previously, I wrote about the importance of in-house teams utilizing all relevant
search marketing tactics for maximum ROI (see "Total Search Marketing,"
Part 1 and
Part 2). This
month, I’ll cover the importance of using offline media to enhance the
effectiveness of your in-house search efforts.
I’m sure everyone is aware of the ubiquity of URLs on TV, billboards,
print, radio, direct mail, etc. But did you ever stop to think how these
offline ads influence online search behavior?
The Influence Of Offline Marketing On Search Behavior
A 2007 iProspect survey revealed 67 percent of search engine users were
influenced to conduct a query on a search engine in the previous six months
as a direct result of exposure to offline marketing. Of that 67 percent, 39
up buying a product or service from the company that brought about the
original search with its offline ad.
Increased conversions are a pretty powerful statistic. But it’s not the
only reason to use offline media to enhance your online search campaigns. It
costs less to process a transaction online than to process it in-store or by
phone or mail. The more your offline efforts drive consumers to search and
convert online, the better your company’s bottomline.
Are marketers getting this? Not really. A new iProspect report conducted
by JupiterResearch (now owned by Forrester) shows that only 55 percent of search
engine marketers are integrating their search marketing efforts with offline
channels. Maybe the other 45 percent just don’t realize the power of offline ads to
drive consumers online and sometimes convert.
There can be a number of reasons for failing to integrate online and
offline marketing, such as not enough budget and not enough human resources.
A lack of senior management buy-in is also a factor, as well as the fact
that separate groups manage search marketing and offline marketing efforts.
Integrating Offline With Online Marketing
Most companies that have in-house SEO/SEM teams will also conduct
traditional marketing campaigns. But how often are the online and offline
campaigns integrated? This requires close coordination. For instance, you
need to coordinate the keywords, messaging and calls-to-action within your
offline campaigns to match the keywords, messaging, and calls-to-action that
you find most profitable within your SEO/SEM campaigns. This kind of
integration technique can produce more conversions and better marketing ROI
for all campaigns.
Many companies find this a difficult endeavor, especially the
way online and offline marketing teams are siloed and each team has its own
specialized marketing tactics. The one advantage the online team has is the
availability of data that can be used to show the offline team how they’ve
optimized their messaging to maximize ROI. That’s a task your in-house SEO/SEM
teams can undertake to gain buy-in for the marketing integration process.
It’s important to plan ahead with any kind of marketing, and more so when
you’re coordinating your offline and online marketing efforts. Usually, the
URL is what counts in offline marketing, because the consumer has to remember
this to use it online. Get creative, help trigger memories that relate to your
brand and non-brand terms. If consumers hear your ad on the radio, they can’t just reach over and
type it on their mobile right away. They’ll do it later when convenient and
input what they remember. This is how branded terms can help.
By working basic keywords related to your campaign into your offline ad
URL, you could help strengthen your marketing campaigns in other channels.
For instance, a hypothetical radio campaign for American Express with a URL
like "myamericanexpressrewards.com" is too long to remember. However,
"American Express" and "rewards" are two fairly memorable terms. You can
optimize and buy these keywords and link them to your offline campaign
landing page. This should improve the results of your radio ad and likely
drive conversions on your site.
That’s just one example with a radio ad, but the same principle applies
to TV, billboards and many other offline channels. Use the ubiquity of URLs
in the environment to enhance both your online digital and offline
Paul J. Bruemmer has
provided search engine marketing expertise and in-house consulting services
to prominent American businesses since 1995. As Director of Search Marketing
at Red Door Interactive, he is
responsible for the strategic implementation of search engine marketing
activities within Red Door’s Internet Presence Management (IPM) services.
John Faris, who co-authored this article, is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Analyst at Red Door Interactive. Faris’ primary role is to create initial
SEO recommendations and execute strategic recurring SEO for Red Door’s
Internet Presence Management clients. The
In House column
appears on Wednesdays at Search Engine
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.