PPC, search engine optimization and SMO do not exist in a vacuum. In fact for countless small business SEMs, the delineation between working amongst these classic disciplines is simply a matter of how the marketer’s day is spent.
Larger in-house and agency settings often present internal walls built between each department, along with classic pros and cons of specialization vs. becoming fragmented.
We’re big advocates of “flat projects,” which means marshaling whatever channels are necessary to accomplish a client’s goal, with as few preconceptions regarding tactics as possible. Yes, many of our jobs are either/or and usually multiple agencies are involved. Still we appreciate the small business SEM thinking of flat projects, especially when applied to big business.
As a starting off place for your creative process, here’s 5 terrific ways to meld PPC, social media and SEO for greater impact:
- Preview organic conversion with PPC testing. Typically SEO conversion testing is not a real time process and takes days or weeks to figure out. Using PPC techniques, it’s easy to quickly build A/B landing page variations, rotate duplicate text ads aimed at landing page variants, test conversion (traffic to sales), and nothing is left for chance.
This practice is exponentially more useful when a grid of ad-message testing is included into the rotation. Then deploy the proven pages organically.
- Socialize post-PPC converts. OK so the user just hit the thank you page as a lead or sale. What next? Try socializing them, which means to incent or incite their engagement by mechanisms likely to bring them back to your site. Parade your customers past a video, highly relevant to the product they just bit on.
Offer a loyalty membership (with a one-time free upgrade) or the ability to personally connect to other customers or customer support avatars. Present a game, feed subscription, chance to comment or even send an (actually) valuable gift to a friend.Give users who just became your customers, a social reason to engage and come back. Don’t forget that the post-sale auto response email can reinforce post conversion socialization tactics.
- Use social PPC to ignite small viral flares. Let’s face it: Being overtly provocative or even shocking can pay big dividends in social media. Target your audience using Facebook Ads–laser focused on demographics most susceptible to provocation.
Geotarget the ads to keep the budget down. It really only takes lighting up a few users, in a single social channel, to start a forest fire. Monitor the Twittersphere and set up Google alerts to identify when your topical-sparks jump the garden wall to the publicly indexed blogosphere. Then turn the PPC off and watch the trouble you caused.
- Advise social media profiles and press releases with keyword research. Back in the day, SEO was a tactic not a strategy. Simply by understanding and applying basic principles, it was really easy to get ahead in the SERPs. Now things are much tougher algorithmically and SEO has become an ethic to be practiced diligently in every channel.
Do keyword research and buzz pocket mining when setting up your Linked In profile. Optimize Press releases using Google AdWords Tool or Keyword Discovery. Make sure that YouTube and Flickr tags are well advised by research.
- Use PPC to counter reputation management problems while waiting for defensive organic results to come on line. Point the ads at your forum or blog, where a straight forward discussion of the matters at hand is going on. There is an obvious intersection of PPC and reputation management when it comes to crises management, a fundamental tenant of PR.
PPC, search engine optimization and SMO are not mutually exclusive endeavors and can work really well together. Try building each project from the ground up, without preconception of which discipline is the way to go. Be creative and think about ways to work channels together, from the earliest planning stages, getting back to our small business SEM roots.