With another holiday season behind us, retailers are busy crunching sales data to measure success and year over year revenue. However, this is also a good time to assess your company’s brand experience. And if yours needs improvement, integrating offline and online marketing can help.
How integration strengthens your brand
Integrating your offline and online marketing efforts can strengthen your brand experience by enabling you to be there when your customers are looking for you. In short, it helps your customers find what they need when they need it. This is key because when customers search online for the products you are promoting in your weekly circulars, TV ads and radio commercials, they expect to find you.
Yet integrating online and offline marketing is still a bridge too far for many brands today. This is surprising considering that research shows that two-thirds of online search queries are driven by offline advertising. Clearly, without strong integration, you risk not meeting and fulfilling your customers’ needs, which can negatively affect their experience with your brand, or worse, drive them to a competitor.
That’s exactly what happened to me. In the market for a new TV, I compared the offerings of different retailers promoted in the fliers in my Sunday paper. I was intrigued by one offer for a name brand TV at a competitive price, so I turned to the search engines to conduct some research about it. To make a long story short, not only was the retailer who promoted the product in the flier missing from the search results, I couldn’t even find the product when I went to the retailer’s website. Frustrated, I ended up returning to the search results and conducting my research on a competing retailer’s website.
Making integration happen
Here are 5 ways to integrate your online and offline marketing efforts to ensure a strong brand experience for your customers.
Use paid search to advertise products you promote off-line. Be sure to include all promoted products in your paid search campaigns so your customers can easily find them when they are using search engines. For your top promoted products, increase budget to ensure top placement in the paid search results. Also look for opportunities to expand your keyword lists for your top promoted products to include descriptive broad terms, branded terms and detailed product terms such as model numbers, colors and sizes. Remember, your customers are less likely to go to your competitor when they can easily find your products when they are looking for them.
Prominently feature your off-line promoted products on your website. Ensure that the top promoted products in your fliers, print, TV and radio efforts are also found above the fold on the home page or category landing pages of your site so your customers can easily find them. To the extent possible, ensure that the prices promoted in your advertising match the prices on your website.
For extraordinary or annual promotions, build out search optimized content for the product related targeted keyword phrases to build search engine visibility (this should be done months in advance). By helping your customer easily find the products they are looking for on your website, you are creating a better experience for their interaction with your site and brand. Doing so also eliminates roadblocks to their ease of purchasing the product on your site.
Tap into social marketing to create a buzz for your off-line promoted products. To start, incorporate the language you use in your off-line and paid search efforts into your social marketing initiatives. Seek out bloggers and tweets about the same or similar products to join in the social conversations about the products you’re promoting. Use targeted keywords in your social marketing postings to increase the potential of the social content appearing in the organic search results.
Also, don’t forget to include links to the promoted product landing pages to drive traffic to your site as well. By promoting your products in social marketing websites, you are increasing the frequency at which your potential customers associate your brand with the products they are looking for.
Leverage insights from your paid search efforts to learn how to speak to your customers. First, use keyword search demographic data to determine which keywords are used by your target audiences the most. Then develop paid search ad creative that is specific to your target audience demographics and the keywords they are using. Incorporate demographic based ad creative into ad copy tests that also include ad creative targeting price, promotion, choice, and other differentiators to determine what resonates the best with your target audiences.
Once you have identified the combination of keyword and ad creative that drives the most qualified traffic to your website, you should incorporate that language into your offline marketing. By speaking to your customers with the language that resonates with them the best, you are fostering a connection between the customer and your brand, reinforcing that you are the best provider of the products they are looking for.
Use real time search data to promote the products your customers are looking for the most. Identify which products are in highest demand based on search query volume available from the search engines. Then use search engine keyword trend data to identify keywords that are increasing in popularity. You can also use search engine geo-specific search volume data to identify regional search trends.
Next, leverage those insights to drive your offline marketing efforts so that you are promoting the products your customers are looking for when and where they are searching. If you promote the top queried products in your offline marketing, you are reinforcing to your customers that you have what they need and want. They are more likely to pick up your weekly flier and say, “Yes, that is just what I am looking for!”
Overall, integrating your offline and online marketing efforts enables you to strengthen your brand by ensuring that you are there when your customers are looking for you. Doing so will allow you to fulfill their needs and increase the likelihood that they will come back again.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.